The Mayor and Aldermen petitioned Congress to allow the City Corporation to continue collecting a wharfage tax on vessels that entered the port of New Orleans. During the last session of Congress a bill had been introduced to prohibit the City from imposing such a duty. Passage of the bill into law would deprive the City of revenue essential to maintain and repair the levees that protected the city. In 1770 Governor O'Reilly, taking into account the damage done to the levees by vessels at anchor, granted the city government the power to levy a wharfage tax to pay for repairs. After cession to the United States, the City Council had reiterated its right by imposing and collecting wharfage taxes as before. The city officials asked Congress to confirm this right by laws.