December 01, 2009
City Council Chamber
City Council December 1, 2009 Regular Meeting SummaryNew Orleans, LA - December 1, 2009 - Today the New Orleans City Council adopted the 2010 Capital and Operating Budgets for the City of New Orleans and passed Resolutions supporting Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and local participation in all State projects in New Orleans, and funding of the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana.
The Council also approved a Zoning Docket in support of a community medical clinic, addressed a report from the Board of Liquidation on the millage increase, and received a report on District "E".
Receive Report on Millage Increase from Board of Liquidation
Board of Liquidation representatives David Gernhauser, Secretary; Meredith Hathorn, Bond Counsel; William Forrester Jr., Legal Counsel; and Tracy David Madison, Assistant Secretary, appeared before the Council, at the request of Councilmember Clarkson, to discuss the Board's recommended millage increase.
Originally the Board recommended a 3 mill increase, to provide for the issuance of two series of bonds, each in the amount of $40 million, for infrastructure and facilities projects. Board representatives informed the Council that the Board decided to move forward with the $40 million bond issue for infrastructure projects and hold back on the $40 million bond issue for facilities projects, consequently reducing the recommended millage increase to 1.7 mills.
These bonds were previously voted on and approved by the electorate. The impact of the 1.7 mill increase on $100,000 of assessed value for residential property is approximately $17.
After the report by the Board of Liquidation, the Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 27,766, reducing the Board's originally proposed 3 mill increase down to 1.7 mills, and increasing the library millage by 1.2 mills to provide for staffing needs of new libraries currently being built around the City.
Council Vice President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, "Keeping the public informed and engaged during the budget process is one of our priorities as a Council. We asked the Board of Liquidation to attend the meeting today to provide additional clarification on the millage increase recommended by the board. This millage increase will directly affect our citizens, and we want to ensure we are providing the citizenry with the most up to date information possible."
Supported DBE and Local Participation in State Projects in New Orleans The Council passed Resolution R-09-663, authored by Councilmember Fielkow, urging the State government to adopt policies and procedures requiring 35% Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and 50% local contractor participation for all State projects in New Orleans.
The Council previously adopted Ordinance 23,587 M.C.S. codifying the provisions and requirements set forth in the Mayor's Executive Order CRN 06-15, establishing 35% DBE and 50% local contractor goals for contracts issued by the City of New Orleans.
Council President Arnie Fielkow said, "We want to encourage our state and regional partners to encourage the growth of the New Orleans economy by including participation goals for DBEs and local businesses in state projects taking place in our City. Every recovery project dollar awarded to local vendors helps to support families, local shops and businesses, and rebuild our economy."
Supported Conversion of Ruth's Chris Steak House Building into Tulane Medical Clinic
The Council approved Zoning Docket 103/09, requesting a Conditional Use to permit a medical clinic at 711 North Broad Street, the former site of Ruth's Chris Steak House, a franchise founded by Ruth Fertel.
Since Hurricane Katrina, the Ruth's Chris building has been vacant. Earlier this year, Ruth's Hospitality Group donated the building and surrounding property to the Tulane University School of Medicine.
Tulane plans to open the facility as the Ruth U. Fertel/Tulane Community Health Center and will relocate its Tulane Community Health Center at Covenant House to the new site.
District "A" Councilmember Shelley Midura said, "We are very grateful for Tulane's dedication to providing accessible quality healthcare to all of our citizens. This new clinic will fulfill that mission, as well as revitalize an area of our City in the process."
Adopted 2010 City BudgetThe Council Budget Committee Chair Councilmember Hedge-Morrell led the Council in addressing Ordinances relative to the 2010 city budget.
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 27,739, providing for a Capital Budget for 2010; Ordinance Calendar No. 27,740, providing an Operating Budget of Revenues for 2010; and Ordinance Calendar No. 27,741, providing an Operating Budget of Expenditures for 2010.
As a result of what the Council considered to be overly optimistic revenue projections made by the Administration, the Council adopted amendments to the Operating Budget of Revenues, reducing the budget by approximately $7 million.
In order to achieve a balanced budget, the Council passed amendments to the Operating Budget of Expenditures, including a reduction of other operating funds in various departments, while avoiding personnel cuts and restoring the furlough days for select city workers proposed by the Administration.
District "D" Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said, "We as a Council have spent many hours thinking long and hard about the proposed budget - we have conducted numerous budget hearings and solicited citizen feedback. Today we have adopted a balanced budget which maintains critical city services without drastically increasing the tax burden on our citizens."
Received District "E" Report
District "E" Councilmember Cynthia Willard-Lewis presented the Council with a district report on news and happenings throughout her District.
The Councilmember offered updates on:
- A Motion to establish an Interim Zoning District that would provide a higher set of
standards for all new multi-family developments in Eastern New Orleans
- The Grand Opening Celebration of the Eastern New Orleans Temporary Library and
Ground Breaking Ceremony for Common Ground
- Unveiling of plans for the Fannie C. Williams School
- One-year anniversary celebration of the Sankofa Market Place
Councilmember Willard-Lewis said, "As District "E" continues its recovery, our community groups and citizens remain dedicated to revitalizing their neighborhoods through meetings and events that engage the entire community."
Supported Boys & Girls Club of Southeast LouisianaThe Council passed Resolution R-09-664, co-authored by Councilmembers Clarkson and Carter, supporting any and all possible alternate funding sources to maintain the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana program's current operation.
D'Juan Hernandez, Vice Chairman of the Board of the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana, appeared before the Council today to thank the Council for their continuous and ongoing support.
The Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana provides positive role-models for the children of the Iberville Housing Complex through the complex's community center. Currently, the club is facing the loss of federal grant funds to continue the program.
Council Vice President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, "This organization is dedicated to enriching and enhancing the lives of youth in our region through activities with adults, peers and family members. We are so thankful for all of the work they do on behalf of our City's children."
District "C" Councilmember James Carter said, "As a city we must invest in our youth. The Boys & Girls Club provides diverse activities that meet the interests of all young people while enhancing self-esteem and encouraging children to fulfill their potential. The children in the Iberville Housing Complex benefit greatly from the work done by this group."