Regular Meeting

July 21, 2011 

City Council Chamber

City Council July 21, 2011 Regular Meeting Summary

New Orleans, LA - July 21, 2011 - Today, the Council adopted an ordinance authorizing the redistricting of City Council Districts. The ordinance and map will be submitted to the Department of Justice for pre-clearance.


The Council approved an ordinance authorizing a special election be called on November 19th to decide if key governance changes to the Public Belt Railroad Commission will be made. By resolution, the Council called special elections to be held in the fall, in New Orleans East. The ballot measures will impact business, industry and neighborhoods.

Approved Civil Service Commission Appointment

The Council passed Motion M-11-319, authored by Councilmember Guidry that approved the appointment of Father Kevin Wildes, President of Loyola University, to the Civil Service Commission. Father Wildes' appointment was recommended to the Council by Tulane University President Dr. Scott S. Cowen. The Council's Governmental Affairs Committee recommended the appointment to the full council.

The Civil Service Commission has five members and is the policy-making body that exercises oversight of activities of the City Civil Service Department. It decides employee appeals of disciplinary action and adopts rules and establishes polices that regulate the conduct of labor and management in the merit system.

Adopts Council Redistricting Plan

After public comment and discussion, the Council amended and adopted ordinance Calendar Number 28,553, authored by Councilmembers Guidry, Head and Gisleson Palmer, that authorizes the redistricting of City Council Districts pursuant to the Home Rule Charter and in accordance with the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau population figures. To create the new Council District map and satisfy the legal requirements of the United States Department of Justice, a series of public meetings were held from April through June in the Council Chamber and in each Council District. The purpose of the Citywide and District meetings was to present information and engage and receive public input to consider in the analysis, review and drawing of the new Council District map. The public meetings were video taped and posted with background, process and population information on the Council's Website Redistricting Resources Page. 


Prior to today's passage of the redistricting ordinance, a variety of redistricting scenarios were developed, reviewed and posted on the Council's website. The redistricting ordinance will be sent to the Department of Justice for pre-clearance.  The newly adopted redistricting ordinance takes effect in 2014. The redistricting map is posted on the Council's website  click here  for maps and information. 

Council President Clarkson said, "I want to commend the District Councilmembers for their professional, thoughtful and neighborhood inclusive approach to this process. Public engagement and citizen input were integral to the development of the New Orleans City Council District map that will take effect in 2014. We could not have accomplished this without the diligent work and collaboration of Councilmembers and the citizens of New Orleans."   


Approved Funding for Health Care and Urgent Care Facilities Program

The Council adopted Ordinances Number 28,555 and 28,556, authored by Councilmembers Johnson, Fielkow, Head, Hedge-Morrell and Clarkson that amends the City's budget to transfer and appropriate $990,000 in federal grant funds to the City's Department of Health, for Health Care and Urgent Care Facilities. The Council's action continues the progress to re-establish 24-hour health care services to the New Orleans East Community. These funds will support medical care on the site formerly known as Methodist Hospital which is located in Council District "E."

District "E" Councilmember Johnson said, "The key objective is to continue the momentum to restore health care to every neighborhood in the City. As Chair of the Council's Health Care and Social Services Committee and as the citizen representative in Eastern New Orleans, this is my single greatest priority and my greatest concern. Working with the administration, I will do whatever it takes to ensure that every citizen will again have access to premier medical facilities and health care services."

Presentation on Homeowner Rehabilitation Tax Credits

At the request of Councilmember Stacy Head, representatives from the Preservation Resource Center (PRC) addressed the Council on Homeowner Rehabilitation Tax Credits. The Homeowner Rehabilitation Tax Credit (HRTC) brings investment dollars into the state's treasury and returns vacant and blighted buildings to commerce. As greater sales and property taxes are generated neighborhoods become more attractive for additional investment and architectural landscapes, culture and history are preserved. The Preservation Resource Center is the authority on the preservation and restoration of historic homes and neighborhoods in New Orleans. Since August 2005, the PRC has restored over 300 homes with a value of more than $10 million.  


District "B" Councilmember Head said "Homeowner Rehabilitation Tax Credits are a vital component in our effort to reduce blight in neighborhoods. The PRC is a partner and an important resource in helping homeowners and potential homeowners connect to tax credit opportunities. I am particularly pleased that the PRC is leading the endeavor because it is essential that we rebuild and rehabilitate homes in a way that is sensitive to our past and thoroughly prepares us for the future."


Special Elections Called in New Orleans East

The Council passed Resolution R-11-315 and Resolution R-11-322, authored by Councilmember Johnson, that approved special elections to be held this fall. Resolution R-11-315 places on the October 22, 2011 ballot a renewal of the ad valorem tax dedicated to the New Orleans Regional Business Park (NORBP). The millage rate is set at 22.79 mills for a period of twenty years. The estimated annual collection amount is $300,000. NORBP imposes an additional ad valorem tax on real property within the boundaries of NORBP with the exception of residential property occupied by an owner. NORBP is a political subdivision that was created for the purpose of stimulating industrial and economic growth by developing employment opportunities, improving infrastructure and promoting the overall welfare of the citizens.


Resolution R-11-322 places on the ballot November 19, 2011 a referendum to create the Lake Barrington Subdivision Improvement District. The taxing district will collect a special ad valorem tax or a flat fee. The ad valorem tax is not to exceed 5 mills on taxable real property within the District. The flat fee levied on parcels in the District is not to exceed annually $350 per parcel. The estimated annual collection amount is $71,400. Collection is set for eight years beginning in 2012. The annual collection will be used solely for the purposes of encouraging and promoting the beautification, security and overall betterment of the Lake Barrington Subdivision Improvement District.


District "E" Councilmember Johnson said, "The New Orleans East Community has resilient residents who strive for improvement and have overcome major obstacles. The Council's action enables the citizens to decide these two ballot measures that impact business and neighborhood development." 


Authorized Special Election to Decide Public Belt Railroad Commission Governance

The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar Number 28, 554, authored by Councilmembers Guidry, Gisleson Palmer, Fielkow and Clarkson, that calls a citywide election to be held November 19, 2011, during which voters will decide if governance changes to the Public Belt Railroad Commission are made. A majority of New Orleans voters must decide the proposed ballot changes. The proposed governance changes include: reducing the sixteen member board to nine appointed members, including the Mayor; shortening board terms from sixteen to four years; and, removing the Orleans Parish residency requirement for appointed board members. Overlapping state and local laws govern the makeup of the Public Belt Railroad Commission. The governance changes outlined in the City ordinance are reflected in a companion state law passed in the just completed session of the Louisiana Legislature. The companion state law was sponsored by State Representative Jared Brossett of New Orleans and signed by Governor Bobby Jindal.

Addressed District "D" Quality of Life Issues

The Council adopted Ordinance Number 28,534, authored by Councilmember Hedge-Morrell, that establishes a temporary moratorium on the issuance and renewal of alcoholic beverage permits. The measure halts renewal of alcoholic beverage permits to those who do not hold a current valid alcoholic beverage permit and are engaged in the commercial sale of alcoholic beverages in bars, cocktail lounges, package liquor stores, grocery stores or restaurants.


The Council passed Motion M-11-317, also authored by Councilmember Hedge-Morrell that requests that the City Planning Commission hold a pubic hearing to consider an amendment to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO). The CZO amendment to be considered at the public hearing, establishes an Interim Zoning District (IZD) designated as the "District 'D' Inner City Urban Corridor District"; expands the "Inner City Urban Corridor District" to include all District "D" property zoned B-2 Neighborhood Business District; classifies all B-2 Neighborhood Business District retail uses with floor area equal or greater than 7,500 square feet as a conditional use. The square foot provision includes new construction, existing structure renovation and tenant spaces. The amendment also requests that new City permit applications in conflict with the intent of the Interim Zoning District not be accepted. 

District "D" Councilmember Hedge-Morrell said, "This is designed to improve the overall quality of life and ensure smart, ordered growth in neighborhoods and along commercial corridors in District "D".  At the end of the day, we all want the same things, vibrant and growing businesses and safe, blight free neighborhoods."


Performance by Anthony Bean Community Theater – NORD Cast of "Cats"

The Anthony Bean Community Theater and the New Orleans Recreation Department Summer Youth Program's cast of the award winning musical "Cats" appeared before the City Council. Previewing the play for Councilmembers, the group, including the show's headliner Charmaine Neville, performed several numbers from the musical which opens this Friday, July 22nd. Following the performance, Council Vice-President Fielkow presented the cast with a proclamation congratulating the more than 75 New Orleans youth on their performance. 

Council Vice-President Fielkow said, "The partnership of the Anthony Bean Community Theater and the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission has profoundly impacted the quality of arts enrichment resources for the youth of New Orleans. I want to congratulate these hard working and inspiring students as well as commend the leadership of this outstanding Community Theater and NORDC for their contributions to the unique artistic culture of the City."

Recognized Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Career Exploration Program

Councilmember Hedge-Morrell presented a proclamation to Clarence Becknell, supervisor of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Career Exploration Program. The ASVAB is a test administered to 10th, 11th and 12th grade students to determine academic strengths and weaknesses. The ASVAB gives students an opportunity to explore a variety of career options. Councilmember Hedge-Morrell commended Mr. Becknell for his commitment to the mentoring of New Orleans youth.


District "D" Councilmember Hedge-Morrell said, "Being a former educator, I am proud of the notable accomplishments of the ASVAB Career Exploration Program. The program's aptitude test is a powerful tool that helps youth identify their strengths and pursue careers in the field that they are most qualified. I encourage students to take advantage of this opportunity, which gives them an edge in preparing for their future."

The Council heard a presentation from representatives of the Preservation Resource Center on Homeowner Rehabilitation Tax Credits.

The Council adopted ordinances transferring and appropriating federal grant funds to the City's Department of Health, for Health Care and Urgent Care Facilities in Eastern New Orleans.

The Council addressed quality of life issues in District "D." By ordinance, a temporary moratorium on the issuance and renewal alcohol beverage permits was established. The Council passed a motion requesting that the City Planning Commission hold a public hearing to consider establishing an Interim Zoning District designated as the District "D" "Inner City Urban Corridor District."

The Council passed a motion accepting the recommendation of Tulane University President Dr. Scott S. Cowen to appoint Father Kevin Wildes, President of Loyola University, to the Civil Service Commission.

The Council presented proclamations recognizing Clarence Becknell of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Career Exploration Program and the Anthony Bean Community Theater's cast of "Cats".

Created on: 6/21/2018 11:50:23 AM | Last updated: 6/21/2018 11:50:23 AM


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