June 20, 2013
City Council Chamber
City Council June 20, 2013 Regular Meeting Summary
Thursday, June 20, 2013 - New Orleans, LA - At today's regular City Council Meeting, the Council passed Ordinances to establish and clarify the City's disadvantaged business policy and to authorize the Mayor to enter into Cooperative Endeavor Agreements related to development of the New Orleans East Hospital Campus and construction of new facilities in City Park. The Council also approved a Conditional Use to allow Hubig's Pies to construct and operate a bakery on a site in District "C" and passed Resolutions designating June 2013 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month and supporting the continuation of LA Swift Bus Service. By Motion, the Council approved a new policy requiring that all budget presentations follow a uniform and comprehensive template to increase efficiency in the budget hearing process.
In other business, the Council introduced an Ordinance updating laws governing mobile food vendors, received presentations on Court Watch NOLA and the New Orleans Pelicans' plans to focus philanthropic efforts on coastal restoration and celebrated the United States Army's 238th birthday.
Supported Continued LA Swift Bus Service
The Council passed Resolution R-13-204, co-authored by Councilmembers Gisleson Palmer and Hedge-Morrell, supporting continued LA Swift inter-city bus service and calling on the LA Department of Transportation and Development to identify the necessary funds to ensure the continuance of the service between the New Orleans and Baton Rouge metropolitan areas.
Started in October 2005 by the Louisiana Recovery Authority, LA Department of Transportation and Development and the Department of Labor, the LA Swift utilized FEMA resources and passenger fares to transport displaced citizens to jobs in the Greater New Orleans Area. When FEMA terminated financial support of the service in November 2006, the LA Department of Transportation and Development partnered with the Federal Transit Administration and the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority to continue the LA Swift service and later secured State matching funds to continue service between June 2007 and April 2009.
Beginning on July 1, 2013, the Federal Transit Administration will begin requiring the State of Louisiana and/or local partners to provide an approximate $750,000 local match for federal funds. The LA Department of Transportation and Development has indicated that it will end operations of the service, which currently carries more than 12,000 passengers monthly, on June 30, 2013 due to an inability to locate the required match funding.
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "Much of the LA Swift ridership is made up of residents using the service to get to their jobs in critical industries like healthcare and social assistance, construction, hospitality and educational services. We need to ensure the continuation of this service, as it provides our region's citizens with a valuable and convenient method of transportation to work, healthcare services and family and friends."
Established Disadvantaged Business Policy
The Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 29,591 to amend the City Code to establish and create a disadvantaged business policy, definitions, applications, procedures and requirements.
In an effort to ensure that the new disadvantaged business policy outlined in the City Code is clear, the Council also passed Ordinance Calendar Nos. 29,592, 29,593 and 29,594 to repeal specified Articles and Sections of the current City Code referring to previously defined policies, contract set-asides and procurement procedures relative to disadvantaged businesses and woman and minority owned businesses.
Specifically, the new disadvantaged business policy outlines procedures for providing business opportunities to Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs), an overall goal of 35% for the utilization of DBEs for public contracts, requirements relative to contracting, applications, reporting and non-compliance, and creation and maintenance of a DBE registry.
District "D" Councilmember Hedge-Morrell said, "Our local businesses contribute greatly to our City's economy and cultural significance. We want to ensure that we have a policy in place to provide opportunities to disadvantaged businesses to participate meaningfully in City projects utilizing public funding. This is a monumental accomplishment that we have worked very hard on and I am so proud to see it move forward today."
Facilitated Progress on Construction of New Citizen Facilities in City ParkThe Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 29,577, authored by Councilmember Guidry, authorizing the Mayor to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the City of New Orleans and the New Orleans City Park Improvement Association (CPIA) in order to construct a Splash Park and Marconi Bike Path in City Park.
By Ordinance, the Council previously allocated $732,000 for the design and construction of the Splash Park and $60,000 for design and construction of improvements to the Marconi Bike Path. CPIA will work closely with the City to ensure that the project complies with City Park's mission of being developed and used for educational and cultural purposes so that it can be enjoyed as a place of leisure and pleasure for the residents of the City, the region, and the State.
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "The addition of a Splash Park and the improvement of the Marconi Bike Path in City Park will dramatically enhance the recreational and leisure experience of the citizens of New Orleans."
Supported Continued Development of New Orleans East Hospital Campus
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 29,597, authored by Councilmember Gray, authorizing the Mayor to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the City and the Parish Hospital Service District for the Parish of Orleans - District A in order to develop the New Orleans East Hospital Campus.
Since Katrina, the citizens of New Orleans East have had no access to a full-service hospital facility. The projected New Orleans East Hospital Campus will be built on the site of the former Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital Campus, located at 5620 Read Boulevard, which was acquired in August 2010 by the Parish Hospital Service District for the Parish of Orleans - District A. Scheduled to open sometime in late 2013, the campus will be the first 24/7 health care facility in the community since Katrina and will provide a full continuum of service from primary care and prevention to specialty and diagnostic services, as well as acute service such as inpatient hospital care.
"This is an important step in acquiring the medical services that the people of New Orleans East deserve," said Councilmember James A. Gray II, District "E". "We're happy with the progress."
Approved Conditional Use for New Hubig's Bakery
The Council approved Zoning Docket 48/13 requesting a Conditional Use to permit a wholesale bakery in an HMLI Historic Marigny/Treme Light Industrial District, bounded by Burgundy, North Rampart, Saint Ferdinand and Press Streets. The Conditional Use will permit Hubig's Pies to build and operate a bakery on the site, a vacant lot owned by The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts Institute (NOCCA).
Last summer, the Hubig's Pies bakery on Dauphine Street was destroyed by a 5-alarm fire. A representative from the City Planning Commission, which recommended approval of the Conditional Use, presented details about the site, located in District "C" only a few blocks from the bakery's previous location.
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "Hubig's is a beloved New Orleans business and we are so grateful to them for their commitment to stay in New Orleans and, more specifically, to find a new home in their original Marigny neighborhood. I look forward to seeing Hubig's bring New Orleanians' favorite pies back into commerce."
Designated June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month in New Orleans
The Council passed Resolution R-13-203 designating June 2013 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month in the City of New Orleans.
The Resolution recognizes the LGBT communities of the City and their continued efforts to help drive the economic, spiritual and cultural engines of our area through the arts, business development, faith-based initiatives, education, political activism and commercial and private endeavors. District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "New Orleans celebrates uniqueness, creativity and diversity, which makes us a stronger, better City. We are pleased to recognize June as LGBT Pride Month and will continue to remain a welcoming place to LGBT residents and visitors."
Received Presentation on Court Watch NOLA
Representatives of Court Watch NOLA appeared before the Council to introduce the organization and its mission and to present their 2012 report. Established in 2007, Court Watch NOLA is a non-profit organization that promotes efficiency, transparency, and accountability in the New Orleans criminal justice system. As a member of the New Orleans Crime Coalition, Court Watch NOLA is committed to criminal justice reform as a means of reducing violent crime and restoring safety in New Orleans.
Court Watch NOLAutilizes a large, diverse group of volunteers to track hundreds of felony cases in the City every year and identify systematic problems in the court system. The organization's 2012 report summarized observations and year-to-year comparisons of delays in the court process and overall continuance rates, potential causes of delays/continuances, case workloads of judges and public defenders and the overall performance of the local criminal justice system.
Recognized New Orleans Pelicans' Philanthropic Focus on Coastal Restoration
The Council received a presentation from Garrett Graves, Chair of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana, Ron Forman, President and CEO of the Audubon Institute, and Rita Benson LeBlanc, Vice Chairman of the Board of the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans, on the New Orleans Pelicans' plan to focus their philanthropic efforts on coastal restoration.
The team has made a commitment to utilize their national platform and influence to make an impact and draw attention to the importance of coastal restoration. Having recently changed names from the Hornets to the Pelicans, the team is using the image of the pelican, Louisiana's state bird, to raise awareness about Gulf restoration and to promote a healthy habitat for wildlife in the Gulf region. Team officials are working closely with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana and the Audubon Institute to develop plans to collaborate with local and regional organizations focused on coastal restoration efforts.
Council President Clarkson said, "Coastal protection and restoration is a cause near and dear to my heart and we are so grateful that the team has dedicated itself to tackling this critically important issue affecting our coast. Congratulations on the team's new image and we look forward to seeing the many positive impacts we know the Pelicans, in partnership with the Audubon Institute, will have on this critical issue."
Adopted Template Policy for Budget PresentationsThe Council passed Motion M-13-196, co-authored by Councilmembers Gisleson Palmer and Clarkson, adopting the policy that all budget presentations must, in order to be heard and considered, adopt the templates contained in the document "New Orleans City Council: Budget Submission Guidelines and Templates."
The new policy aims to ensure greater efficiency during the Council's annual budget hearing process by requiring organizations to follow templates which will provide a complete picture of the organization's budget in a clear, concise and uniform manner. Specifically, the templates outline information requirements, including Proposed Annual Budget, Year to Year Comparison, In-Kind Budget and Professional Service Contracts, and provide guidelines for formatting and layout. The Council Fiscal Office will work with the Mayor's Administration to present the templates annually to the Council Budget Committee, should any changes need to be made.
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "This new policy will help us to make the most of our budget hearings by ensuring that budget submissions are more uniform and that we as Councilmembers have all of the necessary and pertinent details up front, decreasing delays and requests for additional information. It is our hope that these comprehensive templates will also assist organizations with their budget planning process and the many associated details as well."
Introduced Ordinance to Update Regulations Governing Mobile Food Vendors
The Council introduced an Ordinance, co-authored by Councilmembers Head and Cantrell, providing and clarifying rules and regulations governing mobile food vendors in the City. The laws governing mobile food vendors in New Orleans were originally adopted in 1956 and have remained largely unchanged since that time. The Council recognizes the necessity of updating the laws to keep pace with the rapidly expanding food truck industry and to mitigate against potential traffic and public safety issues. Specifically, the Ordinance provides updates to the laws including changes to the maximum number of permits available and the associated permit application and issuance processes, as well as the definition of areas within which food trucks are permitted and those within which they are prohibited. The Council will take action on the Ordinance at its regular meeting on July 11th.
Council Vice President Stacy Head said, "I am pleased with the ordinance as introduced today, as it accomplishes many of the original goals I set for updating the City's extremely outdated mobile vending laws. For nearly a year, I have worked with the New Orleans Food Truck Coalition, the Louisiana Restaurant Association, restaurateurs, neighborhood groups, my colleagues on the Council and the mayor's administration to improve these laws so that this micro-industry led by culinary entrepreneurs can continue to grow, contribute to our local economy, and most importantly, bring much-needed commerce to some of our underserved communities."
Celebrated United States Army Birthday
The Council received a presentation from Captain Ibrahim O. Tantawi and other Army officers on the history behind the Army Birthday and celebrating the strength and bravery of the all-volunteer forces. On June 14, 2013, the United States Army celebrated its 238th anniversary. The Army Birthday is celebrated each year to recognize the rich heritage of the Army and its continued successful defending of the United States as well as the valiance and professionalism of its steadfast soldiers. The 238th birthday also commemorates the numerous families and civilians who provide tireless support to our forces both at home and abroad.
Council President Clarkson said, "The Council is honored to wish the Army a very happy birthday - the oldest military service in the country! - and to recognize the courage and heroism of our men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line every day to keep this country and her citizens safe."