July 11, 2013
City Council Chamber
City Council July 11, 2013 Regular Meeting Summary
Thursday, July 11, 2013 – New Orleans, La – At today’s regular City Council Meeting, the Council passed ordinances establishing the Midtown Algiers and South Algiers Economic Development Districts and calling an election to consider a proposed amendment to the Home Rule Charter relative to the organization, composition and appointment of the Sewerage and Water Board. The Council also received a presentation of Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission annual funds for New Orleans Police Department and New Orleans Recreation Department.In other business, the Council received presentations on hurricane preparedness, the Evacuteer.org organization, and the Louisiana State University and Southern University AgCenters’ Annual Report on their educational programs. The Council also honored retired New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD) Superintendent Charles G. Parent and recognized the Louisiana Small Business Development Center of Greater New Orleans’ receipt of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s SBDC Excellence and Innovation Award.
Emphasized Importance of Hurricane Preparedness
The Council received a presentation on hurricane preparedness from Kenneth E. Graham, Meteorologist-in-charge for the NOLA/Baton Rouge National Weather Service.
Graham, who participated in the implementation of Louisiana's Emergency Alert System, outlined expected conditions and the outlook for this year's hurricane season; highlighting the importance of risk assessment and the development of evacuation plans. Graham also encouraged citizens to call the National Weather Service's 24/7 hotline (504-522-7330 x4) to remain up to date on weather conditions this hurricane season.
Received Presentation of Checks for NOPD and NORD
State Senator JP Morrell appeared before the Council to present two $25,000 checks - one to the New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) and one to the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) - from the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission.
Each year, the Commission generates a surplus which is divided among all of Louisiana's parishes. Until 1995, New Orleans did not receive any of those funds. In 1995, Act 1227 was passed, which established that a recurring amount of $50,000 of the surplus would be given to the New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) until the year 2017. In 2008, the state legislature passed a bill allowing for half of the surplus funds ($25,000) given to NORD each year to be given to NOPD for equipment, including bulletproof vests.
Called an Election to Consider Charter Amendment Reorganizing Sewerage and Water Board
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 29,623, authored by Councilmember Clarkson, calling an election for Saturday, October 19, 2013 to consider a proposed amendment to the City's Home Rule Charter relative to the organization, composition, and appointment of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans.
Under the current organization, the Board of Directors of the Sewerage and Water Board consists of the Mayor, the two at-large Councilmembers, a district Councilmember, two members of the Board of Liquidation, City Debt, and seven citizens appointed by the Mayor, for overlapping terms of 9 years. The parameters specified in the proposed amendment would rework the organization of the Sewerage and Water Board such that the Board of Directors would consist of the Mayor, two syndicate members of the Board of Liquidation, City Debt, appointed by the Mayor, and eight citizens appointed by the Mayor, with the advice and consent of the City Council. The amendment also specifies that each of the appointed members will serve no more than two consecutive four year terms. If the amendment is approved by referendum, it will become effective January 1, 2014.
Established the Midtown Algiers and South Algiers Economic Development Districts
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 29,621, authored by Councilmember Gisleson Palmer, establishing the Midtown Algiers and South Algiers Economic Development Districts. The establishment of the two Economic Development Districts will also establish property tax abatement programs within the Districts for eligible properties that are redeveloped and brought back into commerce.
The tax abatement programs are intended to incentivize the expansion, restoration, improvement, development, and redevelopment of commercial and residential properties in the specified areas. In accordance with the parameters of the Ordinance, property owners within the District will qualify for limited relief from additional ad valorem taxation on their property, which is intended to encourage the redevelopment of old structures and the creation of new ones so as to provide a boost to economic growth in the District.
The Midtown Algiers Economic Development District is bounded by General Meyer Avenue, General Collins Avenue, General De Gaulle Drive and Shirley Drive. The South Algiers Economic Development District is bounded by Sullen Place, Tullis Drive, Woodland Drive and General Meyer Avenue. The assurance of the establishment of these Districts encouraged Event Rental, LLC, which provides services and supplies for special events and is currently located in Gretna, to purchase the former Schwegmann's site at 4400 Woodland Drive for their future headquarters. The site has been vacant for over 10 years.
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "In keeping with my ongoing blight remediation efforts, much research and consideration went into the creation of the boundaries of these Districts in order to specifically target areas with large parcels of blighted land. It is my hope that the creation of these Districts and the accompanying property tax abatement programs will encourage considerable business growth and property development."
Received Presentation on Evacuteer.org
The Council received a presentation from David Morris, President, Executive Leadership Committee, Evacuteer.org, regarding the organization and its newly installed "evacuspot" statues across the City that mark the rendezvous points for the City Assisted Evacuation Plan (CAEP).
Evacuteer.org is a non-profit organization which, through an agreement with the City of New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, has been authorized to manage and direct all aspects of the CAEP including running the emergency hotline and coordinating volunteers at the 17 neighborhood pick-up points as well as the Union Passenger Terminal. When activated, the CAEP is designed to transport some 25,000-30,000 New Orleanians without transportation out of the City. This hurricane season, Evacuteer.org plans to recruit, train, and manage 500 volunteers (evacuteers).
The new "evacuspot" statues, which were commissioned by the City of New Orleans and the Arts Council of New Orleans, function as both easily visible pick-up point marker and public works of art. Prior to the installation of the new statues, the evacuation points were marked by small bus stop signs that many citizens did not know existed.
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "Evacuteer.org provides the City with an invaluable service by managing the CAEP and making sure that our citizens are safely evacuated out of New Orleans, a service for which the Council and the people of New Orleans are extremely grateful. We are so proud of the work you do and your recent partnership with the Arts Council to make our "evacuspots" a unique reflection of our City's culture."
Honored Retired Fire Department Superintendent Charles G. Parent
The Council presented retired New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD) Superintendent Charles G. Parent with a Proclamation honoring him and his outstanding career on the occasion of his retirement on June 5, 2013.
Parent, who was appointed as the NOFD Superintendent in 2003, joined the NOFD in 1982 and advanced quickly through the ranks, becoming Fire Captain in 1990, District Chief in 1995, and acting Deputy Chief in 2002. Chief Parent served on the Board of Directors for the Fire Fighters Pension and Relief Fund for the City and the Orleans Parish Communication District (911) Board and has been honored with numerous awards, including the 2009 "Louisiana Fire Chief of the Year" from the State of Louisiana and the "Award of Distinction" for 2006 from the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association.
District "D" Councilmember Hedge-Morrell said, "It is with great sadness that we must bid farewell to Chief Parent today, one of the best fire chiefs in the United States and a truly beloved citizen. He has courageously served this City through some of its toughest times and his dedication and outstanding bravery helped save countless lives during and after Hurricane Katrina. We are honored to commemorate his career and we wish him the best of luck with all his future endeavors."
Addressed LSU and Southern University AgCenters' Annual Report
The Council received a presentation from representatives of the Louisiana State University (LSU) and Southern University (SU) AgCenters reviewing their 2013 annual report, which highlighted the impacts and outcomes of their educational programs. The LSU and SU AgCenters, or Agricultural Centers, are research-based educational institutions that work to improve the lives and economic well-being of the people of Louisiana. The AgCenters focus on building sustainable agricultural systems, improving the health of Louisiana citizens through nutrition education, protecting urban forestry and natural resources, and encouraging economic and community development.
Moreover, the AgCenters are committed to youth development and provide numerous educational resources through their 4-H program to teach the importance of leadership, citizenship and healthy living. The LSU AgCenter has partnered with organizations across the state in order to reach diverse groups of youth and more effectively improve youth education. In the state of Louisiana as a whole, participation in the 4-H program has grown to meet the needs of more than 175,000 kids.
Recognized Louisiana Small Business Development Center of Greater New Orleans
At the request of Councilmember Guidry, the Council recognized the Louisiana Small Business Development Center of Greater New Orleans (LSBDC) for their outstanding commitment to local business development and economic recovery in the Greater New Orleans area. The LSBDC, which is a collaborative partnership between Loyola University, Delgado Community College, Southern University at New Orleans, and Xavier University, was recently named the top Small Business Development Center in the country and earned the U.S. Small Business Administration's SBDC Excellence and Innovation award. The award comes as the organization celebrates its 30th anniversary.
As a statewide, nationally accredited program, the LSBDC provides pro bono business consulting to local entrepreneurs, allowing them to grow and prosper in today's tough economy. Since 2003, the LSBDC, run by Director Carmen Sunda, has served 9,501 clients, 18,527 individuals, and helped create 2,113 jobs. Furthermore, their team has secured $123 million in capital, started 340 new businesses and increased sales by $477 million.
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "I am proud to honor such an outstanding organization as the LSBDC Greater New Orleans Region. The work Ms. Sunda and her team have done to aid local businesses in the wake of disaster has been tremendous. They have set such high standards that other national groups are seeking their leadership and expertise. Their work continues to contribute to the City's phenomenal recovery."