November 21, 2013
City Council Chamber
City Council Regular Meeting News Summary November 21, 2013
Thursday, November 21, 2013 - New Orleans, LA - At today's regular City Council Meeting, the Council adopted the City's 2014 Operating and Capital Budgets. The Council also adopted Ordinances facilitating the enforcement of the collection of sanitation service charges, and authorizing an agreement to facilitate the use and expenditure of a sales tax in the Magnolia Economic Development District. The Council also passed Resolutions supporting the expedited establishment of an Environmental Health office, and calling an election to consider a Constitutional amendment benefiting veterans with 100% disability. By Motion, the Council authorized the Parking Administrator to hold a public hearing regarding the withdrawal of the Algiers Point Residential Parking Program.
In other business, the Council received a presentation from State Representative Jared Brossett who presented checks for the New Orleans Police Department and New Orleans Recreation Department. The Council celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Entergy Corporation, and the 40th anniversary of the Bayou Classic. The Council also recognized Resurrection After Exoneration for its services to exonerated prisoners.
Adopted the City's 2014 Operating and Capital Budgets The New Orleans City Council adopted the 2014 Capital and Operating Budgets for the City of New Orleans. The Capital Budget totals $67.4 million, the Operating Budget totals $859.3 million, of which $505 million makes up the General Fund. The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 29,796, providing a Capital Budget for 2014; Ordinance Calendar No. 29,797, providing an Operating Budget of Revenues for 2014; and Ordinance Calendar No. 29,798 providing an Operating Budget of Expenditures for 2014.
The Council received the Mayor's proposed budget October 15th and conducted a series of month-long budget hearings receiving presentations from representatives of City Departments, the Mayor's Office, the Courts, the District Attorney, the Sheriff, outside agencies, boards and commissions.
Called Election for Consideration of Constitutional Amendment Benefiting VeteransThe Council passed Resolution R-13-418, authored by Councilmember Gray, calling a special election in Orleans Parish on March 15, 2014 to determine if the Louisiana Constitution should be amended to grant veterans with a 100% disability rating or total unemployability an exemption from ad valorem taxation for up to $150,000.
During the 2013 Regular Session the Louisiana Legislature adopted Act 433, which proposes an amendment to the Louisiana Constitution to allow veterans with a service-related disability rating of 100% unemployability or totally disabled to be eligible for a homestead exemption on eligible property up to $15,000 of the assessed value of the property. The Act mandates that exemption shall only extend and apply in a parish after the question of its adoption has been approved by a majority of the registered voters of the parish.
Facilitated Enforced Collection of Sanitation Service Charges
The Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 29,818 and Ordinance Calendar No. 29,819, authored by Council President Clarkson.
Ordinance Calendar No. 29,818 amends the City Code to provide that the payment of sanitation service charges is mandatory. Ordinance Calendar No. 29,819 authorizes the Mayor to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the City and the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (S&WB) in order to allow the S&WB to enforce the collection of sanitation service charges by terminating water service to any premises delinquent in the payment of such sanitation charges.
Council President Clarkson said, "We recognize that this is a difficult issue for our community. It is our mission to ensure that our citizens have access to the services they need and that our city agencies are able to operate efficiently. We will make certain that these Ordinances are implemented fairly and effectively."
Supported Expedited Establishment of Environmental Health Office
The Council adopted Resolution R-13-443, authored by Councilmember Gisleson Palmer, supporting the expedited establishment of an Environmental Health office within the New Orleans Health Department to educate the public and enforce the citywide Noise Control Program.
The Noise Control Program, a part of the Municipal Code of Ordinances, was established to preserve public health, safety, and welfare by prohibiting excessive sound levels.
The Environmental Health Office, consisting of no fewer than four enforcement officers, will serve to improve awareness about environmental health issues, such as potential sound violations, enforcing sound and sanitation issues, and other practices that impact the health and cleanliness of the City. The office will also be responsible for making recommendations for live entertainment establishments, so that businesses may operate in compliance with city sound abatement ordinances. Additionally, the office will keep public records in an online system in order to track locations of sound ordinance violations, new applications for live entertainment permits, and renewal requests of existing live entertainment permits.
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "Excessive noise has been a detriment to our neighborhoods and residents due to the lack of enforcement of the Noise Control Program. The creation of the Environmental Health Office will help alleviate the stress of excessive sound and other environmental issues in our communities such as sanitation problems and graffiti. The office will also offer public education and awareness on sound and sanitation issues and serve as a central resource for information on compliance and permits."
Authorized Agreement to Facilitate Economic Development District Sales TaxThe Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 29,814, authored by Councilmember Cantrell, authorizing the execution of a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement by the City of New Orleans, the Magnolia Economic Development District, and Magnolia Market Place, L.L.C., relating to the collection, use and expenditure of a sales tax in the Magnolia Economic Development District (MEDD).
On October 10, 2013, the Council adopted Ordinance 25,511 M.C.S., creating the MEDD, which is located in the Fourth and Sixth Municipal Districts, and is bounded generally by Toledano Street, South Claiborne Avenue, Washington Avenue and Clara Street. The proposed plans for the MEDD includes the creation of the Magnolia Marketplace, a major shopping center on South Claiborne Avenue.
The MEDD is expected to levy a one percent sales tax, the proceeds of which are to be used to fund the Magnolia Economic Development District Trust Fund that will provide funds for economic development projects within the MEDD.
District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "This is a very exciting new development for our City and for the Claiborne commercial corridor. We will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure that this economic development district will thrive, while providing jobs to local residents, opportunities for local businesses and needed services for the surrounding community."
Authorized Public Hearing Regarding Withdrawal of Algiers Point Residential Parking Program
The Council passed Motion M-13-441, authored by Councilmember Gisleson Palmer, authorizing the Parking Administrator to hold a public hearing to consider the withdrawal of the Algiers Point Residential Parking Program.
In accordance with the motion, the Parking Administrator must publish a public notice in the City’s official journal stating the reason for the public forum and specifying the boundaries of the Residential Parking Permit. The Algiers Point Residential Parking Program is currently bounded by Patterson Street, Delaronde Street, Buony Street, Opelousas Street, and Atlantic Street.
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "I recognize that this issue will affect many Algiers Point residents and I encourage their participation in the forthcoming public hearing to be held by the Public Works Department on this item."
Received Presentation of Checks for NOPD and NORDState Representative Jared Brossett 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.
Honored Entergy for 100 Years of Service
President and CEO of Entergy New Orleans, Inc. Charles Rice Jr. appeared before the Council to celebrate Entergy's 100th anniversary. Established on November 13, 1913, Entergy Corporation has grown to become one of the largest utility companies in the country. Primarily engaged in electric power production and retail distribution operations, Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million households in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
Entergy Corporation is the only Fortune 500 Company headquartered in New Orleans. In 2012 alone, Entergy and the Entergy Charitable Foundation gave more than $16.3 million in grants and raised more than $2.5 million in local bill payment assistance funds. Entergy has received multiple awards, including being named one of the top 10 utilities in economic development, named to the 2013 Sustainable Utility Leaders Index, as well as the 2013/2014 Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America Indices.
District "D" Councilmember Hedge-Morrell said, "Entergy's success is due in great part to its commitment to excellent service, innovative initiatives, and community outreach. On behalf of the citizens of New Orleans, we want to say happy birthday to the company and all its employees and express our personal gratitude for Entergy's continued investment in our communities."
Celebrated 40th Anniversary of Bayou Classic
New Orleans Convention Company Inc. (NOCCI) President and CEO Dottie Belletto, Southern University of New Orleans Vice Chancellor for Community Outreach/University Advancement Gloria B. Moultrie, Grambling State University, alumnus Courtney Mackey, and Senior at Grambling State University Justin McCarthy appeared before the Council to give a presentation and receive a Proclamation from the Council celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Bayou Classic.
An annual event, the Bayou Classic features a football game between two of the oldest historically black universities in Louisiana, Southern University of New Orleans and Grambling State University. The event, which takes place over Thanksgiving week each November, also features a Battle of the Bands, a Thanksgiving Day parade, a golf tournament, an economic development summit with local stakeholders, and a career fair for students.
Council Vice President Head said, "We are proud to be the home of the historic Bayou Classic, an event which highlights the great camaraderie and fierce rivalry between two of our state's great universities."
Recognized Organization's Services to Exonerated Prisoners
Founder and Director of Resurrection After Exoneration (RAE) John Thompson appeared before the Council to give a presentation on the organization's mission, vision, programs, and current initiatives.
RAE was founded in 2007 by Thompson, who was exonerated and released in 2003 after spending 18 years in the Louisiana State Penitentiary for a crime for which he was wrongly convicted. RAE is an exoneree-run re-entry program for exonerated and long-term prisoners returning to society. The organization is dedicated to facilitating comprehensive re-entry into society by empowering these individuals to live productive lives. RAE developed the RAE Transitional Housing and Resource Center, which serves as a transitional residence and work environment for exonerees as they acclimate to their new environment. The organization also provides counseling, education and training opportunities to exonerees to ensure a successful transition.
District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "Mr. Thompson's work in the community is truly admirable. An exoneree himself, he knows first-hand the challenges that individuals re-entering society face and he took it upon himself to found an organization that provides the necessary services and support to these individuals. We want to thank him for all that he is done and all that his organization will continue to do in the years to come."