February 06, 2014
City Council Chamber
City Council Regular Meeting News Summary February 6, 2014
Thursday, February 6, 2014 - New Orleans, LA - At today's regular City Council Meeting, the Council reviewed progress relative to legislation to delay federal flood insurance premium increases. The Council also adopted ordinances which appropriate funds to support the New Orleans Police Department community policing and youth programs.
In other business, the Council celebrated the 30th birthday of the Windsor Court Hotel and passed a resolution proclaiming February 12, 2014 "Windsor Court Day." The Council also received a presentation from the New Orleans Health Department on the importance of breast feeding.
Discussed GNO Inc. Progress on Improvements to Flood Insurance Options
Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.), appeared before the Council to give a presentation on the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance's (CSFI) progress relative to legislation to delay dramatic federal flood insurance premium increases.
Specifically, Hecht commended the United States Senate for the bi-partisan supermajority passage of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act last week. This Act would delay premium increases for approximately four years, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), to complete an affordability study.
The premium increases were created under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 in an effort to improve the NFIP's financial solvency. In addition to the Biggert-Waters Act, incomplete FEMA flood maps and inaccurate actuarial calculations have led to the drastic premium increases, according to CSFI.
Formed in May 2013 by GNO, Inc., CSFI is committed to the development of a sustainable, fiscally responsible NFIP that protects businesses and homeowners. CSFI represents 200 business and civic associations and local governments in 27 states across the country. GNO, Inc. is an economic development alliance dedicated to serving the 10-parish region of Southeast Louisiana.District "C" Councilmember Gisleson Palmer said, "It is our responsibility as a city, as a region, and as a state to be a leader on this issue. We need to develop a program that is fiscally responsible, sustainable, and equitable - one that will garner local, regional and national buy-in and support. I have been impressed by the quality of leadership and teamwork thus far and I look forward to Louisiana continuing to be a thought leader on this national issue."
Council President Clarkson said, "We appreciate GNO Inc. and Michael Hecht taking the lead on this. This is very critical to the retention of our citizens who suffered so much after Katrina and is critical to the future of homeownership in New Orleans."
Received Presentation on Improving Breast Feeding Rate in LouisianaCharlotte Parent, Director of the New Orleans Health Department, appeared before the Council to discuss the department's efforts to improve the breast feeding rate in Louisiana.
Parent emphasized the importance of informing new mothers of the many short- and long-term health benefits of breast feeding. Specifically, the New Orleans Health Department is working to socialize breast feeding in its clinics. Approximately 53% of Louisiana infants are ever breastfed, compared with 77% nationally, leading to Louisiana ranking 44th in the nation for the percentage of infants who are ever breastfed.
Council President Clarkson said, "It is phenomenal that our Health Department is not only taking the lead on encouraging mothers to breast feed their babies, but also educating women on the benefits and how-to of breast feeding. Breast feeding is critical for mothers to bond with their infants and medically essential to build immunities. This Council stands prepared to help make this work!"
Appropriated Funds to Support NOPD Community Policing and Youth ProgramsThe Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 29,915, Ordinance Calendar No. 29,916, Ordinance Calendar No. 29,917, and Ordinance Calendar No. 29,918, to amend the City's Operating Budget of Revenues (Ordinance No. 25,580 M.C.S.) and Operating Budget of Expenditures (Ordinance No. 25,581 M.C.S.) to appropriate Federal Grant funds from Intergovernmental Transfers to the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD).
Specifically, Ordinance Calendar No. 29,915 and Ordinance Calendar No. 29,916 appropriate funds for the extension of the "COPS Hiring Program" grant. The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) is an office of the U.S. Department of Justice dedicated to advancing the practice of community policing in America's law enforcement agencies through information sharing and the awarding of grants to police departments across the country. The COPS Hiring Program grant funds will be used to hire new officers, and rehire officers laid off or scheduled to be laid off as a result of budget reductions.
Ordinance Calendar No. 29,917, and Ordinance Calendar No. 29,918
appropriate funds for the NOPD D.A.R.E. Program. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Program focuses on teaching children how to make responsible decisions about drugs, violence, bullying, and peer pressure.
Council President Clarkson said, "We appreciate the help these grants provide so that we may continue to put more police on our streets and provide better education on the dangers of drug abuse."
Celebrated Windsor Court Hotel's 30th BirthdayWindsor Court Hotel General Manager David Teich and Director of Sales and Marketing Megan Uram appeared before the Council to celebrate the 30th birthday of the Windsor Court Hotel. The Council also passed Resolution R-14-29, authored by Councilmember Cantrell, officially proclaiming February 12, 2014 "Windsor Court Day" in New Orleans.
The Windsor Court Hotel was opened by local businessman James J. Coleman, Jr. on February 12, 1984, a date specifically selected to coincide with the upcoming World's Fair. Playing host to Presidents, Dignitaries, and celebrities, the hotel was voted #1 hotel in the world in 1998. The hotel recently underwent a $22 million restoration in 2012.
District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "One of the first hotels to reopen following Hurricane Katrina, the Windsor Court has always represented the epitome of New Orleans hospitality. We look forward to the Windsor Court continuing its historic tradition as a luxury hotel for locals and tourists alike for many years to come."