Regular Meeting

November 20, 2014 

City Council Chamber

City Council Regular Meeting News Summary November 20, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014 - New Orleans, LA - At today's regular City Council meeting, the Council passed ordinances providing for the adoption of the City's 2015 Capital and Operating Budgets, and establishing a program to sell certain tax adjudicated properties.

Resolutions were passed calling for the transfer of youth from Orleans Parish Prison to the Youth Study Center, declaring November 11 as "Anderson Family Smoke Detector Day" and approving bond refinancing for the Board of Liquidation. The Council also passed motions announcing the intent to call an election to consider an increase to the library's millage rate and rescheduling the December 1, 2014 Regular Council Meeting.

In other business, the Council supported HIV/AIDS awareness efforts and recognized the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living. 

Supported HIV/AIDS Awareness Efforts

In honor of World AIDS Day on December 1st and New Orleans HIV/AIDS Awareness Week from December 1st - 6th , the Council presented a Proclamation to community-based service organizations for their support of individuals affected by HIV/AIDS and their efforts to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS testing.

Representatives from Community High Impact Program (CHIP), NO/AIDS Task Force and Policy Fellow Change provided statistics on the number of individuals affected by HIV/AIDS locally and statewide, as well as information about their efforts to fight the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS through intelligent, factual and non-judgmental community discourse.

District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "As Community Development Committee Chair, health and wellness have always been top priorities. Our City is rich with resources, but we still have many individuals who are without care due to a lack of information or access. Great strides have been made in HIV/AIDS treatment and care and we are committed to expanding healthcare access for affected individuals locally, regionally, and statewide." 

Rescheduled December 1, 2014 Regular Council Meeting

The Council passed Motion M-14-519, coauthored by Councilmembers Head and Williams, to make a change to the Regular Council Meeting Schedule for the year 2014, which moves the Monday, December 1, 2014 Regular Council Meeting to Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. in the Council Chamber. The Council also passed Motion M-14-522 which ensures items which were scheduled to be heard on December 1st will be heard at the December 4th meeting.

Recognized the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living

The Council received a presentation from members of the Coalition for Tobacco-Free Living recognizing the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (LCTFL). LCTFL is a statewide initiative that "envisions a healthier Louisiana through 100% tobacco-free living." The campaign's initiatives focus on: eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke; tobacco prevention among youth; promoting tobacco cessation among youth and adults; identifying and eliminating tobacco related disparities; and coordinating various tobacco control and prevention initiatives throughout Louisiana. 

The Coalition, in partnership with the Office of District "B" Councilmember Cantrell, worked to highlight the benefits of smoke-free environments during New Orleans' Smoke-Free Week 2.0 from November 12- 20. The initiatives also focused on participation in today's American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout, which is an annual national event that encourages smokers to make a plan to quit smoking on the third Thursday of November. The Coalition's collective initiatives culminated in an Ordinance introduced today by Councilmember Cantrell relative to the prohibition of smoking of tobacco, tobacco products, natural or synthetic marijuana, other plant products, and/or the use of electronic smoking devices in public places such as bars and casinos. The Council's Community Development Committee will consider this item at its next meeting in January of 2015. 

District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "In New Orleans, we have a strong coalition of public health leaders, advocates, and national organizations who are committed to making our city and state tobacco free for all employees, particularly bar employees, gaming facility employees, and entertainers. I will continue to support this initiative as we strive to create healthier living and working environments for all our residents."

Called for Transfer of Youth from Orleans Parish Prison to Youth Study Center

The Council passed Resolution R-14-527, co-authored by Councilmembers Guidry, Williams and Cantrell, calling for the safe and expeditious removal of all youth from Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) to the City of New Orleans' Youth Study Center (YSC). Councilmembers Head, Williams, Guidry and Cantrell voted in support of the Resolution and Councilmembers Ramsey, Brossett and Gray voted against the Resolution.

The Resolution defines "youth" as a person who was 14, 15, or 16 when he or she allegedly committed an offense which resulted in transfer from juvenile court jurisdiction to criminal court jurisdiction, and who has not yet reached the age of 18. The majority of the youth in OPP are housed in protective isolation due to their high risk of becoming victims of physical and sexual abuse. Routine isolation is known to cause paranoia, anxiety and depression, and studies by the Federal Bureau of Justice, National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, and Centers for Disease Control have demonstrated that youth incarcerated with adults are at a higher risk for suicide, sexual assault, and subsequent arrests.

In response to complaints of unconstitutional conditions of confinement filed by youth housed at OPP, the prison is currently under a federal consent decree which requires that youth housed at OPP be kept separately from adults and be given "developmentally appropriate mental health and programming services." OPP has not taken any significant steps to provide these services and the OPP facilities are not equipped to house youth safely, constitutionally, nor cost-effectively. The YSC, which is operated by the City of New Orleans for the housing of pre-trial juveniles and transfer youth, has demonstrated the ability to provide appropriate housing and programming for youth in a secure and constitutional environment.

The Council's resolution requests that Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman and the City of New Orleans take any and all necessary steps to remove all youth from OPP and house these youth at the YSC with the understanding that additional resources may be necessary to facilitate this transfer. The resolution also officially designates the YSC as the appropriate facility in Orleans Parish for the housing of youth who are prosecuted as adults and detained prior to trial.

District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "This resolution will begin a process to correct a currently untenable situation. We look forward to working with Mayor Landrieu and the task force to develop a process for the safe and expeditious removal of these juvenile offenders from Orleans Parish Prison."

Council Vice President Williams said, "Moving the youth out of Orleans Parish Prison is legally, economically and morally imperative. Here in Orleans Parish we have children who are being housed in a prison facility that is purposed for adults. This environment subjects many of them to violence, physical, sexual and mental abuse, and keeping them there is not an acceptable solution. The Youth Study Center provides a commendable alternative that will protect and better serve these youth."

Established "Mow to Own" Program

The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,240, authored by Councilmember Cantrell, establishing a "Mow to Own" program to sell certain tax adjudicated properties deemed eligible by the City to adjoining and eligible property owners who have maintained neighboring properties for at least one year before the sale as permitted by state law, and providing for policies and procedures that will govern the initiative.

In the past, tax delinquent properties which have been adjudicated to the City have previously been sold at auction to the highest bidder; the "Mow to Own" program establishes rules to sell the properties at market value to neighbors who have performed upkeep for one year. The program will honor, reward, and encourage neighbors to invest in their neighborhood and transfer neglected property to those who have made a commitment to maintain it.

District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "This program is a major step forward in reducing blight around New Orleans and rewarding citizens who are dedicated to the upkeep and well-being of their communities."  

Adopted 2015 Capital & Operating Budgets, Ad Valorem Taxes

The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,393 providing a Capital Budget for 2015, Ordinance Calendar No. 30,394 providing an Operating Budget of Revenues for 2015, and Ordinance Calendar No. 30,395 providing an Operating Budget of Expenditures for 2015. The Capital Budget totals $10.25 million and the Operating Budget totals $966 million, of which $536.8 million makes up the General Fund.

The Council received the Mayor's proposed budget on October 15th and conducted a series of budget hearings which included presentations from representatives of City Departments, the Mayor's Office, the Courts, the District Attorney, the Sheriff, outside agencies, boards and commissions.

In other budgetary matters, the Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 30,391 to levy ad valorem taxes on the assessed value of all property subject to taxation in the City of New Orleans and to levy ad valorem taxes on property located in the City's special security districts for the year of 2015. This action by the Council is an annual requirement as a part of the budgeting process. The Council also passed Ordinance Calendar No. 30, 392, relative to the levy of fees on property in special security and improvement tax districts in the City for the year 2015. 

Announced Intent to Call Election for Consideration of Library Millage

The Council passed Motion M-14-525, authored by Councilmember Head, to formally announce the Council's intent to call an election for May 2, 2015 for the consideration of an increase of 2.5 mills in the ad valorem tax for the public library. This would increase the library millage rate from 3.14 mills to 5.64 mills on the dollar of assessed property values and would take effect January 1, 2016. The Council will take further action on this at its January 8, 2015 Regular Meeting.

"For many children, libraries provide a portal to the world, giving them access to books, computers and other resources they do not have at home," said District "E" Councilmember James A. Gray II. "We have a moral and civic obligation to provide all of our children with the tools they need to realize their dreams. We need to provide help on the front end, so they will grow and develop into the adults we want them to be," he said.

Approved Bond Refinancing for Board of Liquidation

The Council passed Resolution R-14-524 approving the issuance of not exceeding $27 million of Limited Tax Revenue and Refunding Bonds, Series 2015 by the City of New Orleans acting through the Board of Liquidation, City Debt. The Bonds are proposed to be issued for the purposes of refinancing all or a portion of the outstanding bonds; paying the costs of capital improvements into the City; and paying the costs of issuance of the Bonds.  

Supported Public Awareness Campaigns Promoting Smoke Detector Installation

The Council passed Resolution R-14-517, authored by Councilmember Cantrell, declaring November 11th henceforth as "Anderson Family Smoke Detector Day," the goal of which is to increase public awareness about the importance of smoke alarm installations and maintenance in all homes in New Orleans.

Following the deaths of 2 adults and 3 children from a fire at the Anderson family home in Broadmoor on November 11, 2014, the Council, in collaboration with the Mayor and New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD), identified the need for a fire prevention public education initiative aimed at providing citizens with information about the importance of installing smoke detectors in homes without them, as well as how to perform regular maintenance and testing of installed smoke detectors.

The Resolution also encourages the Orleans Parish School Board and Recovery School District to collaborate with the NOFD to launch public awareness campaigns through student assemblies and parent-teacher organizations to educate students about fire hazards in homes and the importance of smoke detector installation and testing. District "B" Councilmember Cantrell worked with the NOFD to perform a canvassing of the Broadmoor neighborhood to install smoke detectors in homes. Since that time, the NOFD has been contacted by more than 1,000 residents requesting smoke detector installations and has installed more than 500 thus far. Residents may call (504) 658-4713 to request smoke detector installation.

District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "I want to commend the Broadmoor community for taking a terrible tragedy and using it as an opportunity to help make sure no other family has to experience this kind of horror. Every home should have a smoke detector. This is a call to action for all of our citizens to take the initiative to make sure their homes have a properly installed and fully functioning smoke detector."

Created on: 6/21/2018 11:34:13 AM | Last updated: 6/21/2018 11:34:13 AM


View the live stream
Opens in a popup window

Back to top