February 26, 2015
City Council Chamber
City Council February 26, 2015 Regular Meeting News Summary
Thursday, February 26, 2015 - New Orleans, LA - At today's regular City
Council meeting, the Council passed a resolution to establish a
time-period and method to consider Entergy New Orleans Storm Relief
Securitization application. The Council also passed resolutions to
expand the Old Algiers Cultural District, allow for signage in public
areas to promote GiveNOLA Day, and to recognize the Asian Pacific
American Society's (APAS) cultural contributions to the City.
Council also adopted a motion requesting that the City Planning
Commission (CPC) conduct a public hearing to receive input regarding the
definition of a Cigar Bar and to amend the VCC-2 zoning district, which would potentially allow a tobacco business as a conditional use in the new
Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO). In related Council business, an
ordinance was introduced on first reading that would amend the Smoke
Free Air Act to more clearly define Cigar Bar businesses. The Council
also adopted an ordinance to establish the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety
other business, the Council recognized young women from McDonogh #35
High School for their participation in the Pontchartrain Chapter of
Links, Inc's Rising Stars Program.
Requested a City Planning Commission Public Hearing
The Council passed Motion M-15-85 authored
by Councilmember Ramsey, requesting that the City Planning Commission
(CPC) conduct a public hearing to receive input regarding the creation
of a new definition for a Cigar Bar and to amend the VCC-2 zoning
district, which would potentially allow a tobacco business as a conditional use in the new
Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO). Receiving input at a public
hearing will allow the CPC to evaluate potential changes to the proposed
regulations based on recommendations from the public-at-large. The
public input provides the CPC the information necessary to have both
flexibility and to establish consistency and continuity in developing
and implementing the CZO.
In related Council business, Councilmember Ramsey introduced on first reading Ordinance No. 30,611
that would amend the Smoke Free Air Act to more clearly define Cigar
Bar businesses and allow them to continue operations through the
existing grandfather clause.
"C" Councilmember Ramsey said, "This in no way undermines the newly
adopted Smoke Free Air Act. This legislation is submitted in the
interest of fairness. I would like to thank my fellow Councilmembers for
their support on this motion."
Established a Time-Period and Method to Consider Entergy New Orleans Storm Relief Securitization Application
The Council passed Resolution R-15-80,
authored by Councilmember Williams, establishing a time period and
method to consider Entergy New Orleans (ENO) Storm Relief Securitization
Application in regards to damages incurred during Hurricane Isaac and
for ENO's Storm Reserve Fund.
In January of 2015, ENO filed an
application requesting approval to utilize storm recovery bond proceeds
to finance ENO's outstanding debt obligations associated with its
Hurricane Isaac storm recovery costs and the costs to partially
replenish ENO's Storm Reserve to achieve the Council-approved $75
million funding requirement. ENO has provided evidence to the Council
that its Storm Reserve balance will not reach the Council's $75 million
requirement by March 2017. ENO's most recent estimates show the balance
could be up to $40 million short of the Council's requirement, assuming
there are no other significant area storms before March 2017.
receive approval of its application, ENO must show that financing the
storm recovery costs through securitization results in a lower revenue
requirement for ratepayers than would be the case than using
conventional financing. The record of the securitization application
proceeding must be certified to the Council by its Hearing Officer no
later than April 30, 2015 to allow for a Council decision by May 2015,
and issuance of the Bonds before the 2015 Hurricane Season.
Vice President Williams said, "As utility regulator, this action by the
Council guarantees that we hold Entergy New Orleans accountable during a
storm event and that there is full transparency with regard to ENO's
Storm Reserve Fund. It's our job to represent the citizens, the utility
ratepayers of New Orleans, who will be impacted during and following a
storm or hurricane."
Supported GiveNOLA Day
To support GiveNOLA, the Council passed Resolution R-15-83, authored
by Councilmember Williams, allowing GiveNOLA to place signs on public
roads to promote the event. GiveNOLA Day is a one-day, online-giving
event to raise money for non-profit organizations. During this day,
citizens are encouraged to donate to non-profits. Every dollar donated
on May 5th will be supplemented by "lagniappe" dollars provided by the
Greater New Orleans Foundation and generous GiveNOLA sponsors. Events
like GiveNOLA day provide the means for non-profits to provide services
throughout the year.
Vice President Williams said, "GiveNOLA Day is a great opportunity to
help build a stronger, thriving community. Last year, GiveNOLA was able
to raise $2.25 million for our community. Allowing GiveNOLA to place
signage on public roads will increase awareness of the event and result
in an even greater outcome. I would like to thank the work of the GNO
Foundation, the GiveNOLA sponsors, and everyone who participates in this
Joined the Asian Pacific American Society in Celebrating the Year of the Goat
The Council passed Resolution R-15-84 coauthored by Councilmembers LaToya Cantrell and James Gray, recognizing the Asian Pacific American Society's (APAS) contributions to the culture of the City of New Orleans and their celebration of the Year of the Goat. The APAS will celebrate the New Year with festivals, ceremonies, and other cultural traditions throughout the City. The APAS promotes ethnic and cultural pride and works toward empowering the local Asian Pacific American Communities.
District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "In a city already known for its food and festivals, we look forward to celebrating the multicultural traditions that they continue to share with the community. We appreciate the hard work of the APAS Board of Directors and wish them all the best in the Year of the Goat."
"E" Councilmember Gray said, "I would like to thank the Board of
Directors of the Asian Pacific American Society for all that they do to
better the lives of the people of Orleans Parish. We take great pride in
the cultural diversity of New Orleans and we thank the APAS for sharing
their New Year celebration."
Recognized the Links Organization and the Young Women of McDonogh #35 High School
Council recognized young women from McDonogh #35 High School were
honored by the City Council today for their participation in the
Pontchartrain Chapter of Links, Inc's Rising Stars Program. The honorees
were accompanied by former Senator and Councilmember Diana Bajoie and
Links Chair of Youth Services Centrell Ewell. Among its many activities,
the Links organization provides mentoring programs, which strive to
improve academic and social success through education, community
development, and volunteerism.
"C" Councilmember Ramsey said, "The young women from McDonough #35 High
School have provided a great service to Links organization. These young
women are role models for the youth of our City and an inspiration to
all of us. I am proud to recognize these outstanding young women and the
Pontchartrain Chapter of the Links organization."
Established the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Advisory Committee
The Council passed Ordinance Calendar No. 30,527,
authored by Councilmember Brossett, establishing the Pedestrian and
Bicycle Safety Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee will advise
and recommend to the Council guiding principles and policies relative to
bicycle and pedestrian transportation and safety issues. It will also
work to increase public awareness and understanding of automotive,
pedestrian, and bicycle laws, evaluate citizen and business concerns,
and make recommendations on how the City can safely integrate walking
and cycling routes into the City's existing transportation system.
Committee will consist of 13 members, one to be appointed by each
Councilmember, one to be appointed by the Mayor, and one representative
from each of the following: the Department of Public Works, the City
Planning Commission, the Health Department, the Human Relations
Commission and the Regional Transit Authority.
The establishment of the Committee is the first step in achieving some of the goals outlined in The Plan for the 21st Century: New Orleans 2030 which
expressly encourages, "the development and use of alternative forms of
transportation" and the creation of "roadways that integrate vehicle
transportation with bicycling and walking."
"D" Councilmember Brossett said, "The Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety
Advisory Committee will help to ensure a safe and efficient means for
cyclists and pedestrians to navigate the City. Developing a system for
alternative forms of transportation is key to improving our City's
traffic problems and improving our citizen's quality of life."
Expanded the Old Algiers Cultural District
The Council approved Resolution R-15-71,
authored by Councilmember Ramsey, supporting the expansion of the Old
Algiers Cultural District. The proposed expansion will incorporate the
interior streets and extend the boundaries to better reflect the entire
Old Algiers Main Street Corporation program area, to ensure that
historic structures and significant cultural venues are eligible for tax
credits for rehabilitation, and to provide for additional economic
opportunities for creative industries within those corridors.
"C" Councilmember Ramsey said, "Algiers is open for business and I am
encouraged by the new economic activity. Newton Street has been repaved
and tax credits have been made available to enhance business growth. I
intend to continue my efforts to preserve and rehabilitate this historic
neighborhood located in Council District "C".