April 23, 2015
City Council Chamber
City Council April 23, 2015 Regular Meeting News Summary
Thursday, April 23, 2015 - New Orleans, LA - At today's regular City Council meeting the Council adopted an ordinance to create the French Quarter Economic Development District. If approved by voters living in the French Quarter later this year, local sales tax increments will be levied and used to finance development projects within the District. The Council also adopted two ordinances that set new rules and requirements for the operation of trucks and oversize vehicles in the Vieux Carre, and an ordinance to strengthen DBE reporting requirements for City departments, agencies, attached and unattached boards, commissions, and corporations that utilize public funding or incentives.
By resolution, the Council declared April Fair Housing Month. The Council also passed resolutions supporting public policies to encourage a robust local solar industry and comprehensive health education for Orleans Parish School students. The Council also took action to amend its regular meeting schedule. The Regular Council Meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 21 has been moved to Thursday, May 14.
In presentations to the Council, the effective date of the the City's Smoke Free Air Act was celebrated and the students of the New Orleans Scholars and the District "B" Citizenship programs were recognized.
Created the French Quarter Economic Development District
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,672, defining the boundaries of French Quarter Economic Development District. If approved by voters living in the French Quarter later this year, local sales tax increments will be levied and used to finance development projects within the District.
The District is bounded by the Mississippi River, the centerline of Canal Street, the rear property line of the properties fronting the lakeside of North Rampart Street, and the rear property line of the properties fronting the downriver side of Esplanade Avenue to the Mississippi River.
This action also creates a special trust fund backed by funds generated from an additional quarter cent sales tax within the boundaries of the District. The sales tax would be used to fund economic development projects and a longer-term contingent of 45 Louisiana State Police troopers to patrol the French Quarter.
The additional quarter cent sales tax will only be levied if approved by the voters in the French Quarter in an election this fall. It is estimated that a quarter cent sales tax, excluding hotel and motel room taxes, within the boundaries would generate approximately $2 million annually to spend on State Police. Because these moneys would be generated through a sales tax, tourists would provide most of the funds.
If passed by the voters, the District's proceeds will be matched by long-term annual funding commitments from hospitality organizations, including:
- $500,000 from the Convention & Visitors Bureau and New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation
- $1 million from the Morial Convention Center
- $500,000 from the French Quarter Improvement Fund
District "C" Councilmember Ramsey said, "I am pleased to introduce and support this ordinance. Hopefully, French Quarter residents will vote in support of the ballot measure on October 24th, to address the crime in their own neighborhood, using funds generated only within that neighborhood. One very positive aspect of this proposal is that no resources will be diverted from other areas of the City."
Strengthened DBE Reporting Requirements
In a unanimous vote, the Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,497, authored by Councilmember Brossett, specifying stronger Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) reporting requirements for all City departments, agencies, attached and unattached boards, commissions, and corporations that utilize public funding or incentives.
By October 15th of each year, all City departments and agencies will submit an annual report identifying their DBE goals and attainment rates for the prior two years. The submission of the report will align with the City's annual budget process and must include:
- The total number and value of all DBE contracts awarded during the reporting period
- The total number and value of all contracts awarded to DBEs as prime contractors
- The total number and value of all contracts awarded by non-DBE prime contractors to DBEs as subcontractors
- The overall number and value of all contracts awarded to DBEs during the reporting period
- Whether the contract is a procurement, professional services, personal services, or construction contract
District "D" Councilmember Brossett said, "The primary purpose of this ordinance is to increase transparency, accountability and public trust in the administrative procurement process. By requiring consistent reporting of DBE attainment rates, the Council will be in a better position to take stock of the program's effectiveness and evaluate what changes need to be made to ensure the Office of Supplier Diversity is maintaining a well-functioning DBE program."
Council Vice President Williams said, "A robust and transparent DBE program is paramount to the economic success of New Orleans. I commend my colleague Councilmember Brossett for taking the lead on this issue. It is vital that we put accountability measures in place that will demonstrate our progress and successes. Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas and Houston understand this. We are now joining these cities in recognizing that DBE programs grow the economic pie and profoundly impact the middle class."
Adopted New Truck and Oversize Vehicle Requirements in the Vieux Carre
The Council adopted Ordinances Calendar No. 30,678 and No. 30,684, authored by Councilmember Ramsey, setting new rules and requirements for the operation of trucks and oversize vehicles in the Vieux Carre. Under the ordinance, vehicles, trucks, truck-tractors, or trailers over 36 feet will not be allowed in the Vieux Carre without a special permit. Trucks and oversize vehicles, with the exception of personal vehicles under 3,500 pounds, will be required to display on the outside of both truck doors specific identifiable information including firm, company, or agency name, address, and the length of the vehicle. The information may be painted or printed on removable decals.
The Department of Public Works (DPW) will issue a $125.00 annual permit or a $10.00 single trip permit. The permit will specify the vehicle route. DPW will also have the ability to impose other conditions or requirements depending on the potential for physical impact to streets and sidewalks. Signs indicating the restrictions will be installed at Vieux Carre entry points. The ordinance sets violation penalties for a first offense at $500 and subsequent offenses at $1,000 with the possibility of suspension or revocation of any permits or licenses issued by the DPW. Ordinance enforcement will be conducted by the NOPD Traffic Department, NOLA Patrol, and the New Orleans Fire Department.
District "C" Councilmember Ramsey said, "We encountered a modern problem in our historic French Quarter that needed to be addressed. The narrow streets of the historic Vieux Carré were laid out in the 1720's before modern, oversized vehicles were envisioned. These ordinances will protect historic properties, public works infrastructure and ensure that residents and visitors are not subject to safety issues. Protection of historic neighborhoods is vital to sustaining our culture and our economy. These new regulations will help us to do just that."
Declared April Fair Housing Month
The Council passed Resolution No. R-15- 172, authored by Councilmembers Gray, Cantrell, Brossett, and Williams, declaring April Fair Housing Month in honor of the Fair Housing Act passed in April 1968, just a week after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Fair Housing Act guarantees the civil rights of individuals regardless of their race, sex, disability, religion, national origin or familial status.
The resolution also encourages the Council to continue pursuing public policies that may increase equal access to quality housing and diverse neighborhoods for all New Orleanians.
District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "It is important that as a Council we continue to create policies that ensure equality through improvements to the City's current housing opportunities. Every New Orleanian deserves access to neighborhoods of opportunity that provide their families with economic stability and a better quality of life."
District "E" Councilmember Gray said, "A person's future is determined by parental support, education and of course the opportunity to live in an affordable safe neighborhood. We commend and support your efforts to ensure fair housing for all citizens."
Encouraged Policies Supporting a Local Solar Industry
The Council passed Resolution No. R-15-177, authored by Councilmembers Guidry, Brossett, Williams and Gray, supporting public policies to encourage a robust local solar industry.
In May 2007, the Council established a net metering program that enables residential customers to apply excess energy generated by solar panels towards their Entergy Bill. As a result, the solar industry has provided over 3,600 jobs in Louisiana and 1,200 in New Orleans, and over three percent of residential customers were able to produce their own solar energy providing well over one-third of all solar energy in the State of Louisiana.
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "The solar industry has made incredible contributions to New Orleans' overall energy efficiency goals. As a Council, we must continue to support this industry, which saves families money, provides quality employment opportunities, and helps make New Orleans a greener, more sustainable city."
Supported Legislation to Ensure Comprehensive Health Education Programs in Public Schools
The Council passed Resolution No. R-15-172, authored by Councilmembers Guidry, Gray, and Cantrell, supporting legislation to ensure that public school students in Orleans Parish have the ability to participate in comprehensive, age and developmentally appropriate, medically accurate and evidence-informed health education programs. Research has shown that comprehensive health education programs are key to reducing the number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancies.
District "E" Councilmember Gray said, "Providing comprehensive health education programs is our obligation. Young people need strong health education programs to live quality lives."
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "Comprehensive, medically-accurate, and age-appropriate sex education is essential to helping our students reach their full potential, building stronger families, and improving the overall health of our community. Education is key to prevention. This resolution indicates the Council's support for giving our students the life-saving information that they need in order to make responsible and safer choices."
Celebrated the Effective Date of the Smoke Free Air Act
The Council celebrated the effective date of the Smoke Free Air Act, which went into effect on Wednesday, April 22. The Council adopted the Smoke Free Air Act at its January 22 Regular meeting.
The Smoke Free Air Act bans smoking in:
- Bars, Harrah's New Orleans Casino
- Richard & Annette Bloch Cancer Survivor Plaza, Lafayette Square, and outdoor arenas, amphitheaters, recreational areas with playground equipment, and stadiums
- Schools, training academies, community colleges and universities
- Public buildings
- Workplaces with 2 or more employees
- Video poker venues, off-track betting parlors, and bingo parlors
- Correctional facilities
The Ordinance permits smoking in/on:
- Private homes and vehicles
- Cigar or hookah bars in operation before January 8, 2015
- Shops that sell almost exclusively tobacco products, electronic smoking device businesses, and tobacco distribution or storage facilities
- Parking lots
- Convention Center during private functions during specific events
District 'B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "This is a tremendous step forward in making New Orleans a healthier and safer place to live, work and visit. I want to thank Mayor Landrieu, my colleagues, the smoke-free coalition partners, community members, and residents who tirelessly advocated to make a real impact on public health in our great City. We are all now able to breathe easy and to enjoy the clean and healthy air that we deserve!"
District "A" Councilmember Guidry said, "The Smoke Free ordinance demonstrates the City Council's commitment to a healthier and better New Orleans for our citizens and our visitors. Making the best decision for the health of our workers will have countless additional benefits for our City, and I will continue working with Councilmember Cantrell, our colleagues, and Mayor Landrieu to build a stronger, healthier New Orleans."
Recognized the New Orleans Scholars Program
|New Orleans Scholars Program participants with the City Council|
The Council received presentations from the New Orleans Scholars Program, an innovative educational leadership program for students at Metairie Park Country Day School and Benjamin Franklin High School. Students participate in a two-year program and engage in four topic areas - history and culture of New Orleans; state and local politics; regional economic development; and Gulf Coast environment.
Their presentations included policy reports on the St. Roch, Lakeview, Treme, Central City and New Orleans East neighborhoods. Students proposed initiatives to improve the neighborhoods such as expanding the Ceasefire Program to St. Roch; bringing an International Festival to Lakeview; redeveloping Carter Blvd. in New Orleans East; encouraging continued small business development on O.C. Haley Blvd. in Central City; and adding the St. Augustine Catholic Church in Treme to the National Register of Historic Places. Councilmembers also presented proclamations recognizing the outstanding work of the students.
2015 New Orleans Scholars Program Graduates:
- Aaron Perles (Benjamin Franklin High School)
- Ashley Sanders (Metairie Park Country Day School)
- Bennett See (Metairie Park Country Day School)
- Bobby Weinmann (Metairie Park Country Day School)
- Caroline Perlis (Metairie Park Country Day School)
- Eleanor Pratt (Benjamin Franklin High School)
- Iris Hunt (Benjamin Franklin High School)
- Olivia Parker (Benjamin Franklin High School)
- Williams Downs (Metairie Park Country Day School)
- Ysabella Remirez (Benjamin Franklin High School)
Council President Head said, "The young men and women participating in the New Orleans Scholars Program are exceptional students that have a true love for the City. While learning about our City's history, they are finding new and innovative ways to improve New Orleans for years to come. On behalf of the Council, congratulations, and good luck with your college studies and your future careers."
Presented Citizenship Award to District "B" Students
|Citizenship Award recipients with the City Council|
District "B" Councilmember LaToya Cantrell presented the 2015 Citizenship Awards to 29 students. The award recognizes one male and one female student from each District "B" School. Awardees are selected based on their participation and engagement in community service, character building organizations, student government programs and other school activities. Students must maintain an excellent scholastic and attendance record and possess leadership qualities capable of motivating others.
District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "I would like to applaud these young men and women for their extraordinary scholastic achievements and for serving as exemplary models of leadership and community service. I wish each of you the best of luck, and I encourage you to continue your phenomenal work as you join the future generation of this city's young leaders."