November 19, 2015
City Council Chamber
City Council November 19, Regular Meeting News Summary
Thursday, November 19, 2015 - New Orleans, LA - At today's Regular City Council Meeting, the Council considered 2016 Budget Ordinances, called an election to amend the Home Role Charter relative to the Office of Independent Police Monitor.
The Council also passed resolutions supporting the Big River Coalition's efforts to increase the depth of the Mississippi River navigation channel between Baton Rouge and the Gulf of Mexico, and supporting sustainable immigration policies to the City of New Orleans, encouraging compassion, and expressing gratitude to those who assist refugees.
In other business, the Council received a presentation from the Big River Coalition regarding efforts to increase the depth of the Mississippi River, recognized St. Thomas Community Health Center Founder and CEO Dr. Donald T. Erwin, and recognized Community Visions United for their efforts to revitalize New Orleans neighborhoods.
Prior to the Meeting, the Council held a moment of silence to recognize the lives lost in the Paris terrorist attacks.
Moment of Silence Recognizing Lives Lost in the Paris Terrorist Attacks
|District "C" Legislative Director Aylin Maklansky translates for French Consul General Grégor Trumel before the Council|
Prior to the start of the Regular Meeting, District "C" Councilmember Ramsey took a point of personal privilege to call for a moment of silence recognizing the lives lost during the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, France and for all who have suffered at the hands of terrorists.
Councilmember Ramsey said, "Today, here in New Orleans, we recognize our special historical and cultural ties to France and the French people who share our values of liberty, brotherhood and equality. We stand in honor of the victims, in admiration and support for the people of Paris, and we stand strong and together with people throughout the world who learn from history, who are inspired by beauty, and who cherish freedom and life."
French Consul General Grégor Trumel was in attendance and offered words of gratitude for the support shown by the Council and highlighted the strong bonds of friendship between New Orleans and France. After Consul General Trumel spoke, the Council played the French National Anthem, La Marseillaise.
In related news, the Council also passed a resolution under suspension supporting policies to promote sustainable immigration to the City, encouraging compassion towards those less fortunate than ourselves and expressing gratitude to the many organizations, churches, and families who generously assist refugees year-round.
Considered 2016 Budget Ordinances
The Council discussed and adopted amendments to the 2016 Budget. All of the 2016 Budget Ordinances were then deferred as amended to the Regular Council Meeting on Tuesday, December 1, 2015. At the December 1 meeting, the Council will vote on the 2016 Budget as amended.
The Council received the Mayor's Proposed Budget on October 15 and conducted a series of Budget Hearings that included presentations from representatives of City departments, the Mayor's Office, the Courts, the District Attorney, the Orleans Parish Sheriff, and outside agencies, boards and commissions. Council hearings on the 2016 Proposed Budget concluded Tuesday, November 17, 2015.
In other budgetary matters, the Council considered and amended a series of ordinances 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 2016. These actions by the Council are an annual requirement as a part of the budgeting process. The Council also considered Ordinance Calendar No. 30,988, relative to the levy of fees on property in special security and improvement tax districts in the City for the year 2016. The ordinances were deferred as amended to the Regular Council Meeting on December 1, 2015.
Called Election to Amend the Home Rule Charter Relative to the Office of Independent Police Monitor
The Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 31,019, authored by Councilmembers Brossett, Williams, Head, Guidry, Cantrell, Ramsey and Gray, calling an election for November 8, 2016 to submit to voters a proposal to amend the Home Rule Charter of the City of New Orleans to provide the proper apportionment of dedicated funding among the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the Office of Independent Police Monitor (OIPM) and the Ethics Review Board; establish operational and financial independence of the OIPM; and provide for independent external evaluations for each entity.
District "D" Councilmember Brossett said, "This election is a major step in ensuring the independence and effectiveness of New Orleans' three major ethics and oversight bodies. I encourage all citizens to get out and vote to make their voices heard on this extremely important issue."
Received Presentation Regarding Mississippi River Depth Increase
The Council received a presentation from Big River Coalition Executive Director Sean Duffy about efforts currently underway to increase to 50 feet the depth of the Mississippi River navigation channel between Baton Rouge and the Gulf of Mexico. Currently, the Mississippi River navigation channel has a depth of 45 feet. In his presentation, Duffy highlighted the need for a deeper navigation channel in response to planned expansions of the Panama Canal. Duffy explained that by increasing the depth of the navigation channel, the Port of New Orleans could see an increase in container traffic by 7% over the next decade and generate an additional $5 billion in spending in Louisiana.
|Big River Coalition Executive Director Sean Duffy presenting before the Council|
After the presentation, the Council passed Resolution No. R-15-550, authored by Councilmember Gray, supporting the Big River Coalition's efforts to increase the Mississippi River's navigation channel depth to 50 feet between Baton Rouge and the Gulf of Mexico.
District "E" Councilmember Gray said, "I am pleased with the progress being made to increase the depth of the Mississippi River. This project will put New Orleans in a position to reap the benefits of increased shipping traffic on the Mississippi."
Recognized Community Visions United
The Council recognized Community Visions United (CVU) for their efforts to revitalize New Orleans neighborhoods. Founded in 1994, CVU works to rebuild New Orleans Neighborhoods through art, housing, and empowerment. CVU Founder and Vice President, Jeannie Tidy, presented before the Council and detailed the organization's highly visible and popular New Orleans Street Gallery Program, where local artists are hired to paint scenes on electrical utility boxes. Tidy also highlighted CVU's planned expansion of the program to include portraits of local musicians on electric utility boxes in Downtown New Orleans.
|CVU Founder and |
VP Jeanie Tidy presenting before the Council
District "B" Councilmember Cantrell said, "I am proud to recognize Community Visions United for their efforts in transforming New Orleans blight. By creating something beautiful and uniquely New Orleans, they have improved attitudes and behaviors across the City."
Recognized St. Thomas Community Health Center Founder and CEO Dr. Donald T. Erwin
The Council recognized by proclamation St. Thomas Community Health Center founder and CEO Dr. Donald T. Erwin for his work in providing comprehensive primary care to under-served patients regardless of their financial or insurance situations.
|Dr. Donald T. Erwin with members of the Council|
The St. Thomas Community Health Center is a successor to the St. Thomas Health Services Clinic formerly located in the St. Thomas Housing Development. After Hurricane Katrina, the Clinic was closed due to lack of financial and personnel support. The Health Center was established to provide the same services in post-Katrina New Orleans.
Presenting before the Council, Dr. Erwin highlighted the many services provided to patients by the St. Thomas Community Health Center and multiple other centers across New Orleans, including primary care for adult and pediatric patients, women's health and prenatal services, behavioral health, mammography and eye care. All services are provided regardless of a patient's ability to pay.
Councilmember Head said, "The St. Thomas Community Health Center has grown into one of New Orleans' largest and most accessible safety net providers, with six locations expected to serve nearly 45,000 patients this year. Dr. Erwin and his team are committed to providing health care in a cultural competent manner that is of the highest quality to some of the most vulnerable in our community. It was the Council's great privilege to honor their work today."