November 29, 2018 10:00 AM
City Council Chamber
Scheduled, 10 a.m., Council Chamber
The City Council will convene its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, November 29, 2018, at 10 a.m. in the City Council Chamber at City Hall.
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NEW ORLEANS - At today's regular meeting, the City Council adopted the 2019 Operating and Capital Budgets for the City of New Orleans, approved Harrah's Community Support Grants Program funds, directed the City Planning Commission (CPC) to study the creation of a new Interim Zoning District (IZD) in the Lower Ninth Ward, adopted a resolution to support efforts of the Sheriff's Office, and took a point of personal privilege to receive a presentation from the New Orleans LGBTQ Hospitality Alliance on its new "Everyone's Welcome Here" sticker program.
Additionally, the Council recognized 24-year-old author Jared Green for his book "There's A Creature In My Belly!" and committed to helping him achieve his goal of gifting 1,000 underprivileged kids with books this Christmas. The Council also commended New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Eighth District Commander Nicholas Gernon for being named one of Gambit's "40 Under 40" honorees for 2018, and local organizations Daughters Beyond Incarceration and the Free-Dem Foundations for their work to diminish the long-term negative impacts of the criminal justice system on children.
Councilmember Williams congratulates Jared Green (left) and members of the Council with NOPD Eighth District Commander Nicholas Gernon (right) during today's meeting
Council Adopts 2019 City Budget
Today, the Council adopted the City's 2019 Operating and Capital Budgets concluding the annual budget review process and establishing spending levels for the coming fiscal year. Mayor LaToya Cantrell initiated this year's budget process when she appeared before the Council on Nov. 1 to present a proposed $698.1 million annual operating budget from the City's general fund. The Council then held an efficient and rigorous budget review process to learn the needs of each department and listen to residents' concerns. The amended operating budget adopted today is a total $701.9 million, representing a $3.8 million increase for various new initiatives and programs.
"This $3.8 million is an important number," said District "D" Councilmember and Budget Committee Chair Jared C. Brossett. "It represents the amendments proposed by City Council highlight the shared goals of both Council and the Cantrell Administration to ensure the residents of New Orleans have effective, efficient, and sustainable government services and programs that will improve their quality of life. Most importantly, there are key themes that emerge from these changes: increasing funding to the families and youth of New Orleans and prioritizing public safety initiatives."
2019 Budget highlights include new funding for the following:
- STEM NOLA - $50,000
- Louisiana Center for Children's Rights - $250,000
- Evening Reporting Center - $110,000
- Children's Bureau - NOPD Crisis Management Partnership - $205,100
- Youth Intervention Center program - $150,000
- Assisted Outpatient Treatment program - $100,000
"This is a budget that prioritizes - not just by word, but by deed - the children of New Orleans," said Councilmember-At-Large Helena Moreno. "I want to commend my colleagues and the Administration for lifting up our kids. We must continue to focus on breaking poverty cycles and ending community disinvestment in order to promote equity, safety, and prosperity for all New Orleanians."
The 2019 Budget also provides additional funding for various City initiatives and programs. Those include:
- Doubling funding to the Early Childhood Education program (+$750,000 bringing total allocation to $1.5 million)
- Department of Public Works for catch basin cleaning - (+$1,000,000 million)
- New Orleans Public Defender to maintain its budget despite decreased revenues (+$300,000)
- Additional DBE and Supplier Diversity compliance officers (+$254,764)
- New Orleans Adult Learning Center (+$577,100)
"This budget focuses on people," said District "B" Councilmember Jay H. Banks. "It is directed at improving the quality of life for not just some, but all of our citizens. I am elated to be working with this Council and Mayor who genuinely understand that the more we invest in our people, the better off we will all be."
The Council with various education advocates and community partners at a press conference to discuss the historic allocation of $1.5M for early childhood education in 2019
Approval of Harrah's Community Support Grants Program Recipients
The Council approved City Council/Harrah's Community Support Grants Program funds per district. The program was established by the Council in 2006 with the purpose of providing grant support to local organizations and projects that contribute substantially to the well-being, development, and growth of the community. The funding is intended to be broad-based and foster a diversity of exemplary organizations and projects.
Harrah's grant funds are available to the Council twice a year, in June and November. The Council receives a total of $225,000 annually ($16,071 semiannually per Councilmember). Funding is limited to no more than 50 percent of the total budget for an existing organization/project and no more than 25 percent of the total budget for a start-up organization or new project. To view a full list of today's recipients, click here.
Council Approves Measure to Spur Development in Lower Ninth Ward
The Council adopted a motion directing the CPC to conduct a public hearing on the establishment of the Lower Ninth Ward Housing Development IZD to spur development of single-family residences in the area. If approved, the new IZD will establish standards for the redevelopment of non-conforming lots in areas currently zoned S-RS Suburban Single-Family Residential District and S-RD Suburban Two-Family Residential District, which recently received new Future Land Use Map designations in the City's Master Plan.
"This will greatly facilitate the development of affordable housing and improve quality of life for residents in the Lower Ninth Ward," said District "E" Councilmember Cyndi Nguyen. "The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority is doing great work partnering with developers to create affordable housing opportunities here, but the suburban designation has been problematic. This measure will help remove the layers of barriers faced by developers in this neighborhood, and I thank the CPC for bringing this issue to my attention."
Resolution Supporting Additional Security for Sheriff's Office Passes
The Council adopted a resolution supporting and encouraging the use of additional security to assist the efforts of the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office. Over the course of the past five years, the Sheriff's Office has struggled to comply with all the requirements listed in the consent decree, which has placed the safety and security of inmates and staff at risk.
The additional security may be provided by a third party to ensure safety in portions of Criminal District Court that are exterior to the courtrooms and court chambers (including courthouse exterior areas, entrances, and hallways), creating efficiencies that will allow the Sheriff's Office to focus on furthering consent decree compliance and security within the courtrooms. As stated in the resolution, the Council believes that the addition of these "force multipliers" will help the Sheriff's Office better utilize its limited resources.