April 11, 2019 10:00 AM
City Council Chamber
View Agenda (PDF)
View Agenda (MS Word)
View completed agenda
View agenda with attachments
NEW ORLEANS - At today's regular meeting, the Council established an Equal Pay Advisory Committee, adopted a resolution urging the Louisiana Legislature to pass HB 422, asked Congress to review requirements for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) eligibility, adopted a resolution proclaiming Lead Awareness Week, directed the City Planning Commission (CPC) to consider reclassifying "Stormwater Management Principal Use," and approved additional requirements for junk dealers.
Additionally, the Council recognized local emergency dispatchers and first responders and heard special presentations from the New Orleans Early Education Network, Girl Trek, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and local stakeholders and advocates in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
The Council with Orleans Parish Communications District staff (left) and local advocates presenting their work in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (right)
Equal Pay Advisory Committee Established
The Council approved Ordinance 32,531 establishing an Equal Pay Advisory Committee to provide guidance and advise the Council on how best to remedy the consequences of wage disparity in the City of New Orleans.
Pay inequality has detrimental effects on local women and families. Women are often out-earned by men with less education, and make less over the course of their careers resulting in lower retirement income. In Louisiana, women earn just 69% on average to that of their male counterparts, and the gap widens substantially for women of color.
The Equal Pay Advisory Committee will consist of 11 members appointed as follows:
- Each Councilmember will appoint one member to the committee
- The Director of the Office of Workforce Development will serve on the committee or select a designee
- The Director of the Civil Service Department will serve on the committee or select a designee
- The Chief Administration Officer (CAO) will serve on the committee or select a designee; and
- The Director of the Human Relations Commission will serve on the committee or select a designee.
"This Council has continuously proven that it's committed to addressing economic and social inequities," said Councilmember Brossett. "Pay inequality isn't just a women's issue; it is a family issue. Establishing the Equal Pay Advisory Committee is another important step in creating a fair, equitable and prosperous New Orleans for generations to come."
Council Urges State Legislature to Grant Cities Authority to Raise Minimum Wage
The Council adopted a resolution petitioning the State Legislature to allow local governments to raise the minimum wage in their respective cities. Under the current state law, municipalities are unable to set their own minimum wages and worker protection policies. Through the resolution, the Council has asked the Legislature to support House Bill (HB) 422 and repeal the current law preempting local control of the minimum wage.
"Louisiana is one of only five states that does not have a set minimum wage, and therefore our citizens are grossly underpaid," said Councilmember-At-Large Helena Moreno. "We in local government should have the ability to remedy this issue on behalf of our constituents, and HB 422 would finally allow us to do so."
The bill, authored by Representative Royce Duplessis, will be heard during the 2019 regular session. The resolution adopted by the Council today will now be delivered to members of the House Labor Committee in advance of the upcoming hearing on the matter. If passed, this legislation will greatly empower the Council and other municipalities across the state with the power to uplift communities and provide long-term financial security to working families.
"We often talk about our city's issues with housing, quality of life, poverty, crime and education," said Councilmember-At-Large Jason Williams. "The intersection of all these things is what people are paid for a hard day's work, and it's simply not enough right now. I'm very proud to be a co-author of this legislation and look forward to making the trip up to Baton Rouge to let our state representatives know that we don't care what they do up there, but it is imperative that they let us do what we need to do down here."
Lead Awareness Week to Take Place in October
The Council adopted a resolution proclaiming the final week of October 2019 as Lead Awareness Week to promote community efforts, prevention and awareness around lead contamination in the City of New Orleans. According to the resolution, medical researchers have reported an alarming increase in the city's lead levels in recent years. Exposure to lead can have serious, long-term consequences for young children and adults including severe neurological damage, seizures, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems.
With only around 16% of Louisiana children having been tested for lead exposure over the past four years, it is imperative to raise awareness around this potentially deadly health risk. With the proclamation of Lead Awareness Week, the Council hopes to educate the local community and prevent future contamination to ensure generations of healthy, active New Orleanians.
Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Council Asks Congress to Review HUD Housing Eligibility Requirements
The Council adopted a resolution requesting Congress to conduct a thorough review of statutory definitions for HUD housing eligibility and decrease the general 12-month chronic homelessness requirement for permanent supportive housing. The resolution also urges Congress to augment program eligibility for individuals that experience homelessness due to their inability to afford quality housing options.
The burdensome reporting rules associated with applying for assistance combined with the lengthy duration requirement of 12 months prevent many homeless individuals from being placed in permanent supportive housing. Additionally, the condition of being "chronically homeless" in order to qualify excludes a substantial population including those living in transient housing such as motels, those living with relatives, those who move frequently, and those who live in substandard housing with poor conditions. For these reasons and more, the Council encourages Louisiana's federal delegation to review and alleviate the existing requirements to enhance program eligibility and provide much-needed support to the thousands of hard-working New Orleanians who are currently homeless or cost-burdened.
"We need something far more effective than what we have to help get our people off the street," said District "B" Councilmember Jay H. Banks. "The federal government's prerequisite that individuals have to be homeless for an entire year before even being eligible to receive help for their families is unacceptable. We need comprehensive and meaningful solutions to address homelessness in our city, and that will require buy-in from government at all levels."
Additional Requirements for Junk Dealers Approved
Thefts involving catch basin covers have increased around the city in recent months, leaving many dangerously exposed. As a result, the Council passed an ordinance that amends Section 130-39 of the City Code to provide additional requirements for junk dealers. The ordinance prohibits the sale of storm drain materials or utility manhole covers with the name and/or initials of a political subdivision or otherwise identified as the property of a political subdivision. In the event of an attempted sale, junk dealers must immediately notify the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD).
Additionally, junk dealers will be required to keep a written record of all purchases and/or acquisitions of the outlined materials to be submitted to the NOPD. Any junk dealer who refuses to exhibit the written record required, or who destroys that record within three years after making the final entry of any purchase or sale of junk, will be charged with a misdemeanor. To view the ordinance in its entirety, click here.
Photo of an exposed storm drain courtesy of WWLTV.com
CPC to Study Reclassification of Stormwater Management Use
The Council approved a motion directing the CPC to conduct a public hearing to consider amending the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) to reclassify "Stormwater Management, Principal Use" from conditional to permitted in certain districts. In March 2018, the Council approved a series of ordinances amending the City's stormwater management program to move the regulations and review process from Zoning Code to the Building Code.
The current "Stormwater Management, Principal Use" regulations in the CZO need to be updated to establish consistency and continuity with the format of the existing zoning code. This ordinance accomplishes that purpose by removing the conditional use review for stormwater management projects from the majority of zoning districts, and permitting the use in districts where previously not allowed. For additional details, click here.