Regular Meeting

May 09, 2019 10:00 AM

City Council Chamber

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NEW ORLEANS - At today's regular meeting, the City Council transitioned the roles of its presidency, approved an ordinance to remediate unauthorized homeless encampments on public property, adopted a resolution calling for the rededication of revenues to the Regional Transit Authority (RTA), approved the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) to operate an Evening Reporting Center, and urged members of the Louisiana legislature to pass Senate Bill 79 and Senate Bill 80.

Additionally, the Council received special presentations from Dillard University in celebration of its 150th anniversary and representatives of the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport with construction schedule updates for the new terminal project.
The Council with Dillard University President Dr. Walter Kimbrough, VP Marc Barnes and AVP Nick Harris (left) and airport representatives presenting to the Council (right) during today's meeting
Transitioning of the Council Presidency
At the start of today's meeting, the Council transitioned the roles of its presidency and vice presidency with Councilmember-At-Large Helena Moreno assuming the role of Council President and Councilmember-At-Large Jason Williams presiding as Council Vice President. The transition marks a historic occasion in New Orleans, with both branches of city government now being led by minority women.

Prior to transitioning into her new role, Councilmember Moreno thanked each member of the Council for their hard work and commitment over their first year in office together.
"Over the past year, each person on this dais has chipped away at problems and worked to find solutions to some of the greatest issues plaguing our city," said Councilmember Moreno. "It is my great honor to take on the duties of Council President. I will ensure our focus remains centered on creating a safer, more affordable, resilient, and equitable New Orleans."
The Council also marked the occasion with pre-meeting remarks sharing news of ongoing progress and continued goals on public safety, housing, infrastructure, and more.
"A healthier New Orleans means addressing decades of old and present-day problems with an eye to the future, using every tool at our disposal," said Councilmember Williams. "Through increased data collection, transparency, and budgeting that prioritizes people over bloated systems, we are working every day to make the next 300 years better than the last 300. I cannot overemphasize what this means for serving the children and youth of this city. Not only are we teaching our children at younger ages through financial investments in early childhood education, but we are also addressing the trauma of our young people instead of setting them up to fail. These steps are investments in our future as a city and as a whole community."

Councilmembers Williams (left) and Moreno (right) during today's meeting
 Council Approves Homeless Encampment Ordinance

The Council approved an ordinance to remediate unauthorized encampments on public property, including the removal and storage of personal property, cleaning, and outreach. Addressing the issue of homelessness and examining how resources are being used to support the city's homeless population has long been a priority of the Council's.
Ordinance 32, 626 codifies existing City policies that allow New Orleans Health Department workers to remove homeless encampments that are in frequent sight and require them to separate personal property left behind and store it for at least 30 days in a location accessible by public transit.
The ordinance also sets guidelines for prioritizing the remediation of encampments based on objective hazards, criminal activity, garbage or debris, health hazards, criminal activity, and more. It also states that no personal property may be removed from an encampment prior to the City providing notice. If individuals are present at the time the notice is being delivered, oral notice of remediation must be given as well. Once proper notice has been provided, the City is authorized to take necessary and reasonable steps to segregate personal property for storage purposes and immediately remove and dispose of items determined to be garbage, waste, or hazardous materials.
 Reallocation of Public Funds to RTA
The Council adopted a non-binding resolution calling for the rededication of revenues to the RTA. Resolution R-19-80 requests a one-percent sales tax be rededicated to the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) from the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC). In 1985, New Orleans voters approved a one-percent sales tax dedicated to the City's transit system. However, a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) signed in 2000 redirected 40 percent of the millions of dollars in annual revenue to NOTMC. The Council supports the RTA in its efforts to terminate the CEA and reclaim tax revenues in order to invest in transit services, improve amenities for riders and replace aging vehicles. The Council also recognizes the invaluable role that NOTMC plays in fostering jobs and economic growth by developing the City's tourism industry and will support the organization as it seeks out alternative sources of funding.

"This resolution in no way seeks to disparage the NOTMC or their important work in the hospitality and tourism industry. The hospitality industry is vital to our city's success, but we need to support the tens of thousands of employees who allow the industry to flourish and depend on public transit. Furthermore, these are funds the public intended to go to the RTA specifically for public transit. Our aging bus fleet was replaced after Katrina and is at the end of its lifespan. We need a new fleet, more bus routes and expanded services, especially for hospitality workers," said District "C" Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer.

 Resolution Adopted Urging Passage of State Senate Bills 79 & 80
The Council adopted a resolution urging members of the Louisiana legislature to support the passage of both Senate Bill 79 and Senate Bill 80. The approval of these bills would give New Orleans the authority to create ad valorem tax abatement programs to help improve the lives of Orleans Parish residents by lowering the costs of housing and mitigating the current affordability crisis while preserving the culture of historic neighborhoods.
The City of New Orleans needs additional tools for the development and retention of affordable housing, and ad valorem tax incentives have been proven to help municipalities across the country create programs to increase their affordable housing stock. If passed, these bills would give the Council the authority to help new home buyers in economically depressed areas of the city, as well as long-term owner-occupants in areas with rapidly increasing property values, affordable housing developers looking to reduce the cost of production, and property owners with expiring affordability requirements.
 Council Authorizes Community-Based YEP Center for Youth Offenders
The Council passed an ordinance authorizing the Mayor to enter into a multi-year CEA to allow YEP to operate an Evening Reporting Center (ERC) as a non-secure alternative for youth pending adjudication. The center will serve a great purpose as a community-based alternative to detention for New Orleans youth facing criminal charges by providing them with critical support services including mental and physical health treatment, school enrollment, social interaction, and more, to increase their chances of success. This was a priority initiative identified by Council during hearings on the 2019 budget.
YEP will maintain its role as a mentorship-based organization and will not act as a clinical provider but instead, provide its recommendations based on identified needs. Additionally, YEP will be required to provide regular reports to the City on the ERC's performance such as the number of youth connected to community-based services through participation in the ERC, number of youth who successfully complete its programming and measures of youth and guardian satisfaction.
"We've got to do all that we can to keep our young people on the right track, and out of the criminal justice system," said District "B" Councilmember Jay H. Banks. "I'm supporting this in the hope that it will discourage kids from making potentially life-altering wrong choices by showing them that there's another way."

Created on: 10/16/2018 9:15:52 AM | Last updated: 5/22/2019 2:48:07 PM


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