August 22, 2019 10:00 AM
City Council Chamber
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NEW ORLEANS - At today's regular meeting, the Council adopted a resolution recognizing the official Hurricane Katrina memorial event in the City of New Orleans, passed two ordinances to appropriate grant funds for the Mayor's Office of Youth and Families, and adopted a resolution advocating on behalf of homeowners against excessive reassessments of their properties.
Prior to the start of the meeting, District "D" Councilmember Jared Brossett and Mayor LaToya Cantrell recognized Peter Ricchiuti with proclamations thanking him for 23 years of service on the Revenue Estimating Conference.
Councilmember Brossett and Mayor Cantrell with Peter Ricchiuti
Additionally, the Council deferred action on Ordinance 32,693 regarding permitting and applicable penalties for alcoholic beverage outlets (ABOs) to the regular meeting on September 19, 2019.
Official Memorial Event Established for Victims of Hurricane Katrina
The Council adopted a resolution recognizing the City's official memorial event remembering those who lost their lives during Hurricane Katrina. The event is hosted annually by the Katrina Memorial Foundation in partnership with the City of New Orleans at the Katrina Memorial on Canal Street.
Over 1,000 people in the New Orleans area were killed as a result of Katrina, and nearly 100 remain unidentified or unclaimed. To honor those individuals, the Foundation constructed the Hurricane Katrina Katrina Memorial in 2006 and has since held an annual wreath-laying ceremony at the site on August 29. Per Resolution R-19-337, the ceremony will now be recognized as the City of New Orleans' official Hurricane Katrina Memorial event.
Photo of the Hurricane Katrina Memorial courtesy of Trip Advisor
Council Urges State Legislature to Address Excessive Spikes in Property Assessments
The Council adopted a resolution encouraging the New Orleans Delegation of the Louisiana State Legislature to support legislation to soften the impacts of property reassessments. The resolution was developed in light of the recently released 2020 property tax assessments, which reflected astronomical growth. These steep assessments dramatically outpace the overall growth in earnings during the same period, with some homeowners experiencing increases of more than 300 percent.
Homeowners with increased property values are typically unable to capitalize on the increased equity, leaving some with no choice but to sell their homes. While the City of New Orleans relies upon ad valorem taxes to fund vital public services and infrastructure, the convergence of these factors places the City and its residents in a difficult dilemma. The Council has asked the State Legislature to study this issue further, and introduce an amendment to the Louisiana Constitution that would both safeguard homeowners in Orleans Parish and maintain an adequate stream of tax revenue for the City.
"As a member of this Council, I have remained steadfast in my commitment to keeping New Orleanians in their homes and neighborhoods," said District "B" Councilmember Jay H. Banks. "With some homeowners, particularly those on a fixed income, recently experiencing these astronomical increases in their assessments, they have become more vulnerable to predatory purchase and lending practices. We hope to work with partners at the state and local level to address this issue and find a win-win solution for both the City and its residents."
Grant Funds Approved for Office of Youth and Families
The Council approved two ordinances (32,730 & 32,731) that appropriate foundation grant funds for the Mayor's Office of Youth and Families to improve life outcomes for children. Ordinance 32,731 appropriates $225,000 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which will be used to develop and manage a "Community Hubs Initiative" to incentivize collaboration between neighborhood partners. This funding will support the implementation of this new initiative and connect vulnerable, system-involved youth with critical tools and assistance to improve their economic mobility, safety and overall well-being.