September 05, 2019 10:00 AM
City Council Chamber
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NEW ORLEANS - At today's regular meeting, the City Council established the month of September as Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month, passed regulations relative to the operation of motor vehicles in flooded roadways, approved definitions and operational provisions for electric bicycles, established stormwater management requirements, approved Cox Community Grant Program funding, and authorized the creation of unclassified positions within the Sewerage and Water Board (S&WB).
Additionally, the Council welcomed local female-owned organization Swarm Enterprises for a presentation on its upcoming event "The Sting Ring" to introduce more New Orleanians to the world of boxing and highlight the hard work and dedication of athletes in the sport. The event will take place on Friday, September 6 at The Sugar Mill in New Orleans. To learn more, visit swarmenterprises.com.
Members of the Council with the women of Swarm Enterprises during today's meeting
September Recognized as Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month
The Council heard a presentation from local medical professionals and advocates and adopted a corresponding resolution proclaiming the month of September as Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month in the City of New Orleans. Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month was created to honor families who have experienced a stay in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and the dedicated health professionals who care for them. The Council encourages all residents to join them in raising awareness and understanding around what the NICU is and how having had a child in the NICU can affect families for a lifetime.
The presentation was led by Kimberly Novod, who serves as Executive Director of New Orleans-based nonprofit Saul's Light Foundation. Novod and her husband founded the organization in 2015 to provide comfort and community to parents with babies in the NICU and those who have experienced infant loss. Even a brief stay in the NICU can be devastating, both emotionally and financially, and many parents experience long-term psychological stress as a result. The presenters stressed the importance of Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month to provide additional support for these families in New Orleans and to let them know they aren't alone.
To learn more about the work of Saul's Light Foundation, click here.
Medical experts and advocates presenting to the Council on Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month
Additional Regulations Approved to Prevent Operation of Motor Vehicles in Flooded Areas
The Council approved an ordinance by District "D" Councilmember Jared Brossett requiring motorists to obey the automated signs that warn when a roadway is flooded. The approved regulations were designed to deter motorists from driving through flooded areas above five miles per hour, which results in waves and wakes that cause further damage to surrounding properties. It also prohibits residents from tampering with, moving, or destroying barricades or signs placed near flooded roadways.
"I recently worked with the Cantrell Administration, the Office of Homeland Security, and the New Orleans Police Department to introduce an ordinance regarding the City's new Automated Flood Warning System. Ordinance No. 32,755 requires motorists to obey the automated signs that warn when a roadway is flooded. These signs were recently installed at 12 underpass locations, and the system is scheduled to go live soon. The software will integrate data with Sewerage and Water Board and be shared with the Real-Time Crime Center and National Weather Service to keep residents safe."
The ordinance codifies that when the City's new flood warning signs are flashing, that road or underpass is closed to traffic and residents are not to drive through. To view the Administration's Flood Warning System presentation, click here.
Photo of a vehicle driving through floodwaters courtesy of NOLA.com
Council Takes First Step Toward Introduction of Electric Bicycles in New Orleans
The Council approved an ordinance to define electric-assisted bicycles (e-bikes) and create general provisions for their operation throughout the city. Ordinance No. 32,741 incorporates industry definitions and national best practices around electric motorized bicycles, operational only when pedaling. As defined by the ordinance, an e-bike refers to any device sixteen inches or more in diameter, equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of fewer than 750 watts. The ordinance provides further clarification by establishing two classes of e-bike based on the maximum speed of the vehicle.
Stormwater Management Requirements Established
The Council approved Ordinance No. 32,757 to amend the City Code relative to Stormwater Management requirements and paved surface parking. The ordinance requires all surface non-residential off-street parking spaces to be permeable and provides applicable definitions for the following: Off-Street Parking Space, Permeable Paving, and Substantial Improvement.
"Decades after 1812, generations of people have written about the importance of the Battle of New Orleans. Many generations after ours, people will talk about what we did or did not do about how we live with water. Now is not actually the time. We are so very behind," said Councilmember-At-Large Jason Williams. "This ordinance builds upon and augments all the efforts of S&WB Director Gasaan Korbon and the administration to better manage the threat of water. The S&WB and the Department of Public Works cannot alone fix our problems. We cannot and will not stand by and do nothing while our City floods repeatedly. We need Public Works to clean catch basins, and we need S&WB to identify issues and repair our aging underground infrastructure."
Photo of a permeable paving parking lot courtesy of QualitySitework.com
Unclassified Positions Created within S&WB
The Council approved the creation of several new unclassified positions within the S&WB. Ordinance No. 32,744 amends the Unclassified Pay Plan for officers and employees in the unclassified service of the City to establish the following new S&WB positions: Chief Customer Service Officer (U-3020), Chief Financial Officer (U-3021), Chief Administrative Officer (U-3022) and Chief of Staff (U-3023).
Council Approves Cox Community Grant Program Recipients
The Council approved funding for City Council/Cox Communications Community Grant Program recipients per Council office. The program provides $140,000.00 in annual funding to assist organizations and support projects that focus on education, technology training and communications programs that benefit the youth of New Orleans.
To view the full list of proposed recipients, click here. For more information on the program or to apply for future consideration, click here.