May 07, 2020 10:00 AM
City Council Chamber
The New Orleans City Council will conduct its next regular meeting via teleconference only on May 7, 2020 at 10:00 AM.
The meeting may be accessed using the following methods:
Live Stream of Meeting: https://council.nola.gov/home/
Live Television Broadcast: Cox Cable Channel 6 in Orleans Parish
During this teleconference meeting, matters will be considered in the attached agenda.
Because of the unprecedented logistical and public health challenges presented by COVID-19, public comment will proceed as follows:
- Only written public comment will be allowed. Live comment will not be permitted.
- At the beginning of the meeting, the moderator will read aloud the entire council agenda. Thereafter, the meeting will recess for 30 minutes so that members of the public may provide written public comment on any agenda item.
- Public comments are submitted electronically on this form, which is available at https://https://council.nola.gov/.
- Public comments are now being accepted and will be accepted until the end of the 30-minute comment submittal period. Public comment received after the close of the 30-minute comment submittal period will not be considered.
- Each submission must contain (i) the commenter’s first and last name, (ii) the commenter’s address, (iii) whether the commenter is being paid in connection with his or her comments, and (iv) the agenda item to which the comment pertains. Any comment missing this information will not be read aloud.
- No member of the public may submit more than one written comment per agenda item.
- Before the Council votes on an agenda item, a moderator will read into the record all comments pertaining to that item that have been submitted in accordance with these rules.
- Comments will be read aloud in a normal speaking voice. The moderator will discontinue reading a comment once it exceeds two minutes.
- Any person seeking accommodation as a result of a disability or other circumstance should contact Council Chief of Staff David Gavlinski at email@example.com.
This meeting is being conducted remotely due to the extraordinary circumstances imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to the authority conferred by Gubernatorial Proclamation JBE 2020-30.
In accordance with JBE 2020-30, Sec. 4, this notice shall constitute a certification by the City Council that meeting by teleconference is necessary because of the social distancing mandates imposed by the Governor and the Mayor of the City of New Orleans and that the Council will be otherwise be unable to operate due to the quorum requirements of La. R.S. 42:19 – insofar as they mandate the physical presence of Councilmembers in one location.
View Agenda (PDF)
View Agenda (MS Word)
View completed agenda
Submit Public Comment
View agenda with attachments
This notice and the accompanying agenda are being provided in accordance with La. R.S. 42:19(A)(1)(b)(iv).
NEW ORLEANS - During today's virtual meeting, the Council transitioned the roles of its presidency, adopted resolutions to halt residential evictions and development plans during COVID-19, established a new dedicated fund to address issues that adversely affect low-income individuals, urged Congressional support for universal and comprehensive health care coverage and amended the 2020 Holiday Schedule.
President Jason Williams and key Council staff alone in the chambers during today's virtual meeting
Councilmembers Moreno & Williams Transition Presidency Roles
As its first order of business, the Council passed Motion M-20-108 transitioning the roles of its presidency with Councilmember-At-Large Jason Williams serving as President and Councilmember-At-Large Helena Moreno as Vice President for one year (May 7, 2020, to May 7, 2021).
"It has already been a year since I took on the presidency and what a year it has been. We've had the cyberattack, the Hard Rock collapse, Mardi Gras accidents, and now, the COVID-19 pandemic. I don't think anyone of us could have ever predicted 2020, but through these challenges, the Council never wavered in its commitment to serve the public and continuously worked to advance the business of the City. As I turn the presidency back over to Councilmember Williams, I know we will remain dedicated to continuing to address some of the most pressing issues, those that are difficult and often overlooked. It has been a great honor to take on the duties of the presidency and work alongside all of you," said Councilmember Moreno.
"This is hopefully, the closest thing any of us will ever get to experiencing a world war, and when you're in a war, you want to make sure the folks that are on your team are equipped to fight that war," said Councilmember Williams. "I can honestly say that there is no other group of people I'd rather be fighting alongside. The district councilmembers have been absolutely amazing, diligent, dedicated and creative in their work during COVID-19, especially for those marginalized populations within our community. This group has gone to work, and a lot of that work is not always seen in the headlines, but I see it, I appreciate it and the people of New Orleans see it too."
Councilmember Moreno virtually turning the gavel back over Councilmember Williams, concluding her one-year term as Council President
Council Encourages Suspension of Residential Evictions During Pandemic
The Council adopted Resolution R-20-110 by District "D" Councilmember Jared Brossett urging New Orleans First and Second City Court officials to suspend residential evictions until August 24, 2020, the deadline established in the federal CARES Act. The many changes in deadlines and suspensions for the possible re-opening of courts to residential evictions have created incredible uncertainty for renters and landlords.
The CARES Act prohibits many landlords from charging late fees, issuing a notice to vacate, or filing for eviction until July 25. Since landlords must provide tenants with a notice to vacate before filing for eviction, and the CARES Act requires the notice to vacate provide at least 30 days, the earliest an eviction proceeding can be filed in accordance with the Act is be August 24.
The CARES Act protections will be incredibly difficult to enforce and educate the public about without ensuring protections are universal. Per the resolution, a policy that extends the closure of courts to residential evictions will also help to avoid the confusion and additional paperwork sure to ensue from opening courts to full dockets of cases mostly comprised of landlords prohibited from evicting under the CARES Act.
"Housing insecurity has long been a problem in New Orleans and will only get worse as a result of COVID-19. We need to protect working families and vulnerable populations such as domestic violence victims from eviction during this time. To protect public health, we must decrease housing insecurity. Everyone deserves a safe and secure place to shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Councilmember Brossett. "However, I also understand and am sympathetic to the plight of landlords. I want to help them too. That's why the resolution is also pushing for the state and congressional delegations to provide relief and tax rebates for landlords and mortgage holders who are also struggling. I believe there needs to be more federal legislation that addresses this problem and, therefore, asking for a holistic approach to providing relief."
Simon V. Sickles Legacy Fund Established to Support Low-Income Residents
The Council passed Ordinance 32,936 by Councilmember Moreno, creating the "Simon V. Sickles Legacy Fund" for the provision of medicines, vaccines, and medical supplies to address health threats, emergencies, or disasters that affect low-income individuals. Per the 1856 request of Simon V. Sickles, this funding will enhance the critical work of the New Orleans Health Department to provide free or low-cost medications, acute medical treatment and advice to homeless populations across the city.
The new dedicated fund will be administered by the Director of the Department of Finance, who will be responsible for making annual reports to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and the Council.
Convention Center Tax Surplus Resolution Passes
The Council adopted Resolution R-20-111 by District "C" Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer and District "B" Councilmember Jay H. Banks supporting the Ernest N. Morial Exhibition Hall Authority's decision to pause development of its proposed hotel, entertainment district and capital improvement plan during the COVID-19 pandemic. The resolution urges the Ernest N. Morial Exhibition Hall Authority, which serves as the governing board of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, to consider utilizing its surplus taxpayer reserve fund to support the City's hospitality and tourism industry.
Before agreeing not to move forward with development, the Authority had approved proposed plans totaling $1.2 billion and identified a development team for a $675 million hotel.
"Under these extreme uncertainties during COVID-19, now is not the time to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on costly developments. I am relieved to see that the Authority agreed to press pause on the Convention Center's proposed plans, but they should not stop there. I urge them to invest more funds in providing financial assistance to our hospitality and tourism workers whose income has been severely impacted by this crisis, and participate in a larger strategic planning process that defines their roles in an overall sustainable tourism plan that allows all residents to benefit from our tourism economy equitably," said Councilmember Palmer.
The resolution also urges the Authority to:
Continue to retain its 500 employees at full salary and benefits who cannot work due to the continued State and City Stay At Home orders;
Invest its substantial, taxpayer generated reserve funds to continue to pay its employees (full-time, contract and temporary) through the health crisis;
Participate in citywide efforts to create a sustainable tourism plan for New Orleans, so that workers, their families, and the greater community stand to benefit equitably from the City's hospitality and tourism economy; and
Request that Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards appoint to the Authority at least one commissioner who represents the Convention Center workforce, to ensure that workers' concerns are central to the Authority's decision making.
Photo of construction taking place on Convention Center Boulevard courtesy of The Lens
Council Advocates for Universal Health Care and Vital COVID-19 Sanitation Measures for Local Businesses
The Council adopted two resolutions introduced by Councilmember Williams relative to the COVID-19 crisis in New Orleans. The first resolution (R-20-125) urges Congressional support for universal, comprehensive health care coverage throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
"The United States is the only large wealthy nation in the world without universal health care. This pandemic painfully highlights the health care disparities that have existed for years and has put a spotlight on the systemic inequalities at the root of our health care system, which treats good health as a privilege. After the past several weeks, I think it is abundantly clear that the lack of healthcare and health of your fellow citizens has a direct impact on your health, physical and fiscal, regardless of their income bracket. Our most vulnerable citizens pre-COVID need our support now more than ever, and if we don't do something about it, they will be even more vulnerable post-pandemic. We can and must do better; it's in our collective best interests," said Councilmember Williams.
In a separate resolution (R-20-124
), the Council advises all offices and businesses that are accessible to the public to sanitize high touch hard surfaces at regular intervals throughout the day, maintain "sanitation stations" for hand cleaning at entrances and exits, and impose measures such as one-way foot traffic decals to prevent individuals from passing one another at close distances.
Election Day Recognized as Official City Holiday
The Council approved Motion M-20-95 amending the Holiday schedule for City Government for the year 2020. The revised schedule establishes Election Day on Tuesday, November 3, and December 31, as an official City holiday in New Orleans.