October 15, 2020 10:00 AM
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NEW ORLEANS - During today's regular meeting, the City Council adopted a resolution formally authorizing on-premises alcohol consumption at bars in New Orleans per Phase 3 reopening guidelines, voted to establish the City Cemetery and Maintenance Fund, passed an ordinance to require Council approval of certain demolitions within National Register Historic Districts, amended requirements for retirement within the Employees' Retirement System, and approved a motion maintaining the polling place relocations that were effective for previous 2020 elections.
Council Supports Phase 3 Reopening of Bar Establishments
The Council adopted Resolution R-20-356 to allow on-premises alcohol consumption at bars in New Orleans as provided in the City of New Orleans Health Department Guidelines for Phase 3 Reopening. Per Section 2B of Proclamation Number 117, which provides statewide reopening guidelines and criteria for bar establishments, the local governing authority must affirmatively opt-in to allow on-site alcohol consumption in bars within that parish.
In reviewing the latest COVID-19 data, which shows steady declines in New Orleans' rate of positive cases, the Council supports the City's decision to allow local bars to move forward with on-site alcohol consumption as long as they continue to adhere to the safety guidelines per the multi-stage Phase 3 reopening plan. As a city that relies heavily on its hospitality and tourism industries, New Orleans bar and restaurant owners have been hit the hardest by ongoing closures and cancellations due to the pandemic. This resolution represents a significant step forward in reopening the New Orleans economy and getting local businesses back on their feet.
Creation of City Cemetery and Maintenance Fund
The Council passed two ordinances (33,125 & 33,126), amending sections within the City Code relative to City-owned cemeteries to establish a City Cemetery and Maintenance Fund. This fund will ensure that all revenues received by the City for the use of any City-owned cemetery or cemetery services be used solely to operate, maintain, repair and/or improve these properties.
The Department of Finance Director will be responsible for keeping detailed records regarding the administration of the fund and making annual reports to the Chief Administrative Officer and the Council on its revenues and expenditures.
Photo of visitors touring Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 courtesy of NewOrleans.com
Updated Requirements for Demolitions Within Historic Districts
The Council approved Ordinance 33,131, which provides Council approval for demolitions of certain structures in National Register Historic Districts, as well as permitting fees, application requirements, review criteria and other mechanisms. As stated in the ordinance, this change within the City Code will help accomplish the following:
Attempt to preserve those buildings that have historical or architectural value or contribute to the overall character of the surrounding neighborhood;
Preserve and stabilize neighborhoods by protecting those structures that represent their unique history or contributions to the City of New Orleans; and
Promote redevelopment that contributes to the historic character of the neighborhood.
Any demolition requests for structures within Historic Districts not exempt by Section 26-6 (f) must be reviewed by the City Council at a public hearing. These applications may only be filed by the owner of the subject property, an authorized representative of the owner, or a governmental agency. Once an application has been submitted, the Department of Safety and Permits will review and share with the Clerk of Council for final review and consideration by the Council.
For more information on New Orleans Historic Districts, click here.
Additional Retirement Benefits for Longterm City Employees
Through its approval of Ordinance 33,145, the Council amended existing requirements for retirement under the Employees' Retirement System of the City of New Orleans to provide certain early and voluntary benefits.
City employees who meet the following criteria will now be eligible for early or voluntary retirement:
Retirement date is no sooner than Oct. 19, 2020, and no later than Dec. 31, 2020;
Separates from service no later than the designated retirement date and does not return to eligible part- of full-time employment;
Irrevocably waives participation in DROP;
Purchases creditable service by the conversion of all accumulated sick leave; and
Agrees to the waiver of certain claims in the form and at the time prescribed by the trustees.
Those City employees who elect early retirement must further satisfy the following conditions:
Have at least 15 years of creditable service at the time of retirement; and
Have accumulated at least 70 points as of the designated retirement date, determined as the sum of their attained age and creditable service to-date.
Those individuals who meet these criteria will receive a 1% increase in the amount of annual retirement allowance and a payment of $50 for each full year of employment (no less than $1,000) to be paid annually.
Previous Polling Relocations Effective for Upcoming Elections
The Council passed M-20-355 to maintain the polling place relocations for the July 11 and Aug. 15, 2020, elections for the upcoming presidential election on Nov. 3. See approved locations below and click here for additional voting information from the City of New Orleans.