October 21, 2021 10:00 AM
City Council Chamber
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NEW ORLEANS - During today’s regular meeting, the New Orleans City Council awarded funds to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, raised annual salaries of four top-level NOPD positions, established a requirement of emergency preparedness and evacuation plans for residential care facilities, and more.
Council Approves Funds for Emergency Rental Assistance Program
The council passed Ordinance 33,487 and Ordinance 33,488, which appropriate the remaining funds from the United States Department of the Treasury (Project/Grant #58301) to the Office of Community Development to fund the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The program helps keep New Orleans residents in their homes and provides support to those who qualify for rental assistance.
“We’re moving this money to a very needed program,” District “B” Councilmember Jay H. Banks said. “This will help our citizens who are struggling financially following Hurricane Ida and the ongoing public health crisis.
Council Utilizes Funds from Harrah’s & Cox Community Grant Programs to Support Economic Development in New Orleans
The Council passed Resolution R-21-383 and Resolution R 21-390 approving the City Council/Harrah’s and the City Council/Cox Communications Louisiana Community Support Grants Programs.
The City Council/Harrah's Community Support Grants Program, created in 2006, was designed to foster an array of meritorious organizations and projects by providing broader-based support to local groups and projects that contribute to the overall well-being, development, and growth of the New Orleans community. The ordinance awards $225,000 to grant recipients selected by the Council, subject to the organization’s eligibility, with each Councilmember distributing $32,142.
The City Council/Cox Communications Louisiana’s Community Grant Program was established in 2011 to provide financial support to local organizations and projects that contribute to education, technology training, communications, and similar programs benefiting the youth of the City of New Orleans. The ordinance awards $140,000 to grant recipients selected by the Council, subject to the organization’s continued eligibility pursuant to the guidelines, with each Councilmember distributing $20,000 within their district. Approved 501(c)(3) non-profits receive at least $1,000 in funding.
Council Approves Funding for SWBNO Capital Sewerage Projects
The Council passed Resolution R-21-384, which approves the Seventh Supplemental Sewerage Service Revenue Bond Resolution in connection with the Two Hundred and Seventy-Five Million Dollar ($275,000,000) Sewerage Service Revenue Bond (WIFIA Projects).
The Council is required by statute to give two approvals to any borrowing or bonds to be issued by the Sewerage and Water Board. The City Council initially approved the WIFIA Loan on July 1, 2021. This vote marks the second - and final - vote from the Council.
"This vote represents a major step in how SWBNO will use funding for its capital sewerage projects," District "A" Councilmember Joe Giarrusso said. "Mayor Cantrell and SWBNO worked to secure this important funding opportunity, and I am pleased the Council could do its part to fund these important projects."
Council Establishes Requirement of Emergency Preparedness and Evacuation Plans for Residential Care Facilities
The Council passed Resolution R-21-388, which ratifies and approves the requirement of updated and consistent regulations relating to Residential Care Facilities’ emergency preparedness systems to ensure no residents are left behind or subject to harm in the event of a major storm.
Hurricane Ida further demonstrated the need for reliable staffing and emergency planning at residential care or independent living facilities, as many residents were left behind, unaccounted for or even stuck in multistory buildings without working elevators.
"Immediately after Hurricane Ida, I saw firsthand the negligence of our City's most vulnerable - seniors and those with disabilities - when checking in on all the senior centers and independent living apartments in my district," District “C” Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer said. "Many of the tenants were physically or financially unable to evacuate, and the owners and operators of the properties left them in inhumane conditions to fend for themselves. I'd like to thank my fellow councilmembers and the City's Health Department for their collaboration on this legislation that helps establish a clear line of communication ahead of the next disaster and ensure this never happens again."
During hurricanes or natural disasters when declared emergencies or evacuations are issued, vulnerable populations need special attention and care. As storms continue to arrive more quickly and with less warning, these regulations will ensure that care. The resolution also provides support from the Health Department to facility owners and property managers as they establish their emergency plans.
“The seniors in District E are appreciative that we’re taking the steps to protect their safety, and I was so moved by their kind words,” District “E” Councilmember Cyndi Nguyen said. “From the L9 to the East, they feel like they matter to the City of New Orleans.”
“These requirements are basic, but they will provide critical safeguards,” Council President Helena Moreno stated. “I want to recognize the collaboration of the owners and managers of our residential care and independent living facilities and thank them for their support. At the end of the day, these basic requirements will save lives.”
Councilmember Palmer listens to public comment during today's regular meeting.
Council Raises Annual Salaries of Four NOPD Positions
The Council passed Motion M-21-389, which approves amendments to the Classified Pay Plan relative to the positions of Police Captain, Police Major, Crime Laboratory Director and Police Human Resource Administrator. The motion raises the salaries of these top-level NOPD positions, which were adopted by the Civil Service Commission on September 29, 2021.
The City has suffered from low officer retention rates for years. NOPD is about 500 officers short of its goal of 1600, which means longer hours and patrols. Salary raises will help make these jobs more competitive and increase retention rates. In addition, the motion will help attract a director to lead the City’s new crime lab.