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NEW ORLEANS - At today's regular meeting, the City Council adopted a resolution calling a special election relative to funding for infrastructure projects, established regulations for the operation of nursing homes, authorized an honorary street dedication for Father Joseph Pham Van Tue, confirmed polling place relocations, approved efforts to reallocate certain funds to the Sewerage and Water Board (S&WB), and received a presentation from Greenlight New Orleans on its Rain Barrel Program.
Council Adopts Resolution Proposing Bond Sales for Infrastructure Maintenance
The Council received a presentation from the Cantrell Administration and adopted a corresponding resolution calling for a special election to authorize the Council to incur debt through the issuance of bonds for infrastructure projects. Resolution R-19-285 proposes a new ballot initiative, that if passed by voters, would allow the City to sell approximately $500M in General Obligation (GO) bonds over the next three to four years. The $500M from GO bond sales would be used to fund long-term capital projects and allow the City to ensure projects are fully funded and completed on time. The City is also proposing bond categories instead of specific projects to allow flexibility in how bond funds are spent.
In that same presentation, the Cantrell Administration also asked for the Council's approval of a resolution calling for a special election that would authorize the Council to assess a property tax of up to three mills to fund multiple types of infrastructure-related projects. The Council ultimately deferred action on Resolution R-19-286, which if passed by voters, would levy 3 mills ($10.2M) to maintain capital projects. Since 2005, the City has spent $1.5B in new infrastructure, all without a dedicated long-term maintenance fund. If approved, this revenue would be dedicated over the years to the maintenance and repair of existing roads, streets, bridges, drainage systems, and facilities. The Council plans to consider this matter at its next regular meeting on August 8.
New Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Nursing Homes
The Council received a presentation from representatives of the New Orleans Health Department and the Office of Emergency Preparedness and approved a corresponding ordinance establishing regulations for the operation of nursing homes. Nursing homes in Orleans Parish will now be required to obtain an operating license to ensure they meet new emergency preparedness guidelines such as having a backup generator capable of maintaining temperature for 96 hours. The ordinance also requires nursing homes to submit emergency plans and provide daily updates during times of emergency.
Per today's presentation, there are 16 nursing homes with more than 2000 residents in New Orleans and research shows that the evacuation of nursing homes during a disaster increases the probability of death from 2.7% to 5.3%. The approved requirements were developed in response to recent tragedies where nursing homes were not equipped to shelter-in-place during weather-related disasters. Such was the case in 2017 when a nursing home in Florida lost power to its air conditioning for three days during Hurricane Irma, resulting in the deaths of 14 residents. Ordinance 32,704 addresses these emergency preparedness concerns and ensures compliance with pre-existing regulations to ensure the safety and well-being of both residents and employees in these care facilities.
Laura Mellem, Collin Arnold and Sarah Babcock presenting to the Council
Council Confirms Polling Place Relocations
The Council established polling place relocations effective August 1, 2019, prior to the opening of qualifying for the election on October 12. To view the full list of relocations, click here.
Honorary Street Dedication Approved
The Council created the honorary street dedication program to enable the City to commemorate individuals who have made significant contributions to their communities and society as a whole. Today, Councilmembers passed the first such designation authorizing the placement of honorary street dedication signage for Father Joseph Pham Van Tue. Father Pham Van Tue was a pillar of the New Orleans Vietnamese Community, helping thousands of Vietnam War refugees transition to life in Southern Louisiana prior to his passing in April 2013.
Honorary street designations do not re-designate the official name of the street, or change the maps of the City, but rather supplement the official name along a stretch - up to three blocks - of a street. Father Pham Van Tue's street dedication will include the entire cul-de-sac of Kathy Court located off of Fields Street.
Members of the Council with family and friends of Father Joseph Pham Van Tue
Ordinance Reallocating Funding to S&WB Passes
The Council approved an ordinance amending an existing Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) for the transfer of certain funds to the S&WB. Ordinance 32,714 amends the CEA between the Mayor, the City of New Orleans and the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority. The amendment will decrease the Authority's financial obligations relative to the Convention Center Boulevard project by $6M, so those funds may be used by the S&WB.