2015 Capital Budget Requests

Update 6/20/14: The Schedule has been revised again. See below for the updated hearing schedule.

Update 6/20/14: The NORD Commission’s Capital Budget request is now available on CPC’s website, so the it is included below and the map will be updated to show the locations of those projects.

Various City Departments have requested Capital Funding from the City to build various projects around town. This map below shows the locations of these proposed projects. Click on the pin for more information about the projects. Below the map is the schedule of all the Capital Budget Hearings with a link to the Department’s request where you can find even more information about the Project.

 

 

 

From the City Planning Commission:

 

“All hearings will be held in Conference Room A of the One Stop Shop (OSS) in New Orleans City Hall, at 1300 Perdido Street, Room 7W03, New Orleans, Louisiana, on the following dates and times:
Date and Time                    Department/Agency

Monday, June 23
1:00pm-2:30pm                City Park Improvement Association

3:00pm-4:30pm           Chief Administrative Office, Equipment Maintenance Division

5:00pm-6:30pm              New Orleans Aviation Board

Wednesday, June 25
10:30am-12:00pm         Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness/Municipal Training Academy AND Emergency Medical Services (Department of Health)

1:00-2:30pm                     Municipal Yacht Harbor Management Corporation

3:00-4:30pm                     New Orleans Public Library

Thursday, June 26

1:30pm-3:00pm              Orleans Parish Juvenile Court

Friday, June 27
11:00am-12:30pm            Department of Finance

2:00-3:30pm                     New Orleans Fire Department

3:30-5:00pm                     New Orleans Museum of Art

Monday, June 30
10:30am-12:00pm           Mayor’s Office

1:00pm-2:30pm               Audubon Commission

3:00pm-4:30pm              Department of Parks and Parkways

5:00pm-6:30pm              Reserved for continuation or rescheduling

Tuesday, July 1
11:30am-1:00pm             New Orleans Police Department

2:30-4:00pm                    Department of Property Management

5:00pm-6:30pm              Department of Public Works

Thursday, July 3
9:30am-11:00am             Department of Sanitation

12:30pm-2:00pm            Mosquito Control Board

2:30pm-4:00pm              Orleans Parish Criminal District Court

Monday, July 7
1:00pm-2:30pm            French Market Corporation/Upper Pontalba Building Restoration Corporation

5:00pm-6:30pm             New Orleans Recreation Development Commission

 

ALL INTERESTED PARTIES ARE ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND. PUBLIC QUESTIONS WILL BE ADDRESSED FOLLOWING THE STAFF DISCUSSION OF THE PROPOSALS.
June 20, June 25, and July 2, 2014
Robert Rivers, Executive Director

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Revised Capital Projects Hearing Schedule

Update 6/20: The NORD Commission Capital Budget request is now available on CPC’s website.

Update 6/18: The Capital Budget requests for each department are now available on CPC’s website.

 

The City Planning has revised the Capital Projects public hearing schedule (see below). You can also see the full schedule on the Nola Report Calender. The Capital Projects hearings start June 23 and go until July 7. The Capital Budget requests have been submitted to the City Planning Commission, and they should be available soon on their Capital Improvement Plan page or their Calender and Agendas page. Here is the press release for the City Planning Commission:

City Planning Commission Public Hearing Notice
Capital Improvement Plan 2015-2019
(REVISED JUNE 16, 2014)

The City Planning Commission, in accordance with Sections 3-117, 5-402, and 6-104 of the Home Rule Charter of the City of New Orleans, will hold public hearings to consider Capital Budget requests by the departments and agencies of the City for the 2015-2019 program years. All hearings will be held in Conference Room A of the One Stop Shop (OSS) in New Orleans City Hall, at 1300 Perdido Street, Room 7W03, New Orleans, Louisiana, on the following dates and times:
Date and Time                    Department/Agency

Monday, June 23
10:30am-12:00pm            French Market Corporation/Upper Pontalba Building Restoration Corporation

1:00pm-2:30pm                City Park Improvement Association

3:00pm-4:30pm              Orleans Parish Juvenile Court

5:00pm-6:30pm              New Orleans Aviation Board

Wednesday, June 25
10:30am-12:00pm         Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness/Municipal Training Academy AND Emergency Medical Services (Department of Health)

1:00-2:30pm                     Municipal Yacht Harbor Management Corporation

3:00-4:30pm                     New Orleans Public Library

Friday, June 27
11:00am-12:30pm            Department of Finance

2:00-3:30pm                     New Orleans Fire Department

3:30-5:00pm                     New Orleans Museum of Art

Monday, June 30
10:30am-12:00pm           Mayor’s Office

1:00pm-2:30pm               Audubon Commission

3:00pm-4:30pm              Department of Parks and Parkways

5:00pm-6:30pm              Reserved for continuation or rescheduling

Tuesday, July 1
11:30am-1:00pm             New Orleans Police Department

2:30-4:00pm                    Department of Property Management

5:00pm-6:30pm              Department of Public Works

Thursday, July 3
9:30am-11:00am             Department of Sanitation

12:30pm-2:00pm            Mosquito Control Board

2:30pm-4:00pm              Orleans Parish Criminal District Court

Monday, July 7
11:00am-12:30pm           Chief Administrative Office, Equipment Maintenance Division

5:00pm-6:30pm             New Orleans Recreation Development Commission

 

ALL INTERESTED PARTIES ARE ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND. PUBLIC QUESTIONS WILL BE ADDRESSED FOLLOWING THE STAFF DISCUSSION OF THE PROPOSALS.
June 20, June 25, and July 2, 2014
Robert Rivers, Executive Director

Capital Budget Preview! Insights from Last Year’s Budget Requests

Capital Budget

Rainy day at Joseph Bartholomew Golf Course

Last week, the City Planning Commission announced the public hearing schedule for the Capital Budget, which kicks off in less than three weeks. It will be at least one more week until we know the projects each department is requesting (check out CPC’s website for that information sometime on and after June 13). Here are some key departments to look out based on what we learned from last year. These departments are listed in the order that they are currently scheduled to appear.

New Orleans Aviation Board – Monday, June 23 – 5 to 6:30pm

Last year, the City’s 5 year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) totaled over $1 billion. Of that, over $706 million was dedicated for the Louis Armstrong Airport, mostly for a new terminal (see their budget request at this link), by far the largest chunk of the CIP. The New Orleans Aviation Board (NOAB) raises its own funds, and due to FAA requirements, the NOAB must reinvest these funds into the Airport (so this money cannot be used to fix roads or other Capital Projects).

The new airport will be a big economic boom for the region; however, there are a number of critiques of this proposal. First, the NOAB just spent hundreds of millions of dollars to renovate portions of the Airport in time for last year’s Superbowl. Now this newly renovated terminal will be used only for private flights. I am not sure where NOAB gets its money, but I am guessing it is from take-off and landing fees. These fees must be too much if the NOAB can afford a major renovation and new airport in a matter of years. The TP recently reported on a number of lower-income and non-white residents who will likely be displaced by the new terminal. Anyway, the new terminal is moving forward, and it is guaranteed to be including in NOAB Capital Budget request.

Office of Homeland Security – Wednesday, June 25 – 10:30am to 12pm

Every year the Office of Homeland Security requests funding for a joint municipal training academy for public safety employees. Every year, this capital budget request is rejected. I have heard that this is a dream project for Col. Sneed that will never get funded. Last year’s $35 million request was rejected. I am not sure how much it will be this year’s request, but I am fairly confident that the joint municipal training academy will be back.

Department of Parks and Parkways – Monday, June 30 – 3 to 4:30pm

Park projects are always of interest to neighborhoods. Because New Orleans is New Orleans, park projects come under Parks and Parkway, NORDC, City Park, Audubon, Levee Board, and a number of organizations. If you are interested in your neighborhood park, it is important to understand which authority is responsible for the park (Here is a complete list of park jurisdictions). In last year’s request, Parks and Parkways sought funding for the following park projects: Joe Bartholomew Golf Course, Parks and Parkways’ Greenhouse and Equipment Shed, Washington Square Park, Brechtel Park, Congo Fountain, and for citywide park improvements.

Department of Property Management – Tuesday, July 1 – 2:30 to 4pm

In the biggest surprise from last year, the Department of Property Management requested $300 million for a new Civic Center at Charity Hospital (City Hall and Civil District Court). The interesting part is that in their initial request, Property Management made no mention of the Civic Center. It was not until their hearing that they informed City Planning about the Civic Center and had to submit a revised request. The New Orleans Citizen Participation Project has a complete account of Property Management’s under the radar Civic Center request.

Last year, the Civic Center request was approved, but there was only a small portion of the necessary funding allocated for the project ($13 million that the City got from the State). This year, I do not think that the City got any money from the State (it was not listed in Mayor’s press release recapping the legislative session), so that leaves an $87 million hole in the Civic Center’s budget (the City was counting on $100 million total from the State). I have also heard that the estimated cost of the project is now much higher than the $300 million estimate from last year. So it will be interesting to see if the Department of Property Management will continue to pursue the Civic Center at Charity Hospital idea, will look at other locations for City Hall, consider renovating the current building, or completely drop the idea. We will have to wait until their budget request is submitted on June 13 to find out.

Department of Public Work – Tuesday, July 1 – 5 to 6:30pm

Because of the interest in road projects, DPW is likely the most important to New Orleanians of all of the departments when it comes to the Capital Budget. Last year DPW requested almost $138 million for road projects; however the budget request does not provide much information on the specific projects, just the category of projects (major street, minor street, arterials, roadway enhancements, and the Recovery Road program).

One interesting thing to find out will be if the City has money to do future road projects. The City is currently working with FEMA to get more money to repair roads damaged during Katrina through the Recovery Road Program. However, that is the only source of road money identified beyond this year. According to last year’s budget request, there will be no more bond money for road (or any other) projects after 2014.

New Orleans Recreation Development Commission – Monday, July 7 – 5 to 6:30pm

Even more so than Parks and Parkways, parks and playgrounds are under the purview of NORDC (park jurisdiction list). Last year NORDC requested funding for 23 different projects, by far the most of any department. NORDC requested funding for the follow locations: Paris Avenue/I-610 skate park, Digby Playground, AL Davis Playground, McDonough Playground, Kerry Curley Playground, Pradat Pool & Playground, George Craver Playground, Gatto Playspot, Conrad Playground, Annunication Center, city wide playground equipment replacement, Donsereaux/Harrison Playground, Samuel Square, West Bank Indoor Pool, Bunny Friend, Skelly Rupp Baseball Diamond, Taylor Playground, city wide dog parks, and Joe W Brown Park. I expect this year’s request to include a number of projects and NORDC CEO Vic Richards put the NORD Commissioners on notice about Capital Budget request deadline at yesterday’s meeting.

Summary

Please note that the meetings listed above are not the only Capital Budget hearings, just the ones that will interest most people. You can find the complete schedule at this link. So far we do not have any information about budget requests. All of the information that has been discussed so far is from last year, and hopefully will provide some insights on what to expect this year. The budget requests are due on June 13, and are expected to be posted on CPC’s website (check the Capital Improvement Plan and the Calendar pages) shortly after. After the budget requests are made public, I will put up another post on what it all means, so please stay tuned to nolareport.com for more information.

City Ends 2013 with $8.3 Million Budget Surplus

Update 4:15pm: The article has been revised to have the correct surplus amount of $8.3 million.

At this morning’s City Council Budget Committee meeting, Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin announced some good news about the City’s budget. According to the City’s Revenue Estimating Conference, the City raised $19 million more in revenue last year than budgeted. This increase was mostly due an almost 10% increase in sales tax revenue in 2013 from 2012. With the better than expected collections, the City ended 2013 with an $8.3 million budget surplus, the first of the Landrieu administration.

While these numbers are not audited, Kopplin says that he has spoken to the auditor and is confident in the figures. Kopplin said that the better than expected sale tax revenues in 2013, could have ripple effects for this year’s budget as this will likely result in an increase in revenue projections for 2014. Kopplin was not prepared to revise the 2014 revenue projection, and said that the Revenue Estimating Conference would consider that at its next meeting in August.

The $8.3 million fund balance gives the city a budget cushion for the first time in years, meaning the City has a “rainy day” fund heading into hurricane season. Budget Committee Chairperson Stacy Head questioned Andy Kopplin about sources of all the budget savings to determine if any of these funds could be spent on repairing potholes and streetlights. Kopplin said that the City is being cautious on spending, because any increase in costs for the consent decrees or in the firefighter’s pension fund means that the City would need to go back to making cuts.

There was some good news when it comes to streetlights. At tomorrow’s City Council meeting, City Council is expected to pass a budget ordinance that would allocate $14.6 million to convert streetlights to LED lights. Also at tomorrow’s meeting, Council would introduce another ordinance (it will not be adopted for another two weeks) that would allocate $1.7 million for streetlight repairs, which would cover all repairs that could not be fixed by LED conversions. Kopplin said that this money will be used to fix all of the broken streetlights along St Charles Avenue, in New Orleans East, and across the City. If City Council adopts this ordinance in two weeks, Public Works would start work as soon as July.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting the Budget Committee heard a proposal from Civil Service to offer bonuses to NOPD employees who successful recruit new police officers. NOPD employees would receive $500 when a new recruit starts the police academy and $500 when he or she starts the police force. Councilmember Head used this as an opportunity to criticize some of the requirements for new police recruits saying that potential officers are being turned away by Civil Service because they use marijuana decades ago. “A history of longterm dependency is very different than trial usage in college or high school” Head said. The Budget Committee did not take action on this proposal, because they are waiting on an ethics opinion from the Attorney General’s Office.

 

Neighborhood Leaders Roundtable to Tackle the Budget on June 21

Update 6:40pm: According to some information will take place at provided at the NORDC meeting, this meeting Lakeview Christian Center, 5885 Fleur de Lis Drive.

From the Neighborhood Engagement Office:

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, June 21st | 9:00am – 11:00am

Please join the Mayor’s Neighborhood Engagement Office for the 2nd quarterly Neighborhood Leaders Roundtable on Saturday, June 21st, from 9:00a – 11:00am. Location details to follow.

The Roundtable provides an opportunity for neighborhood leaders to connect with government leaders, learn the latest information on City program and priorities, and develop relationships with other neighborhood leaders.

 

Featured presentations include: 
Breakdown of City Budget presented by Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin
Capital Improvement Plan Process presented by City Planning Commission

New Orleans Master Plan and the Force of Law Myth

Today, I was reading an article in The Advocate on the Louisiana Landmarks Society placing the New Orleans Master Plan on its 2014 New Orleans’ Nine Most Endangered list. It was not supposed to be the case that the Master Plan would be such a weak document. In 2008, New Orleans voters approved a City Charter Change that would require the City to adopt a Master Plan with the “force of law.” When City Council adopted the Master Plan in 2010, everyone hailed it as a great accomplish that will end planning by surprise in New Orleans. So, has this happened? Is the Master Plan in danger or endangering historic properties? What does it mean that the Master Plan has the force of law, has it done anything to end planning by surprise?

The Force of Law is portion of the Charter Change that is supposed to give the Master Plan some weight. Many plans sit on the shelf collecting dust because they do not have funds to implement them and they have no legal authority. The Force of Law gives the Master Plan the legal authority that it needs and decisions around zoning changes are supposed to be consistent with the Master Plan. But is this really happening?

Yes and No. City Council makes the final decision when it comes to zoning changes. Are their decisions are not always consistent with the Master Plan. City Council members often make decisions for political reasons without much regard for what the Master Plan says. City Council members will certainly cite the Master Plan when it supports their decision, but they have ignored the Master Plan when it is not consistent with what they want to do.

Here is one example of City Council ignoring the Master Plan. On October 4, 2012, City Council voted to change the zoning of a property at 4321 Paris Avenue for Neighborhood Business (B-1) to Single-Family Residential (RS-2). Councilmember Hedge-Morrell, responding to constituent concerns that a problem corner store may reopen, sought to rezone this property from business to single-family resident. The problem was that the Master Plan designated this area for neighborhood commercial, so rezoning the violated (or at least was inconsistent with) the Master Plan.

If the Master Plan has the force of law, then how could this happen? It is because so far there has not been anyone to hold City Council accountable for their votes. Given the doctrine of balance of power and divided branches of government, it is up to the judicial branch to hold the legislative branch accountable. This has not happened yet, because no one has brought a case to the courts to challenge a City Council decision based on the Master Plan. If the property owner of 4321 Paris Avenue sued the City for the loss in land value due to rezoning his property from commercial to residential that was inconsistent with the Master Plan, I would think that he would have an open and shut case against the City.

I am not encouraging people to sue the City, because ultimately it would cost all of us New Orleans tax payers. Something needs to be done to hold the City Council accountable for its decisions that violate the Master Plan, or City Council will continue to disregard the Master Plan’s force of law. So a lawsuit against the City might be the only option. The Louisiana Landmarks Society’s call that the Master Plan is endangering history properties and neighborhoods, seems like a sound argument to me. As long as City Council sees the Master Plan as a recommendation and not a legal requirement, we will never end planning by surprise and have the protection we need for our historic neighborhoods in New Orleans.

City Seeks Residents for Police Community Advisory Board

CITY AND NOPD ANNOUNCE SECOND OPEN ENROLLMENT
FOR POLICE COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD

NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, the City of New Orleans, New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), and the Police Community Advisory Board (PCAB) announces its second open enrollment for PCAB membership. Open enrollment officially began on Sunday, June 1, 2014 for PCAB Advisory Groups city-wide.

Police Community Advisory Board is the framework for a public participation plan with the NOPD to engage in a collaborative problem-solving process that supports both the community and the police desire to enhance public safety. PCABs have the responsibility to vet community ideas/suggestions, work with NOPD to understand operations processes and challenges and build consensus on priority items important to the community before submitting recommendations to NOPD for consideration. PCABs also have the responsibility of assisting NOPD in recruitment efforts.

The PCAB Advisory Group is a district-based participation structure that creates one advisory group per NOPD District (8 total). PCAB members serve a 24 month term. The advisory group does not have any decision making authority, but will meet quarterly to achieve the following goals:

  • Maintain a consistent partnership between the community and law enforcement;
  • Serve to help reduce crime and enhance the quality of life for all citizens;
  • Establish goals that can be accomplished through positive and open communications;
  • Assist law enforcement in helping to maintain police standard for accountability;
  • Create processes to help address issues of bias-based policing;
  • Improve interaction between police and citizens through education and training; and
  • Strengthen and ensure the application of equal protection under the law for all citizens.

Membership is open to all residents in the city of New Orleans who are eighteen years or older who may be interested in serving as a volunteer leader in their respective police district.  Applications for selection can be found online at www.nola.gov/neo/pcab or may be picked up at any NOPD Station. Completed applications may be submitted online or emailed to nawinbush@nola.gov or returned to any NOPD station by June 30, 2014.

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Source: Mayor’s Office Press Release