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City Council Meeting News Summary August 23, 2018

August 23, 2018

At today's regular City Council meeting, the Council was addressed by representatives of the Mayor's Office and Sewerage and Water Board (S&WB) on recent issues and inefficiencies within the utility, adopted a resolution advising the S&WB to suspend water shutoffs, heard a presentation from the Food Pantry of New Orleans and Giving Hope on their work to provide meals for low-income families and seniors, and adopted a resolution to re-establish the Food Policy Advisory Committee. Additionally, the Council honored the life and legacy of Paul Beaulieu, and recognized Jesse Hernandez, the first-ever male member of the Saintsations dance team.

Council Hears from City Officials and Adopts Resolution to Address Issues Within S&WB

Following the absence of S&WB leadership at Monday's Public Works Committee meeting, the Council sent a formal request to the Mayor's Office and the S&WB for representatives to attend today's regular meeting and address issues and growing concerns related to the utility.

Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montano, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Ramsey Green, S&WB Interim Director and Retired Coast Guard Rear Admiral David Callahan, and S&WB Chief Financial Officer Yvette Downs attended the meeting and gave a presentation detailing recent leadership changes, current collections processes and procedures, collections data as of Aug. 21, measures to address backlog, the status of city drainage pumps, and more.

According to the presentation, there are currently 135,549 total S&WB accounts, 23,207 of which have been deemed delinquent, and 81 water shutoffs had been implemented (61 as of today's meeting). Of the 7,814 accounts in dispute as of June 22, the S&WB Strike Team has resolved 4,836 (2,978 remaining). On the status of the pumps, the presentation noted that 116 out of 120 pumps are fully operational with repairs underway for the remaining four.

"All we ask is that you pump the breaks until the permanent director has been installed and has had a chance to review what you all are presenting to us today," said Councilmember-At-Large Jason Williams. "Then, we hope you'll be able to come back here and say with a reasonable degree of certainty that those people having their water shutoff are being penalized relative to water they have actually used, and not inaccurate bills."

Following the presentation, the Council adopted a corresponding resolution directing the S&WB to suspend water shutoffs.

Representatives of the Administration and S&WB addressing the Council


Food Policy Advisory Committee Re-Established for Additional Year

The Council adopted a resolution to re-establish the Food Policy Advisory Committee to provide recommendations and advise the Council on healthy food and farming initiatives. The committee will represent diverse interests and include spokespersons from agriculture, public health, retail, and food distribution/food access as determined by the New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee Steering Committee.

The purpose of the committee is to address the critical need for increased access to healthy food in New Orleans. Recent research shows that communities with the least access to healthy, affordable food choices suffer the highest rates of health-related issues from poor nutrition. Poor nutrition, particularly among children, can lead to a host of physical, behavioral, and developmental risks that can affect their long-term health and opportunities for success.

The Food Policy Advisory Committee will be reassessed and reviewed annually to determine its productivity and value to the Council. In the meantime, the committee will be responsible for submitting informal quarterly reports that provide the Council with an understanding of its progress and meetings to date.


Council Honors Legendary Broadcaster Paul Beaulieu

As today's final special order of business, the Council welcomed Samantha Beaulieu to honor the life and legacy of her father, Paul Beaulieu, who recently passed away on July 24. Mr. Beaulieu was a fierce civil rights activist, ally and personal friend to members of the Council.

A graduate of St. Augustine High School, he went on to become an English teacher and founded a mentoring program to help students achieve their goals and prepare to go on and be successful adults. Throughout his long-standing media career, he wrote opinion columns and hosted several popular public affairs programs before going on to become an afternoon host and general manager of WBOK-AM. In all that he did, he strived to be a voice for the city's most vulnerable and provide opportunities to those who were oftentimes silenced by mainstream media.

Upon his retirement in 2015, he received a special proclamation from the Council to commend him for his long and successful career and positive impact in the community. Today, the Council remembered Mr. Beaulieu with kind words and personal recollections and vowed to remember his legacy by continuing his fight for justice in the City of New Orleans.

The Council with family and friends of Paul Beaulieu



Council Hears from City Officials and Adopts Resolution to Address Issues Within S&WB

Food Policy Advisory Committee Re-Established for Additional Year

Council Honors Legendary Broadcaster Paul Beaulieu

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