NEW ORLEANS, LA— As the state legislative session closed earlier this week, the Landrieu administration applauded the Orleans delegation for a successful session. Mayor Landrieu traveled to Baton Rouge many Wednesdays during the legislative session to meet with area lawmakers and state leaders about the City’s priorities. City Council members and local board chairs also joined the effort.
"The City of New Orleans had a very successful session—one that provides new funding for our New Orleans East Hospital and a key drainage project," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "I would like to thank the entire Orleans delegation, especially our floor leaders Senator Ed Murray and Representative Walt Leger, whose leadership and hard work have delivered results for our residents and businesses."
Below is a summary of key legislative victories that were part of the City’s agenda.
EASTERN NEW ORLEANS HOSPITAL
The number one legislative priority for the City was to gain new capital outlay funding for the redevelopment on a full-service hospital in New Orleans East. Significant new funding was secured through the capital outlay process. Over $11 million was secured through the capital outlay process in House Bill 2, $4.13 million in priority 1 funding can be used this year. An additional $7 million in priority 5 funding will be added to $4 million in priority 5 funding from last year and will be available in future years. The City also passed HB 367 by Rep. Walt Leger which would allow the City to select a general contractor early in the design phase for the hospital, which allows coordination of all subcontractor bids and a pre-determined maximum price for construction, which should help control costs and speed up the process.
In a joint request with Jefferson Parish, the City was able to secure $2 million in priority 2 funding, which can be used as a line of credit. This is on top of the $1.8 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding secured last year, which will be leveraged to assist in widening the drainage culverts in the Monticello Canal to mitigate widespread neighborhood flooding in Carrollton and Uptown New Orleans. The Monticello Canal divides the Hollygrove neighborhood in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish.
CASINO SUPPORT SERVICES
House Bill 183 by Rep. Walt Leger establish a stable and sustainable method for the City to receive its legally obligated reimbursement from the State for the direct and indirect expenses it incurs to support Harrah’s Casino, including fire, police, EMS, and sanitation. House Bill 203 also by Leger removes the requirement that the City receive its funds in quarters. This legislation solves the problem, once and for all, so the City and State do not have to continue to haggle each year. This critical funding, up to $3.6 million annually, would come from the state revenue generated by Harrah’s Casino in gaming taxes. If signed into law by the Governor, this bill would provide an annual reimbursement to the City for the cost of providing services, without the need to seek annual appropriation from the legislature. Additionally, the delegation was able to secure $3.6 million for casino support services in House Bill 1 for the 2013 fiscal year, which starts in July 2012.
The City and delegation provided a new process for photo safety camera ticket appeals, placed the Crescent City Connection tolls on the ballot this fall for voters to decide whether they are extended, enhanced NORA’s ability to return adjudicated property back to commerce, and extended the authorization for Design-Build contracts for an additional year.
Senator Ed Murray said, "I am extremely pleased to have served as the Mayor's floor leader in the Senate. The bills passed this session will provide the City with important funding for the New Orleans East hospital and for services provided to the state."
Speaker Pro Tempore Walt Leger said, "I'm incredibly proud that our delegation was able to secure funding for important healthcare and flood protection projects in this difficult fiscal environment. Furthermore, we were able to pass a sustainable solution for casino support services."
Suchitra Satpathi, the City’s Director of State Government Affairs said, “We are proud that we were able to pass legislation and secure funding for much needed projects that will benefit the citizens of our city. The City's legislative agenda was designed to provide opportunities to enhance the quality of life for all of our residents.”