On this passed Saturday, The Black Owned Media Coalition (consisting of The New Orleans Tribune, The Louisiana Weekly, and Equity Media) hosted a comprehensive day of debates between candiates currently involved in runoff elections from the earlier primary results. Broadcasting over WBOK 1230AM and on each entities internet platforms, viewers and listeners alike were able to witness each debate as panelists asked the tough questions; challenging each candidate to clearly articulate their visions and plans. Starting at 9am with the Sheriff's runoff, followed by the runoff for Clerk of Court, and then rolling through the runoffs in Districts B, C, D, and E the forum gave equal opportunity to all campaigns. It shouldn't be missed that the debate took place on the last day of early voting. Election day, and the last day to vote, will be Saturday, December 11th. Please visit https://www.sos.la.gov/ElectionsAndVoting/Pages/OnlineVoterRegistration.aspx
for polling place information, hours, and directions.
Runoff Elections by seat/district:
Marlin Gusman (D)
Susan Hutson (D)
Jay Banks (D)
Lesli Harris (D)
Freddie King III (D)
Stephanie Bridges (D)
Troy Glover (D
Eugene Green (D)
Oliver Thomas (D)
Cyndi Nguyen (D)
Clerk Criminal District Court
Austin Badon (D)
Darren Lombard (D):
PW Prop. (Public Library) - 4 Mills - CC - 20 Years (Select 1)
To continue the expiring ad valorem tax dedicated to support the operations of the New Orleans Public Library System, which was authorized by voters on November 4, 1986 through December 31, 2021, shall the City of New Orleans (the "City") be authorized to levy a special tax not to exceed 4 mills ("Tax") on all taxable property within the City for a period of twenty years (beginning on January 1, 2022 and expiring on December 31, 2041 with an estimated collection totaling $17,498,020 for an entire year if the full amount of the Tax approved herein is levied by the City) for the purposes of constructing, improving, maintaining and operating the New Orleans Public Library System, including the purchase of equipment therefor, title to which shall remain in the public, provided that a portion of the monies collected shall be remitted to certain state and statewide retirement systems in the manner required by law?
Before his early resignation as director of the public library system in early November, Gabriel Morley sat before the City Council and told the dais that more than half of the library's $21 million budget relies upon this millage.
The millage would be a renewal that property owners have seen since 1986. The city is currently collecting 2.58 mills for the library, but the millage could rise to 4.00. The millage is proposed to grab over $11 million for the library system in 2022.
The money could help the department move the current Lower Ninth Ward Library to a new location. The Martin Luther King Jr. Library in that neighborhood currently shares a building with an elementary school.
Morley resigned two days after that discussion with the Council when WWL-TV inquired about his residence in the city, which is required for most city employees. Morley owns a home in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
However, Morley did lay out a plan for the libraries’ next 10 years, if passed, including expanding the libraries' early education programs and adult learning and workforce readiness programs.
The millage comes nearly a year after Mayor LaToya Cantrell authored a proposal to cut the library's funds by $7.5 million. The mayor's administration justified the cut by citing the library's large surplus budget, but the library responded by detailing a shift in funding after a 2015 millage created budget problems.
That 2020 proposal was voted down by Orleans Parish residents, with almost 57% of the vote.
Morley indicated that early polling showed positive results for the millage.
The Bureau of Governmental Research, a non-partisan policy group, supported this millage.
PW Prop. (Neighborhood Housing) - 0.91 Mills - CC - 20 Years
Shall the City of New Orleans, Louisiana ("City") be authorized to continue to levy a special tax of 0.91 mills on all property subject to taxation in the City ("Tax"), for a period of twenty years (beginning on January 1, 2022 and ending on December 31, 2041 with an estimated collection totaling $3,900,000 in the first year if the full amount of the Tax approved herein is levied by the City), to be deposited in, and used in accordance with the requirements of, the Neighborhood Housing Improvement Fund (City Code Sec. 70-415.1, et seq., as it may be amended from time to time) for the purpose of funding a comprehensive neighborhood housing improvement program and providing affordable housing in the City?
This millage renews a property tax that sends all proceeds into the city's Neighborhood Housing Improvement Fund, a utility fund serving multiple purposes.
The 0.91 mill, a 20-year tax, would extend what property owners are already paying.
Created in 1991 by New Orleans voters, NHIF's dollars help eliminate blight and improve housing around the city. NHIF has morphed over the years to help lower-income homeowners improve their homes to avoid code violations and help tenants facing eviction during the pandemic.
The city has also used the fund to incentivize private affordable housing developments and aid first-time home buyers.
The plan is praised by housing advocacy groups that aim for more affordable housing in the city. NHIF is currently funded by this millage and short-term rental fees.
The Bureau of Governmental Research did not support the renewal of this millage as the city did not list out precisely what they intend to do with the funds. The city responded by saying the fluidity of the funds can be helpful when most housing funds come with rigid codes.