Residents and businesses who fail to pay their sanitation fees will have their water service shut off under a law passed Thursday by the City Council. The law was proposed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu as a way to boost collections and make up lost revenues from uncollected fees. Unpaid trash bills cost the city $8.5 million in 2011.
A newly-elected New Orleans city councilman, whose district includes the Lower 9th Ward, has withdrawn a package of ordinances that would have required tour buses to pay special fees to access the neighborhood.
Councilman James Gray, who took office last month, says he needs more time to research the issue introduced by his predecessor.
Currently, the city has an ordinance in place that bans tour buses from the Lower 9th Ward. It was passed after Hurricane Katrina to keep tour buses from impeding cleanup and recovery efforts when levees failed during the 2005 storm.
Officials with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration have made their pitch to City Council members about a possible funding source to address a problem the city has struggled with since Hurricane Katrina: broken street lights.
The source would be an increased franchise fee charged to Entergy New Orleans — a fee that would be passed on to customers.
The New Orleans City Council has appointed attorney Ernest "Freddie" Charbonnet as the interim replacement for the District E seat vacated last week when Jon Johnson abruptly resigned after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges.
Charbonnet is a former assistant city attorney now in private practice. The Times-Picayune reports that he received votes from the council's four white members Thursday. Its two black members voted against the appointment.
A New Orleans city councilman pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal criminal charge of misusing federal money intended to help a nonprofit organization after Hurricane Katrina and diverting some of it to one of his political campaigns.
Jon Johnson, who is 63, faces up to 5 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. District Judge Lance Africk set sentencing for Oct. 25.
Johnson said he will resign from his seat on the council.