Council vows to keep closer eye on Algiers Development District

New Orleans City Council members said Thursday they will more closely monitor the spending of the Algiers Economic Development District, which benefits from about $1.5 million annually in financial support from the city. The remarks came during a joint meeting of the council’s Budget, Audit and Board of Review committees.

Johnson and Hedge-Morrell continue City Council stalemate

Continuing a legislative stalemate, two members were absent from a specially called New Orleans City Council meeting Wednesday morning, preventing  the four members present from conducting council business. Those present are concerned that city business, from the mundane to the important, will continue to be stalled if Council members Jon Johnson and Cynthia Hedge-Morrell don’t show up at tomorrow’s regularly scheduled meeting.

Despite previous grumbling, council meeting verges on love-fest in passing budget

By Ariella Cohen, The Lens staff writer |

In a city confronting an ever-rising homicide count and profound infrastructural and economic challenges, one place remains relatively calm: City Hall. With a noticeable absence of strife or dissent, the City Council voted today to unanimously approve a  $497 million general operating budget for 2012 that looks remarkably similar in substance and detail to the budget proposed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu in October.

New Orleans will soon boast bigger libraries — which will soon need bigger budgets

By Ariella Cohen, The Lens staff writer |

New Orleans taxpayers are likely to be asked to pay more money to run city libraries, officials with that system told the City Council today. The need for more operating funds is due in large part to a post-Katrina rebuilding of the system that one-time disaster grants paid for, which the city will be responsible for maintaining, New Orleans Public Library officials said.

Council OK's St. Charles Avenue demolition

By Karen Gadbois, The Lens staff writer |

A substantial group of Uptown property owners attended today’s City Council meeting to address a proposal to tear down an 80-year-old house on St. Charles Avenue.

With 20 percent ignoring costs, council pushes city to collect delinquent trash fees

By Matt Davis, The Lens staff writer |

Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s top lieutenant faced pressure from the City Council Monday after stepping in to defend one of his department heads for only collecting 80 percent of the city’s trash fees. Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin stepped in to protect Chief Financial Officer Norman Foster after Councilwoman Stacy Head and Council President Jackie Clarkson barraged Foster with questions about the poor rate of collection, which has fallen by about 5 percent this year after the City Council doubled the fees in January, at Landrieu’s urging.