WWL>Topics>>7-3-14 1:10pm Angela: with City Council President Stacy Head

7-3-14 1:10pm Angela: with City Council President Stacy Head

Jul 3, 2014|

Angela talks about cutting the fat in city government with City Council President Stacy Head.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

I'm very excited about this day for a bunch of reasons not the first one is the woman who's sitting across from me Stacy head is going to be with this whole hour we're going to be talking a lot. About the money we need to run the sitting in how many do we be able to get it. Our second program is going to be just fine in is going to be. If you haven't planned your fourth of July weekend stay with us because in -- and I -- gonna lay out all the fun things that are happening. And then the third -- very excited mark Mori will now head of the on National Urban League. And his wife Michelle Miller who was as you'll remember was a wonderful reporter channel four now with CBS are going to be joining us for the third hour. Talking about everything talking about their lives today and sort of what's going on in the world. But we begin with we have talked a lot on this program about the need for more money to run this city. Too expensive consent decrees retirement pension fund all have come home to roost. The mayor battled in Baton Rouge for new sources of income. Losing out on a couple of ideas but winning one which will be the opportunity to razed villages or police and fire. If we as citizens vote for the increase. But is that the only way to raise money. To get our streets fixed and lights on to hire more police and to -- during the consent decrees. Or is it more about how we budget the money we do have. So who better to ask the head of the Budget Committee and council president -- hit again she is our guest for the entire hour. Also take any of your ideas -- We're all open to that but I'm so thrilled we have tried to do this before and hurt your schedule is incredible I appreciate this time with you more than you know. Before we get into some of the tax issues which I cannot wait to hear about. The mayor. A very impassioned speech the other day following the horrific shootings -- Bergen street and very you know. Strongly -- we're gonna get help from the state. And a -- in the -- United States and we need more federal help -- -- everybody understands and and it's good to here. That were reaching out. That we do need. And do you think we're gonna get it I know we're gonna get the state troopers that are beginning at state federal -- well I certainly have. So I think that this is say on the mayor makes a convincing argument that their assets with the New Orleans that week. We need to have support for and frankly I Wear and its support for because they benefit the state and the country for example. The National Park Service should give it give us more assistants -- the French Quarter that is a national treasure it has. Certain distinctions in the federal law. That I believe the -- completely right gives the federal government an obligation to help us secure the French Quarter. We have state assets that bring the State's significant dollars in. The arena and the super and Andy's super them certainly additional assistance on a regular basis to secure this property. What it. Our obligations that the state frankly as and then finally when you look at the amount of money. New Orleans through its advance brings to the rest of the state. We certainly should get a higher proportion. Of assistants. When it comes to securing and protecting. New Orleans. When we have these events and that would allow us again to push more of our officers into the neighborhoods that -- and seeing a lot of increased tourism. Because at this at that. But let's just talk about what we're hearing now I think understanding more and more in the and the mayor says it correctly we give this 300 million dollar event and we get 500000 dollars. Right where did that go wrong. And it doesn't deals are made -- before this council the mayor. Got into office and I have to say one of that. The things that we did not succeed -- in Baton Rouge it was very disappointing was creating a special zone for any new development in the downtown area that would allow us as a city to get the lion's share of the hotel motel tax any revenues. Any -- sales tax revenues come from that area. Out we had huge event again and that they increase to our general fund budget. May be something its smallest 500000 dollars nevertheless we've got to do so our streets who got to use our sidewalks we have our police we have our fire. We have odd that -- sanitation pick up we have all day Spain's. And it makes it -- difficult sometimes to explain to the public why we don't see. We're not seeing a greater return on investment as certainly our businesses do well which is the reason. Brinkley and the reason that that the cost benefit analysis does work out. To have these events but we're not seeing what I believe is a fair share of at the money for stable this weekend and in essence with all of the people we have apparently -- hotels have been sold out for quite a long time. I can't imagine we'll see more than a few 100000 dollars. In the revenue directly to the city for the hotel motel and -- sales tax -- the pregnancy because of all the commerce going on and city. This weekend. Do we have to pay for the fire police and cleanup out of that 500000 dollars that we make -- appropriate probably pay more than that so we're really lose. Well again you have to look at the other benefits of having people in New Orleans week. Our businesses -- details exactly their employees and make more money they're able to act add additional hours an -- Again contribute back to the city of New Orleans because they miss it and live here pay property taxes etc. and yes who owns the morial convention center. That's another state asset -- the state owns it all the money it makes. It just takes it doesn't. Give us any thing or you know I don't know if we have a share in -- certainly I suspect is like all of the other state assets. We end up. Not getting as much as it were renegotiating the deals right now we will -- if you look at that the casino. We have a local support obligation -- every single year is difficult to get its. I think the last two years we got to between three and four million dollars and I have to commend the efforts of our state legislate tours and are lobbying groups because they were able to get that police and fire offset payment but it's certainly. The state does better on adherence -- the city's New Orleans directly does as far as that that you know the dollars -- go into the state coffers of the city coffers. I just think it's interesting because we are looking for different ways to to make money. And to keep -- to fix those streets and get those lights done. And yet it just -- were so close. Almost with an arm's reach it here if they would give us another penny to I was fantasizing last night when I was working on this thinking you know if New Orleans seceded. -- for Louisiana. But with the state -- and we provide a lot I have to say that was one of the keeping fit Ray Nagin said that I thought would top the list. I cheered for some. If. We did say we just occupation space anymore I think we can't I think that wait -- a lot of people -- your hat. Unfortunately -- some of legislate tours and there are some parts the state almost few New Orleans with disdain I -- with a legislator when time. Several years ago and he said let's just a hole into which report money. And I of course followed up with a significant amount of research and -- Letter back tend to explain how actually his parents sucks the life out of this at the state and we contribute an amazing amount. To subsidize and some of them war. The last a fluent. -- -- Beautifully said you know what we're gonna -- were gonna take a quick break I want everyone to stay with us. Because this woman has done her homework and we're going to be talking about where can we get some money right after this and Angela under the -- What we're talking with the president of the New Orleans council. Stacy head we're talking about the city needs money it's that simple she's got some ideas but I'm gonna go to some of the callers very quickly -- Particular call or all. You know the state China rejected the idea they increased their hotel tax. What if what they're saying from the should be you'll orange ball stop and shouldn't be able to partner in what else. And people like double. We. Were losing. The -- Let's just I think he's gonna give us to pull back well let's go to Dexter uptown. Yeah. Complicated or before. Ways what you had to count all had a rough and laity in the -- and -- -- they -- We've collected taxes that would not really -- on the there. So I was there and the mayor Munich on the they would argue or without formal to a global. And that's because the fair tax law. Think we are you you're in the -- and yet we've we've we've paid me it would create could've been that the mom and pop on the local businesses. -- what do you -- literally do you know 45 specific cases that. You could point to. Well I. I'd go small -- long but they've got a form too bad out loud I do that if -- vote the only. In the collected money and and cable box that you need is not a single blocked artery popular debacle okay transactions. You know so I ask you Paul will be there that if they no because I'm not in the field that it all -- not into -- -- -- It anymore but if you have that concerned action and you obviously do have a deep concern about it. It's really about calling the department of revenue it's that the tax people and saying you know what I'm aware of this place at this address and this is what I witnessed. I would acts like to and to act care what Angeles sent am. One of the things that I push for. Very aggressively over the last few years was increasing the number of internal auditors as well as audit firms we hire to do. Random audits of businesses that are paying us the -- sales tax in the city. And did you sweeps in areas where there may be belief that people are not paying the right man attacks as they are. -- to my knowledge doing that regularly at different market corporation at places I know that they had people senate and Jazz Fest. To make sure that the sales tax from repaid immediately. I frankly got a lot of complaints by businesses to feel like they're singled out because they're the ones that are subject to audits. So if there are those businesses that you've had any reason to believe even it's just inkling. May not be paying their fair share please let me know send an email to my office call 6581060. Because just making a complaint that you don't think people are paying taxes frankly is of no use to me whatsoever. -- used to government. We have pushed for the system to be improved the system has in fact being and been improved by an increased number of audit efforts. We have seen an increase in sales tax the 'cause of those efforts. And now if there there are days out liars those specific instances of people cheating the system. I implore every citizen to please let us know let the sales tax department know. Let at which the department of revenue let my office snow against six by the 81016 or send me an email. The -- for every dollar they don't pay in taxes we're gonna get it at a do you. So it's your obligation just as well. Yeah that is right and no I. Thought we'll -- -- -- also brought peaceful places of like there -- that the patent Eric on the mama okay. Thank you Dexter very very much I really appreciate that and I really think -- -- saying is correct they think oh no that's a cage just messing with the government we are the government. Absolutely we are going to pay for this on going the other. For every under assessed property for every building permit its undervalued for every sales tax dollar it doesn't get paid to the city. The money will be collected let me let me be very clear someone is going to pay. And unfortunately in New Orleans it tends to be a fairly small number of people so it's up to that number to let. The right people no wind there are mistakes are when their people that are out right scoff laws right there back real quick to jams argue were cut off. Yeah it will. That'll eventually you'll partner -- -- Charles -- a little while -- the credit court -- shall elect you. Well you know apple airport there notebook that -- that day. -- -- Thought could contribution in order to keep your Wall Street and beautiful extra -- in your future. I mean I guess that's possible but I will tell you that Britney did something similar to that at the last -- Whitney thirteen legislature where they added an extra. Agreed upon fee and they don't -- attacks and it's -- hotel. And it's cost Maldives and addition and set that is money that's. Estimated to be something around eighteen million dollars that will come in yearly. Newman that's need money and the that is dedicated to hospitality zone projects and that's not gonna get into the general fund of the city now. Really go to some of the assets that are in hospitality and yes will that offset some of the costs of the city to keep up those assets yes. But it is not money to directly goes into the city coffers bikinis. Well apple and it shall report here donation. Like a donation. And I guess they -- -- to ski seat net. And your intimate and your wonderful to have an idea -- keep them coming -- thanks a lot. Let's talk about tan who's paying taxes and has now. And well Angel -- unit report that was done by the bureau up governmental research and it's a topic on which they've written every few years. For awhile now and it's about the small number of property tax. Papers we have in the city if you weren't. They estimate that two thirds of the properties in the city of New Orleans do not pay property tax it's -- you repeat that -- Two thirds of the properties in the city if you -- violence do not paid property and that's a residential and commercial. -- every property. In the City Council everybody's going why. Well it's. The foundation. Is on. It is that Louisiana constitution. That grants pretty liberal. Exemptions to property tax for a variety entities. But -- You can also deal with that constitutional. Provision which I think is is frankly bat when. We can deal with that. I'm making sure that we narrowly narrowly construed that the assessor is and he is I have to give him credit he's theory aggressively going after. -- many at that that exemptions. And we also need to encourage every. Entity that it's holding onto property that is not paying taxes to sell and so. This is one and calling it a legacy project I'll be out of office in three plus years and so I really one of bringing some substance to the discussions academy year for very long time when it. Decent actions. -- competition beings. From these discussions again we've had for a theory very long time it was in May mayor Nagin spring that New Orleans commission. Report it was in mayor late entries taxpayers commission which. And as a Nolan dot com article is pretty -- that outlined it on December 28 2011. I'm ready to do something about. So we have all these reports -- you're saying let's do it absolutely an before you and holding these properties okay hundred pages a properties in the city of New Orleans. That our tax exempt status is for by about it -- he's done an amazing job of -- itemize can be putting them into categories. As to why they're getting the exemption and it's my understanding it's gonna put this on line priest saying. Said it again we can reach out every citizen of new Marlins it's paying taxes to say hey. Is that some fishy about this should this be on the tax rules are not and that's gonna allow him. To do a much better job to being out -- in the field -- it's gonna rely on every New Orleans and what. What is the legal reason for -- tax exemption. Our -- to article seven part two of the constitution says that no properties to be paid. By government entities property it's used for public park gates and that's one group that we can go after. The city. The school board the states the federal government and all properties owned by the as governments. And all of their subsidiaries and should they should they pay nothing and they should not hold onto even one piece of property that they don't -- so let me give -- two examples that. That anatomy. Frankly. I have absolutely had it with him. I had housing authority New Orleans 448. Year. I can't explain to them why it would be a good thing to get there surplus properties into commerce why there's surplus properties are bad for the neighborhoods in which they sent. Why it's antagonistic to dear nation providing affordable housing to sit on these very valuable piece of property. Why it keeps the city of New Orleans. Unable to fill needs such its north programs such as mainly service is programs because. They're just sitting on this guy able property and their empty and not they're empty they're not used some of them are blighted. They are a burden on Hannity keep popping in this modest. Weight possible theories and no rationale I can tell you that the last person who ran hand and David Gilmour. -- every indication when he went to the federal government to get approval. For disposition of many of these properties it's come to a complete screeching halt and the mayor hired a new person to run hand have a -- with him yet. But I implore every citizen in the city of New Orleans who believes -- should dispose of the year. Easily ten million dollars of surplus ballot property. To contact -- to contact their senators to force this person -- Works of federal government right now. Has until we get a real bored it's gonna be appointed exclusively by the Maier to contact the -- to contact cannon and tell them sell -- -- properties there is no excuse. Ten million dollars that the property was worth. 300. -- 400000 dollars immediately went to put on the tax -- Again after they are invested in after people built houses on them after they told. Parents capitalists where they're keeping property in prime commercial strips out of commerce out of providing jobs. And opportunities for people to. Can you like that -- environments inertia I have got. At least an inch worth of emails letters. Imploring hand it to dispose of its -- properties there is absolutely no excuse and frankly we need to stand up for -- That's the first thing stay with this every once she's on a roll. We're gonna hear more about who's not paying taxes right after this. Stacy had done council president but equally important I think chair of the Budget Committee we're talking about the city needs money. Where can we get it and she is bringing up some very good points in the first one being. That. Panel. Needs to let go some of the properties is sitting on -- now have a number okay -- All of you eager citizens out there on the new director that that merely injured hired is. Crank foreigner and his number is 67 know 3342. And in again I think it's not a complicated issue I've been asking port for eight years and so far -- zero. Action so the message to him is your sitting on dead property bring align itself. Take your money fix it well let's make sure player salad in a transparent way that gets the highest dollar values and hand it can then invest that into gear. Mission. And said that it will be more likely than not purchased by people who pay taxes because the worst thing we could see is Hannity do what is done in the past. Is to donate property. For zero dollars to sometimes dis functional nonprofits. Who don't even. Put the properties and commerce I saw that time and time again when I first got into office it was absolutely deplore the thankfully. Again mr. Gilmore -- did an amazing job with making sure that did not happen on a regular basis by. And then you know an end to -- to the next magically gotten -- New Orleans redevelopment authority while I think eighty some amazing things I do believe. They are sitting on properties that they're not doing great job of marketing. They have. Properties that have been. Seated to -- for a variety of reasons over the last few decades they've done a good job of getting bad road Home Properties and commerce three -- What do what appear to be its -- successful trains parent auctions. -- also got properties that have not yet been auctioned off that are sitting in areas that it started to see some real market interest such essential city. These properties are available for sale on in your website is -- works the ticket -- Google it and figure that out. I I really wish they would do a better job of just put it on the MLS listing. That that. Anyone who was -- in property is gonna go to the MLS listing their gonna get a REALTOR.com 21 and a local realty company's. And see what properties are for sale in the price -- they're looking for and many times. These investors don't know to go into -- works. These are properties again that I would very much like to -- get into commerce because as they're sitting right now they're costing -- money to maintain them. They're bringing -- not a dime in tax dollars. And they're also depriving the market of something the market desires we got a very hot real estate market uptown and other parts the city. While that's good we don't wanna get to a bubble let's get more at the properties into commerce let's stabilize the market let's. Let more people take advantage if you have more supply. Your demand is -- she -- and prices are believable moderate and that's it could -- for New Orleans it's getting to the point -- almost absurdity as a weapons are selling for. Yes a -- couldn't agree with you more. Let's talk about the non profits because what what percentage. Of those not paying taxes are nonprofits and what real realistically can be done. Am I don't know the number I've got the list here and again I believe the assessor is gonna put it on the line. I had a great meeting with the assessor earlier this week to talk about ways that the citizens can help. Can identify properties. That may not be. -- subject to the exemptions. And I think work on the right track -- if we can't support his efforts. And they mean more of these properties in two that that that art out of the not for profit. Realm. They'll likely be -- Let's go to court with -- let's stand there with the assessor. Let's let the judges who are politicians. Know that you might think you're doing a favor for. Let me just being able. -- L nurturing and learning center. But should not you're really hurting you more balance because for every day care that. Calls himself a nonprofit and doesn't get taxed. They're at a competitive advantage to the daycare down the street is doing the right paint. And pay in tax it's I can't imagine why a date here that is not actually located in an entity like Kingsley house -- in a church and should be entitled to a not for profit. They are competing against. Other daycare centers better for profit entities that are paying their fair share of taxes let let's talk about it and it's also risking -- just to be real clear. What they do is they set out not for profits and they paid executive directors exorbitant salaries and that's where their profit yes and so. This happens you know again all over the city New Orleans shall -- Two or three rental houses that are owned by not for profit that pays their executive director let's say a 100000 dollars that are next door to. Two or three rental properties that are on the tax rolls and the profits that that mom and pop landlord may. Are cut by the twelve or 151000 dollars in property taxes that they pay so the people that are doing best and are scamming the system know exactly what their commitment. We're gonna take another break but I'd like to talk about some of the big nonprofits that we all know two -- some of the other. Shouldn't they be paying something they use the streets they used the lights their citizens let's talk about that stay with us we'll be right back. We're back with Stacy had -- were talking about the nonprofits. Some legit some not and a hundred pages. In front of us hundred pages of properties. That are not paying taxes. I wanna remind everybody what she sat down and said. Two thirds of all properties in the city of New Orleans. Do not pay taxes there's something terribly the matter with that but let's go on to that the nonprofits we know our very legitimate. Who who contribute on many levels. But are not paying taxes and let's take some of the big -- whether to hospital whether to university. Of whether even a church there are communities that will charge fees they may not college attacks but it is -- Because in fact all of these entities use infrastructure. So how do we begin that conversation. Well I think we start with the letter I drafted a letter to then you. The new president of -- and delighted that we're gonna have a change of guard and we'll have a new fresh view on things. And it is my hope that it's. Tulane often markets itself -- as the Harvard of the south since Hurricane Katrina it's even seen an increase in. The number of applicants yes they are becoming more and more selected it's very exciting and and so. The reputation of two -- continues to get stronger and stronger nationally. And so my hope is that we take this concept hey you're the Harvard of the south you like that that reputation let's follow Harvard's -- Let's finally deal's lead and let's pay -- a pay a pilot is an -- and for payment in lieu of taxes. Right now chilling pays nothing not only do they pay nothing for the year. Their property that they teach on that they work on that -- that they have offices on that the students live on. But they also don't pay property taxes for what most people would consider commercial ventures. And they are apartment buildings that are at least it's on to -- students not some students some people learn not to link students who are paying market rate rents and that. I use that property allows onion -- it it benefits ultimately the school its revenue for its revenue to school again great delighted to have that by. You've got to remember did that for every dollar in every apartment building at Tulane -- and for every piece of property its owned by. Loyola and by Xavier. That property is not and by someone who's gonna pay a share a year in fixing -- street lights that go down saint Charles avenue between this -- fabulous schools. That -- down your heart right next to -- year. So my hope is that this. The new chancellor will agree on a pilot and able set attendance for the city in the work with the other. I had to schools with father wild -- doctor Francis. Talk about how we can get them to agree to help offset some of the burden that the city. Carries for operating the city and weren't Italian good I think when it is a win win it's a way we could. And reduce our our. A obliterate any. Called stick to lane would be to end the scholarship program that goes to the state legislature to force. They Diaz and I believe actually they're it's under state law I don't even think they're obligated I don't believe that the legislature can in -- -- -- it private institution to to give scholarships I'd I question whether or not even truly obligated to Davis. We -- get together hand in hand arm in arm to the legislature next year and say. We're gonna do away with these 150%. Scholarships and we again have -- benefits. Shreveport batteries hand and it's that her. And we're gonna keep a small portion small number of the scholarships for New Orleans area residents again and put it up to our region. And really get a money needs and -- base and you do away with the politics. We're gonna keep a few scholarships here and for that. I don't know four million let's say a year in scholarship that we don't give away anymore. -- -- -- Donate -- immediately as a pilot to the city of New Orleans or did you costs of living increase every year thereafter it's beautiful and I think that that's equitable. It has you know it it. Is rational in a way to bring to benefit home and I hope it's something that to lingual support. It is rational reasonable. And hopefully. That the new man and will -- with those pressurized as she talked about but let's get a -- real quick Jerome into the don't. -- -- I'm Obama -- when you mentioned to. Change I'm. Just here had been voted to eliminate. It. Kent State is trying to. I'll get. Out on the committee it is motion on its. Law will be. Yeah it should take it Leo two year scholarship to Tulane Tulane but this. All. -- it's -- -- -- to -- image in. Her not to break up he ought to Arctic. Say you are on the point you know I think it pretty arrive on being on prop it. Not quite unity. -- do you. Are there. No public universities do not an armed. Or not in and a -- argument the difference is. This is a private university. That is not. Yet an -- they do they are entitled at least in my opinion two distinct -- -- Well I'd like I'm -- Too corny it was cute and silently. And hopefully we'll get a -- -- being debated probably the country into. But however do it and appreciate you know -- which -- Ian thank. Really appreciate you call -- -- well that's good news. If you walk hand in hand I have more about how to sell an out and try to yet Celek and I'm on and I am legacy projects. Four years count down and I had to leave the council with more properties on the tax rules for a more equitable. At the -- taxation system you know taxes. Do not have to be a dirty word. Yet. When we talk about what did go through the legislature what what we may be given the opportunity. To raise Milledge is. I'm hearing nothing but negative from people. I don't wanna paint with that I -- is it because. Those who are paying are already overburdened. Or if you spread it out. Now -- I I I think there. Are many. Reasons for people being antagonistic. To any increases in living in the city or -- Not only do taxes Burton a fairly small group. But people also acting belief that for the taxes they paid they frankly don't get the services. That they're entitled to. I know that that's a really strong sentiment in the lake front communities yes and it's 1 that I am I completely understand. That is a community that provides. Much of its own security to pay extra for that. And it's a community acts. Has playgrounds that are maintained often by neighborhood associations and volunteer groups. And as a community that has. Arguably. As a as an area the worst streets in the city of New Orleans it's a that's a strong sentiment that community I think when you go to other areas. That may be less affluent. They look at the amount of disposable income people have and they say well sewage and water -- bill will continue to go up. We have to pay IBC introduce bills to keep the lights on. We are seeing. Every. Bit of money that we've got being eaten away and we just don't have anymore rising prices of of how hitting it better yes exactly. And so I think that there are a lot of reasons that people feel the same way I cannot. Thank you enough for coming up here I truly hope is busy you are you'll continue to come up. We need to this is an educational process for a lot of people people who are listening -- -- I didn't know two thirds of the properties in the city don't pay taxes. That alone if you walk away with that alone is to begin. And then it's a matter of how can we do despair. Thank you so much -- can't we look forward to having you back stay with us we'll be right back. So happy to have Stacey had here and you heard it here this is going to be the legacy project for her for the -- Four years one of one also access -- paving get ready for when and others. Excessive -- think pitting people that paid their entire yards again while people they like get individually it is awful for our city it keeps the ground waterfront. -- at the water from being absorbed into the water table it makes a city seeing it. Cause more flooding it decrease it and it -- property values it takes we street parking is just horrible for a lot of reasons that's about it. I can't or we're talking taxes though now. Other areas that we need to address that can be revenue generate. I wanna get. A compliment to the department. A cult property management in the city. -- -- that had done an amazing job as well as the New Orleans school board. Selling surplus properties and getting them into commerce. Anybody has seen the transformation of LaSalle so that's LaSalle school. Off of Webster street can see Hal that property wasn't generating anything other than rats and and proliferation of of birds. Is now Condit development that is on a tax rolls and is beautiful. Said they'd done a great job in the cities and it really really good job of selling surplus properties and in the not too distant future this city is going to select a vendor. That contract applications are in the day it is closed. 22 -- adjudicated properties which have about 2000 educated properties in those properties that at some point in the past went to tax sale. And didn't get -- The reason I didn't it's sold more often than not was because New Orleans property values weren't very -- like 101215. Years ago now that's changed. So those 2000 properties will be auctioned and the sky's the limit as to what the city can -- let me tell you all you entrepreneurs are always talking about this could be your year. Thank you again Stacey hand will stay in touch about taxes and the need for money we'll be right.