The proposed New Orleans Capital Improvement Plan will be presented to Mayor Mitch Landrieu six months earlier than usual, though some Mid-City projects were not recommended funding.
The plan – established by the City Planning Commission every year – includes requests from city departments and agencies for projects over the next five years. After Tuesday’s approval from the CPC, the plan will be presented to the City Council and will eventually become next year’s budget.
The proposed 2018-2022 Capital Improvement Plan has a total source of funds of $1,775,656,365 from five different funding sources.
The city’s department of Parks and Parkways requested the City Council dedicate $700,000 over the next two years for what is called the South Galvez Streetscape project, which would actually connect the Lafitte Greenway to the Poydras corridor along South Galvez.
That project, under CPC’s recommendation, will not be funded.
A path of sorts already exists between Tulane Avenue and Canal Street, said project architect Hailey Bowen, but most of the stretch is in “disarray,” said department director Ann Macdonald.
“There was a path and there’s still some remnants of it, but it’s not really usable,” Bowen told city planners earlier this month in a hearing on the department’s budget requests. “It needs to be redone.”
City Park – which is almost entirely self-funded – asked City Council to dedicate about $25 million over five years to repair roadways, install sidewalks and improve sewerage. The first, billed at $21.7 million, is meant to improve stormwater runoff in and around the park. The three-year project would widen and deepen some of the park’s lagoons that serve as runoffs, with most of the first year spent on engineering work.
The park was not granted city funds for these – or any – projects last year. There are no funds for any of the park’s requests in this year’s budget, either.
“It’s important from a philosophical point, more than anything, to emphasize that since the city isn’t operating any funding for this park, it needs to support this park in some financial way,” Bob Becker, City Park CEO told the CPC earlier this month. “It needs to be in the capital budget for some money that allows us to carry out our mission.”
Of 18 citywide agencies, six were denied any type of funding. Those include the Audubon Commission, Civil Service Commission, Chief Administration’s Office, Municipal Yacht Harbor Corporation, City Park Improvement Association and the city’s Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Department.
The majority of funds are scheduled for streets and stormwater management – at 81 percent of the budget – with 17 percent headed toward the city’s airport.
The rest is spread out between public safety, parks and recreation, libraries and other public services.
Unlike years past, the 2018 capital budget is going before council in July rather than December. City Council should vote on the proposed budget within a few weeks.