by Charlie London
This was the sixteenthth BlightStat meeting where the public was invited to attend.
The City continues to march toward its goal of eradicating 10,000 blighted properties within three years. City departments that can help with this process meet every two weeks for a “BlightStat” meeting.
Goals have been set for each department and a presentation is made at each meeting to show how each department is doing toward meeting those goals.
BELOW ARE NOTES FROM THE JUNE 16th BLIGHTSTAT MEETING
Attendance continues to be sparce at the BlightStat meetings but interest from the public remains strong. Reports from various sources allow people to get the information without having to attend the meetings.
Mr. Oliver Wise continues to work as moderator for the meetings.
Mr. Jeff Hebert asked Ms. Lear to talk about Household Hazardous Waste day.
Ms. Cynthia Sylvain Lear – over 600 vehicles showed with up 5 tons of ewaste, 3,400 gallons of paint which was donated to the Green Project. City is committed to doing it again. Ms. Lear urged citizens to save their hazardous waste for the event.
Mr. Winston Reid – inspections remain above target in spite of Memorial Day holiday. Uptick in sweep levels. Targeting FEMA properties. Continuing demo pipeline and inspections for hearings. Continuing sweeps. Still working on backlog. Updated backlog by address with internal filtering to look for matches of properties already done.
Mr. Jeff Hebert – Kristin away. Slight increase in hearings but remains far below the target. JPHebert, AKopplin, and Brenda Breaux working together on a strategy to get cases moving. Dedicating two Saturdays to just go through files. Considering staff adjustments.
Mr. Andy Kopplin – there is a much bigger backlog than two Saturdays. Fill the capacity of hearings officers. Spend two Saturdays to fill the short term pipeline but that doesn’t remove the backlog. Suggested to go back to the bar association for help. Let’s get together to make a pitch to the bar association to Brenda Breaux…will do.
Mr. Jeff Hebert– uptick in cases with 24 percent guilty. Resets are down.
Mr. Hillary Carrere – abatement – 6 emergency demos. Strategic demos lower due to SHPO. SHPO has not responded to requests for review of some properties.
Mr. Winston Reid – continuing to monitor processes to see how to streamline the process. SHPO continues to be the problem. Only one SHPO employee in Baton Rouge reviews the files and there is no travel budget. Working on ways to get that person to New Orleans or the files to them.
Mr. Oliver Wise – numbers of cases under historical review only went up by 2. Of the 123. 66 site layouts. 53 in newspaper ads. Remaining called to come back. 6 on hold. 5 deferred. 14 town houses.
Mr. Andy Kopplin – is process flow charted? Yes. Properties can have multiple actions to get them into the pipeline.
Mr. Andy Kopplin – Scott Hutcheson used to be the SHPO. He will be assigned to work on the SHPO problem. He is to work on helping code enforcement solve the SHPO stop gag.
NORA – LLT asked NORA to identify 350 more NORA properties to be demolished. Would like to target multi-family properties. Doesn’t want funding to run out. NORA also has a SHPO backlog. It is a lingering problem.
Mr. Jeff Hebert – have to find a solution to moving the people out of multi-family so the building can be demolished.
Mr. Dean Wolcott- FEMA funded demolitions. Has report. City did a large file location project and most files have been found. Focusing on tracking and accountability.
Mr. Andy Kopplin asked that numbers from FEMA be simplified to make them more meaningful.
Mr. Jeff Hebert – David, please give a report on the file finding process.
Shut down office to make it happen. David- 260 files searched for. Found 107. Some on desks. Did total inventory.
Mr. Hebert to shut down office again to find the other hundred files.
Mr. Allen Square – this is a painful process but one that needs to be done and will likely result in better file management.
JPHebert – it is very effective and another day will be set up to find the rest.
Mr. Andy Kopplin – 47 FEMA trailers remain. FEMA trailer at Fire Dept in Lakeshore area to be removed this week.
City’s grass cutting program for blighted properties ramping up for the summer growing season.
Mr. Hebert – priority for lower 9th Ward and N.O. East. Not satisfied with current efforts on grass cutting.
Ms. Cynthia Sylvain Lear – cleaning dump sites. QOL officers have been busy working in all of their districts. Dumpsters out of public view, citizens contain refuse properly. Sanitation Ranger to start Monday and will focus on bandit signs. Will take pictures and document where the signs are being placed. Will take more than city resources to get bandit signs removed. Stressed that ANYONE can remove bandit signs.
Recycle bins are being delivered except to DDD and French Quarter. Get yours at http://recycle.nola.gov or 658-3800
Keep America Beautiful going well. Submitted 3 grants. One for additional carts. Anti-graffiti project. Education project.
Household hazardous waste day was extremely successful.
Tire dumping continues to be a problem but they are being picked up.
Mr. Miles Granderson – steady, consistent progress on filing cases to go to Sheriff sale. Many people are coming in to pay liens as properties go to Sheriff sale. Over 140,000 dollars collected this two week period. $234,000 collected just this year.
If the Sheriff can’t personally serve the defendant it is turned over to curator. There is a follow up process with curators.
The city is aggressively going after code enforcement liens. If you have one better pay it or it’s going to Sheriff’s sale.
NORA closings – 68 properties closed. LLT is working on additional properties. 200 properties for sale. Working on auction for Lakeview properties in August. Training needed for people participating in auction so that more closings can be completed. Working with 203K lenders to provide financing. Signed 1000th purchase agreement for lot next door program.
Mr. Wise – ahead on inspections behind on hearings.
Mr. Hebert- David to work on pulling together numbers to see where we are where we have to go.
If properties don’t sell at Sheriff sale what then? Ms. Brenda Breaux –Goes to second sale, comparison data, check minimum bid. The law department has a detailed policy on this.
WHO: Key blight policy and code enforcement staff
8:00-9:30 AM CST
9TH Floor—City Planning Conference Room
New Orleans, LA 70117