Paying for the NOLA CPP

This research paper outlines the cost of the NOLA CPP, where the money will come from, who controls that money, what the money pays for, and how the cost compares to other cities.

Paying for the NOLA CPP

 

Paying for the NOLA CPP

The New Orleans Citizen Participation Program (NOLA CPP), like any other program, has a cost associated with it. This cost needs to be reasonable, but what is important is the value associated with the program. The NOLA CPP will create more transparency in city government and its decision-making. Citizens can keep government accountable, especially in the city budget and spending tax dollars. As a result, the NOLA CPP can help reduce spending in other areas and make government more efficient.

 

Cost of the NOLA CPP

The projected annual budget for the NOLA CPP is approximately $2 million per year. This would cost each New Orleans resident less than $6 per year – a good value for everything it will provide. The NOLA CPP will provide a valuable information-sharing tool for residents and the City, as well as capacity-building trainings and support. These things will make both government and neighborhoods more efficient and effective. Therefore, this investment should result in long-term savings for the city.

 

Where CPP Funds will Come From

New Orleans’ citizens have said that they prefer a dedicated funding source for the CPP. The City will collect the funds specifically for the CPP. It will not come from the City’s General Fund or be part of the annual city budget negotiations. The present plan is to fund the NOLA CPP from two sources. The first source would be a fee that developers pay when they submit development proposals to the city. The second source would be an existing property tax millage. The City is not spending this existing tax millage efficiently, and it could re-purpose part of these funds to pay for the CPP. Generally, the model for funding the NOLA-CPP is similar to that used to fund the City’s Office of the Inspector General.

 

Who Controls the Funds for the CPP

Under the current NOLA-CPP model, most of the CPP money will go to the District Councils, which means the citizens who serve as neighborhood representatives on these Councils will control these funds and make most of the spending decisions. The NOLA CPP provides guidelines to direct the spending, and strict accountability measures will be put in place. This will ensure that each neighborhood association receives funds and gets the support it needs to be organized and effective.

District Councils will manage funds – whether they come from the CPP or are raised by the District Councils – based on the priorities set by the citizens. Neighborhood Associations can raise additional funds beyond what they receive from the CPP, and they can spend those funds any way they choose.

Some of the CPP money will fund the central NOLA CPP office, which will be part of the Office of Neighborhoods or another quasi-governmental authority. The central NOLA CPP office will spend these funds according to the NOLA CPP guidelines, developed by the citizens of New Orleans.

 

What the CPP Pays For

Each District Council will use most of its funds to pay for the District Council staff and administration. The District Councils will also provide support to Neighborhood Associations for outreach, communications, and other operating costs. This District Council support will help build the capacity of the Neighborhood Associations to be effective participants in the NOLA CPP. Some specific projects or programs may also receive CPP funding.

The central NOLA CPP office will primarily use these funds to cover the administrative costs, which includes money for the following:

  • Central NOLA CPP office and staff
  • Informational materials and city government guides
  • Trainings for citizens and city employees
  • Citywide CPP communications

 

How NOLA CPP Compares to Other Cities

CPP Budget Comparison
City Budget Population Cost/Person
New Orleans $2,100,000 354,850 $5.92
Portland $6,439,822 583,835 $11.03
Birmingham $854,833 230,131 $3.71

The budget of Citizen Participation Programs in other cities varies depending on their programs and the amount of support available for District Councils and Neighborhood Associations. The Portland CPP includes funding for the central office, District Coalitions, their staff, and Neighborhood Associations. The Portland CPP also funds Crime Prevention, Graffiti Abatement, and many other programs that are not included in most CPPs. The Birmingham CPP takes a more modest approach to its CPP. Birmingham funds staff, neighborhood projects, and community newsletters, but it does not fund neighborhood associations and has limited programs.

The NOLA CPP budget would fit somewhere between the Portland and Birmingham CPP. The NOLA CPP provides more funding to District Councils and Neighborhood Associations than Birmingham does. However, the NOLA CPP does not offer as many programs and has a more limited scope than the Portland CPP. As a result, the NOLA CPP has a per person cost of about $5.92. This ensures that the NOLA CPP is inclusive and accessible to all New Orleanians, at a cost that is very affordable.

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