On Tuesday, September 24, the City Planning Commission approved the City’s 2014 to 2018 Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The CIP is the City’s $1 billion plan for major construction (capital) projects for the next 5 years. You can find the approved plan on City Planning Commission’s website. The plan now goes to the Mayor, who will present his 2014 Capital Budget to City Council in October. City Council will have to approve the Capital Budget by December 1.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a complete summary of the CIP. Some key points to consider, is that this is the last year were the City will have significant bond money to spend on capital projects. In upcoming years, the only capital projects the city will be able to complete will be paid for from FEMA funds or by groups like the New Orleans Aviation Board that has its own funds (that will be used to construct a new airport terminal.
One disappointment aspect of this process is the amount of public involvement. With a month of public meetings for each department, 2 public hearings, and a written comment period, there were only about 20 people engaged in the entire process. This is not enough public input for a $1 billion plan. This comment was picked up in an article in nola.com.
With the need for voter approval of a new bond measure, there is an opportunity to call for a process that would better engage the public. This would be an excellent opportunity to have a Participatory Budgeting process for part of the capital budget, where people actually decide how their tax dollars are spent. Learn more how you can get involved in bringing Participatory Budget to New Orleans.
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