In The News › Report says city lacking badly in resources to prevent flooding from rains

Report says city lacking badly in resources to prevent flooding from rains

Thursday, August 12, 2010
By Paul Murphy

A new study by the independent Bureau of Governmental Research suggests there are “startling gaps” in the city’s ability to prevent the type of flooding seen in parts of New Orleans, Wednesday morning.

The high-water in place like Uptown, illustrates the severe infrastructure shortfalls examined in a the BGR report.

It reveals that the city needs $1.4 billion to reconstruct failing streets and related drainage and that an additional $40 million a year are needed for regular maintenance of city streets.

The report also finds that the Sewerage and Water Board will have a billion dollar shortage over the next five years.

“We have some really serious problems with our core infrastructure,” said BGR President Janet Howard. “They’re very expensive problems. One of our concerns has been the governments don’t seem to come together to work out any kind of comprehensive plan for dealing with these problems.”

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says while he doesn’t agree with everything in the report, he’s glad the BGR took a look at the city’s street and drainage problems.

He agrees that it will be difficult for the community to finance needed repairs, until the city prioritizes spending and examines its tax base.

“We need to do an assessment of our taxing system,” he said. “What kinds of taxes we pay. Who pays them. How many exemptions there are. Are we actually collecting everything that we’re suppose to. Obviously, you want to collect everything that’s owed you.”

Uptown neighbors say needed repairs are long overdue.

“Maybe they need to start working down here and do something, clean it up, I don’t know what,” said Gabriele Jackson who lives on State Street.

“I think that they would be aware of it,” said Madelyn Boyer on Palmer Avenue. “When we get big heavy rains like this, this is what happens. We pray that we don’t get car coming down here, creating a wake, flooding the houses, flooding the yards.”

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