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Coverage of BGR in local, regional, and national media

BGR In The News

Mayoral candidates discuss drainage, other S&WB issues

Nov 2, 2017

The BGR recommended that the Sewerage and Water Board and City Hall consider a storm water fee as a potential source for drainage system funding.

Source: FOX 8

Clancy: Voters need to keep a clear head as candidates get nasty

Oct 10, 2017

Here’s the good news: If you want objective information, you can get it. Check out the League of Women Voters website at lwvno.org, or the Bureau of Governmental Research website at bgr.org.

Source: WWL-TV

3 things we learned from Tuesday’s WDSU mayoral debate

Oct 4, 2017

The “skin in the game” comment refers to broadening the tax base to include tax-exempt nonprofits. The Bureau of Governmental Research issued a report in February that floated this option, arguing it was a fair because nonprofits use the drainage system.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

New Orleans mayoral candidates tout plans for Sewerage & Water Board, NOPD at forum

Sep 21, 2017

Candidates universally panned the idea of stormwater fees for improved drainage operations, which the Landrieu administration is considering asking the City Council to approve and which the nonprofit Bureau of Governmental Research endorsed in February. S&WB has said it will need $55 million to shore up the system.

Source: The Advocate

If the candidates aren’t inspiring voters, maybe voters should inspire the candidates

Sep 17, 2017

Voters should also check out BGR’s “Questions For A New Mayor” report at www.bgr.org. The report is a compilation of candidates’ responses to 18 questions developed by BGR. The topics covered include ways to address police manpower; retooling city employee pensions; fixing and maintaining street and drainage infrastructure, and more.

Source: Gambit

BGR’s New Orleans mayoral candidate survey covers hot topics

Sep 14, 2017

Everybody is looking for answers from the crowded field of candidates for the New Orleans mayoral race. The nonprofit watchdog Bureau for Governmental Research took its crack at it, calling on each of the 18 candidates to answer questions based on a series of detailed public policy reports its researchers published in recent years.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Cantrell calls for $84 million a year in infrastructure spending, bringing S&WB into City Hall

Aug 31, 2017

Her plan, outlined Thursday and heavily based on recommendations from the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research, would require surmounting significant obstacles, including prying money loose from the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and winning support for a new stormwater fee that would initially target nonprofits but could eventually be expanded more broadly.

Source: The Advocate

Landrieu considers stormwater fees to pay for New Orleans drainage system upgrades

Aug 29, 2017

The Bureau of Governmental Research endorsed stormwater fees in a February report. It pointed out that while New Orleans is “one of the nation’s most stormwater-challenged cities,” it doesn’t have a way to collect money directly from property owners who use its drainage system.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

What will it take to fix the Sewerage and Water Board? Editorial

Aug 27, 2017

The Bureau of Governmental Research did an analysis of S&WB governance in 2011 and looked at consolidation. There are several significant benefits to putting the S&WB under direct city control, BGR found. First, consolidation would “force elected officials to accept responsibility for the system.”

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

City Council ‘didn’t care until everything went south’ at S&WB: J.P. Morrell

Aug 17, 2017

The (S&WB) board of directors was reduced from 13 to 11 members, council members lost their three seats and new members had to be nominated by local university presidents. The moves had support from the nonpartisan watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research and the New Orleans Business Council.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

New Orleans airport’s new director describes plans for growth, new terminal

Jul 27, 2017

“I’m a native New Orleanian,” Aviation Director Kevin Dolliole told a packed room Thursday at a breakfast briefing hosted by the Bureau of Governmental Research. “I think I’ve honed my skills moving around to different facilities in the country, so I’ve touched and run different airports. I’ve been a consultant.”

Source: The Advocate

First projects in New Orleans’ multibillion-dollar street repair campaign behind schedule

Jun 29, 2017

New Orleans’ ambitious plan to pour billions of dollars into fixing its crumbling streets is already behind schedule before it has really gotten started.

Source: The Advocate

Traffic cam money pads the general fund

May 30, 2017

A new report from the Bureau of Government Research says New Orleans isn’t using ANY traffic camera money to fix the streets. Our guest, Amy Glovinsky, President of the Bureau of Governmental Research says, “on the issue of traffic related fees, fines, and taxes [that] simply takes a commitment to use the discretionary funds.”

Source: WWL Radio

A discussion of street maintenance and how to pay for it with Amy Glovinsky, President of BGR

May 26, 2017

This week on All Things New Orleans, we’ll discuss a report on street maintenance and how to pay for it with Amy Glovinsky, President of the Bureau for Governmental Research.

Source: WWNO

Report: Money from traffic cam fines isn’t going to city streets

May 26, 2017

The independent Bureau of Governmental Research maintains now is the time to install a reliable maintenance program for city streets. “It’s very important that we go about it in a way that captures and preserves for the long term, the rebuilding that we’re about to embark upon,” BGR President and CEO Amy Glovinsky said

Source: WWL-TV

BGR Releases ‘Paying For Streets: Options For Funding Road Maintenance In New Orleans’

May 10, 2017

As BGR has pointed out in past reports, underfunding maintenance of the street network leads to far higher costs in the long run. The city itself estimates that every dollar invested in preventive maintenance can save four or five dollars in repair costs down the road. But the city has been spending far less than the $30 million to $35 million it says it needs to maintain streets.

Source: Biz New Orleans

New Orleans spends a fraction of what it needs to on street maintenance, group says

May 9, 2017

BGR continues to advocate, as it has for years, that the city redirect funds to street maintenance needs from sources such as traffic camera tickets, parking tickets, parking meters, parking taxes and vehicle sales taxes. The report stated these revenue sources will generate $52.2 million this year, which is more than five times the $9.5 million that New Orleans budgeted for streets in 2017.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Lawmaker proposes redirecting some Convention Center taxes to New Orleans roads

Apr 23, 2017

The debate over the Convention Center’s funding has been going on for years, with critics — including the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research — questioning whether some of the tax money dedicated to it could be better spent on roads, public safety or other priorities.

Source: The Advocate

Peter Reichard shares the Bureau of Governmental Research’s new study calling for a drainage fee

Mar 6, 2017

Federal money will pay to further improve canals and pumping stations. But the city has to contribute a percentage, and it has to pay for upkeep. The nonprofit Bureau of Governmental Research has released a new study calling for a fee on stormwater drainage to fill that gap.

Source: WWNO

BGR report proposes using fees, not taxes, to fund New Orleans’ drainage system

Feb 14, 2017

The New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board should consider levying usage fees to pay for the upkeep of its drainage system rather than relying on the property taxes that now fund the system, according to a new report from the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: The Advocate

Why will New Orleans property owners get another tax bill this year?

Feb 1, 2017

This millage provides 28 percent of the revenue the Sewerage and Water Board uses for system upkeep, according to the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Our Views: Support Orleans, Jeff taxes

Dec 10, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that studies public policy issues in the New Orleans area, has endorsed all of the taxes.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans Voters to Decide Millages, Criminal Court Judge Post

Dec 9, 2016

And – with Proposition 2 — voters are deciding on establishing a 12-year tax dedicated to the fire department. Funds would settle a dispute that’s gone on for decades over back pay. Officials say it’ll cost the average homeowner about $50 a year. The non-profit Bureau of Governmental Research is recommending both propositions be approved.

Source: WWNO

Jefferson Parish 1-cent sales tax in voters’ hands Saturday

Dec 8, 2016

Should the tax not be renewed, the Bureau of Governmental Research said, Jefferson would have to “scale back” its capital investment plans, effectively delaying many of the projects.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Jefferson Parish tax renewal for drainage on Dec. 10 ballot

Dec 5, 2016

Should the tax not be renewed, the Bureau of Governmental Research said, Jefferson would have to make “severe cuts” in other services to maintain drainage at current levels.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans makes final pitch for drainage-tax renewal before election

Dec 2, 2016

Becker noted, they join endorsements from the Bureau of Governmental Research as well as the Times-Picayune, The Advocate and Gambit newspapers.

Source: Uptown Messenger

Early voting begins Saturday for December election

Nov 25, 2016

The city says the tax would yield an estimated $8.9 million a year to help pay settlement costs for the tens of millions of dollars in legal judgments it owes to firefighters and their pension fund. The Bureau of Governmental Research has endorsed the tax proposal.

Source: WWL-TV

New Orleans voters to decide on drainage tax renewal Dec. 10

Nov 25, 2016

The BGR report noted that the money the S&WB brings in for drainage work is largely consumed by operational costs and paying back loans. As a result, about $50 million worth of work had to be deferred in 2016 because not enough money was available.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans voters consider fire, drainage taxes on Dec. 10 ballot

Nov 25, 2016

Without a new revenue source — in addition to the millage up for renewal — New Orleans’ deferred drainage work could exceed $270 million by 2020, BGR says.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

‘Yes’ on Jefferson Parish sales, drainage and recreation tax renewals: Editorial

Nov 23, 2016

Renewing the tax now would allow the parish to refinance existing sales tax bonds and finance new road and sewer construction projects, according to the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

‘Yes’ on firefighter and drainage taxes for New Orleans: Editorial

Nov 20, 2016

The Sewerage & Water Board already lacks money for its capital improvement program, and the agency soon will be on the hook for additional expenses, according to BGR.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Bureau of Governmental Research Backs Millage/Tax Renewals on December Ballot

Nov 18, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) throws its support behind millages and a 1% sales tax renewal on the December 10th ballot. At that time voters will decide whether to renew a millage for Drainage and Recreation, also renewals for a 1% Sales Tax and a Jefferson Parish School Property Tax.

Source: Jefferson Parish

4 Jefferson Parish tax renewals backed by independent non-profit

Nov 17, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research called the sales tax a “core funding source” for local government for more than three decades. “Renewal of the sales tax would enable the parish to finance much-needed road and sewerage improvements on both sides of the Mississippi River,” the agency said.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

BGR backs both New Orleans property tax items on Dec. 10 ballot

Nov 16, 2016

Absent any additional revenue sources, BGR says keeping the drainage property tax in place is advantageous because it is established and voters understand the assessment and collection process.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Watchdog group endorses New Orleans fire and drainage taxes on December ballot

Nov 15, 2016

A leading government watchdog group is supporting two property tax measures on the Dec. 10 ballot in New Orleans, a new tax designed to pay for a settlement between the city and firefighters and a tax renewal to pay for drainage. The nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research gave both taxes the thumbs up in a report issued Tuesday.

Source: The Advocate

Zurik: From City Hall down, convention center money leaves NOLA residents frustrated

Nov 14, 2016

BGR raised “The $1 Billion Question” in its so-titled report on whether tax dedications in New Orleans make sense. The report showed tens of millions of tax dollars generated in New Orleans by the tourism industry, but none of it going to fix streets or pay for police.

Source: FOX 8

The $165 million question: How best to invest New Orleans’ tourism tax revenue?

Aug 3, 2016

The BGR study estimated that the hotel taxes generated $165.9 million in 2015. After accounting for all the pass-throughs and levels of distributions, the watchdog group estimated that about $126.8 million — 76 percent — went to tourism-related entities. The remaining 24 percent went to public services such as city government, transportation and education.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Kazem Alikhani, Jefferson Parish public works director, retiring

Jul 14, 2016

In giving him one of its Excellence in Govermment awards in 2012, the Bureau of Governmental Research said Alikhani had guided the construction of more than 70 major drainage projects, overseen the armoring of pumping stations and the installation of safe rooms to shelter pump personnel during major storms, developed Jefferson’s first master plan for drainage and begun implementing a 20-year, $1 billion program to expand drainage capacity in Jefferson’s neighborhoods.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

BGR criticizes bill to allow Morial Convention Center to levy taxes in nearby area

May 11, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research said the measure would exacerbate a fractured taxing system in New Orleans that already does too much to constrain how local officials can spend tax dollars.

Source: The Advocate

BGR pans Morial Convention Center taxing power

May 11, 2016

The watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research is repeating its refrain against approving new taxes in New Orleans without a thorough evaluation of dedications already in place.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Our Views: Vote for tax plan in Saturday’s city election

Apr 9, 2016

We share some of the reservations of the Bureau of Governmental Research, www.bgr.org, about long-term bond issues for street repairs that might last, at best, for the length of the bond payments. Still, BGR is for the bond issue because of the “abysmal” condition of New Orleans streets.

Source: The Advocate

New Orleans street repair pledge leads voters to back $120 million bond sale

Apr 9, 2016

The nonprofit watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research, which previously raised questions about the city’s overall tax structure, endorsed the bond issue but raised concerns the city’s 30-year debt service plan.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Our Views: Vote for tax plan in Saturday’s city election

Apr 8, 2016

We share some of the reservations of the Bureau of Governmental Research, www.bgr.org, about long-term bond issues for street repairs that might last, at best, for the length of the bond payments.

Source: The Advocate

City seeks more taxes on April 9

Apr 4, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research, which had opposed the 2015 new library tax and other millage increases in recent years, endorsed the 7.5 mills for police and fire.

Source: Louisiana Weekly

Business groups endorse proposed tax hike for public safety in New Orleans

Mar 22, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research and the New Orleans chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police also have endorsed the millage hike. So far, no organized opposition to the measure has emerged.

Source: The Advocate

Our Views: We support New Orleans fire, police tax

Mar 20, 2016

But the Bureau of Governmental Research, which is backing the proposition, notes that there is little research supporting the notion that 1,600 is the ideal size.

Source: The Advocate

Our Views: New bonds for streets

Mar 20, 2016

A guide to the upsides and downsides of the bond issue, seemingly “free” money, is available from the indispensable work of the Bureau of Governmental Research. Despite some reservations, BGR is for the bond issue because of the “abysmal” condition of New Orleans streets.

Source: The Advocate

‘Yes’ for more money for New Orleans police, firefighters and streets: Editorial

Mar 20, 2016

According to the Bureau of Governmental Research, which is supporting the increase, the owner of a $350,000 home would pay an additional $262.50 in taxes each year. That is less than $22 per month.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Government watchdog endorses $120M bond proposal, 7.5 mill public safety tax hike

Mar 18, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research this week endorsed a pair of ballot initiatives that would permit the city to issue $120 million in bonds and raise property taxes dedicated to public safety by a combined 7.5 mills, generating about $26.6 million annually.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Two April 9th Tax Proposals Deserve Public Support

Mar 17, 2016

Even the generally tax-averse Bureau of Governmental Research called the streets and capital improvements proposal a “more holistic approach.”

Source: Uptown Messenger

Proposed tax hike in New Orleans for police, fire departments would be ‘major commitment’

Mar 16, 2016

“The City Council and administration must hold the NOPD accountable for achieving its goals and carefully calibrate funding to the department’s true needs,” the report says. “The goals should include increasing the number of officers assigned to calls for service.”

Source: The Advocate

BGR supports April 9 tax vote for N.O. police, fire, street repairs

Mar 16, 2016

The Bureau of Governmental Research has come out in support of two tax proposals on the April 9 ballot in New Orleans, one to increase funding for police and firefighters, the other to pay for street repairs and other improvements.

Source: WWL-TV

City officials eyeing new and extended taxes to pay for streets, drainage work

Jan 19, 2016

Bureau of Governmental Research President Celeste Coco-Ewing urged members of the task force to review a report the nonpartisan think tank released in November detailing how the use of dedicated funding streams means that while some areas of local government are scrambling, certain well-funded efforts such as the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center are flush.

Source: The Advocate

Fix My Streets group gets crash course in city finance; new taxes under consideration

Jan 19, 2016

Celeste Coco Ewing, president and CEO of the Bureau of Governmental Research, recommended working group members evaluate the nonprofit watchdog’s most recent report on city tax dedications. While stopping short of suggesting how the city spends its tax revenue, the report from November examines how scarce resources in some areas of city government are offset with flush coffers in others.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Fix My Streets committee hears litany of complaints from citizens

Jan 19, 2016

“We found out that there was about a billion dollars of local tax revenue,” said the Bureau of Governmental Research’s Celeste Coco-Ewing. “Of that, about three percent of that local tax revenue goes to roads.”

Source: WWL-TV

With tax revenues all tied up, can New Orleans meet its needs?: Celeste Coco-Ewing

Dec 11, 2015

Policymakers also owe it to the public to find a way to deploy existing tax revenues optimally and should simultaneously take steps toward that goal.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Mayor Landrieu appoints task force to identify New Orleans’ infrastructure needs

Dec 7, 2015

A recent report by the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) noted that local taxpayers ante up more than $1 billion a year, but only about a quarter of that goes toward general city services. The rest is dedicated to a wide array of services and entities, some of which have huge cash reserves.

Source: Gambit

DuBos: City should consider un-dedicating some taxes

Dec 1, 2015

Mayor Mitch Landrieu wants a special task force to find ways to pay for better streets. That task force should read a recent report by the Bureau of Governmental Research. BGR noted that local taxpayers pony up more than a billion dollars a year, but only about a quarter of that goes toward general city purposes. The rest has been dedicated, much of it in piecemeal fashion over the years.

Source: WWL-TV

Mitch Landrieu appoints group to fix New Orleans streets

Nov 30, 2015

From past research and reports from groups like the Bureau of Governmental Research, the City estimates that an additional $9.3 billion is needed over the next 20 to 30 years to completely reconstruct the City’s streets and subsurface infrastructure, as well as to maintain streets in fair or better condition.

Source: WGNO

A $1 billion puzzler: Are New Orleans’ taxing priorities ripe for revamp?

Nov 10, 2015

In a new report, the watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research used the stalled convention center expansion, along with several examples, to call for a full-scale appraisal of just where every tax dollar in New Orleans ends up and a setting of new priorities in a city of fatted calves and long-neglected corners.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

BGR: Taxes in New Orleans may not be funding city’s priorities

Nov 10, 2015

Rather than bolstering public safety or fixing the city’s streets, much of the tax money that New Orleans collects is going to agencies devoted to promoting tourism, according to a new report from the nonprofit Bureau of Governmental Research that raises questions about whether dedicated taxes are funding services that are out of step with the priorities of residents.

Source: The Advocate

Where do New Orleanians’ tax dollars go? New report says maybe not toward top priorities

Nov 10, 2015

The most stark example in BGR’s report is the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, a state agency that is funded in part by such a dedicated tax and that the report says has built up a “startling” surplus of $200 million, five times the center’s annual operating budget of $40.2 million.

Source: The Advocate

Sediment diversions, La. 1 bridge on Wednesday coastal authority agenda

Oct 20, 2015

“Reversing Louisiana’s land loss is the ultimate economic development project: It is essential to south Louisiana’s long-term viability,” BGR’s statement said.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

The elevation work on Louisiana Highway 1 is needed, but not at the expense of coastal restoration

Oct 20, 2015

“If the CPRA board votes to redirect coastal restoration funds to the bridge project, it could undermine the CPRA’s widely praised master plan, which was approved just three years ago,” the Bureau of Governmental Research commented.

Source: The Advocate

Key vote expected Wednesday on proposal to use extra coastal restoration funding on La. 1

Oct 20, 2015

“In the context of a $50 billion master plan that is far from funded, the supposed surplus in coastal restoration funding is a mirage,” BGR said in a release.

Source: The Advocate

Landrieu: Civil judges’ call for a new courthouse is not in taxpayers’ interest

Nov 5, 2013

What’s more, a controversial Bureau of Governmental Research report suggested the civil court could function more efficiently by cutting its number of judges from 14 to about seven.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Major changes to Sewerage & Water Board on Saturday’s ballot

Oct 16, 2013

“The infrastructure has been in terrible condition. There’s huge investment coming this way,” said Janet Howard with the Bureau of Governmental Research. Howard said as Orleans Parish gears up to spend billions of dollars to improve its sewerage and water systems, how the board is governed also needs to be revamped.

Source: WWL-TV

In Jefferson Parish, water, sewer and school taxes are essential: Editorial

Oct 6, 2013

As BGR pointed out in its analysis, the percentage of Jefferson students in D- or F-graded schools has fallen from 65 percent in 2011 to 27 percent this year. Half of the parish’s 80 public schools have improved by a letter grade, and the number of schools with A or B ratings has doubled in two years, BGR said.

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Watchdog group recommends JP voters renew taxes they already voted against

Sep 30, 2013

Monday, the independent budget watchdog group, Bureau of Governmental Research released a study providing an analysis for why voters should support both propositions.

Source: WWL-TV

BGR urges water board to delay director search

Aug 21, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research sent out a letter Tuesday urging the Sewerage & Water Board to delay its search for a new executive director until after city residents vote on a charter amendment that could result in a new board being seated by January.

Source: The Advocate

One month before citizens vote to change board, SW&B board could choose new director

Aug 20, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research is urging the Orleans Parish Sewerage & Water Board to delay its search for a new executive director. The group is arguing that it makes no sense for the current board, which may not be in place much longer, to hire the new director.

Source: WWL-TV

BGR wants delay in search for Sewerage and Water Board leader

Aug 20, 2013

BGR notes that a vote in October could shake up the way the board is put together. Therefore, it wants the selection process to be put on hold until after the vote.

Source: FOX 8

BGR: the New Orleans S&WB should delay its search for a new executive director

Aug 20, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research advised that the water board wait until New Orleans voters rule on the reforms that will appear on the Oct. 19 special election ballot before selecting a successor to outgoing Executive Director Marcia St. Martin.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Group says water board’s woes unlikely to improve soon

Jul 23, 2013

It’s the fifth time in the past three years that New Orleans residents have had to boil their water because of a pressure failure. Watchdog group BGR, says it’s a problem unlikely to improve anytime soon, even with significant rate increases over the next few years

Source: WWL-TV

BGR says water issues won’t be adequately addressed by millage increase

Jul 23, 2013

But the Bureau of Governmental Research takes a different spin. “The part getting the least amount of investment is the water system and that’s the part that drives everybody crazy,” said Janet Howard, with BGR.

Source: FOX 8

Questions of would-be WTC developers are revealing

Jul 17, 2013

The question of who would operate the consortium’s proposed structure also was raised by the Bureau of Governmental Research in a report released earlier this month.

Source: The Advocate

Iko-icon

Jul 9, 2013

As for the Tricentennial Consortium’s proposal, it’s hard to improve on the description by the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR), which called it “an unspecified iconic tourist attraction.” Even more confusing, according to the BGR: The tower concept described in the RFP is merely a “placeholder” — which makes the rendering shown to the public meaningless.

Source: Gambit Weekly

Panel refines process for considering WTC proposals

Jul 2, 2013

(Chief Administrative Officer Andy) Kopplin, in the meeting, raised a controversial question about the city’s formal bid solicitation, which includes a vague dictate that proposals “should be privately financed,” with no further explanation. The Bureau of Governmental Research issued a report Monday criticizing that and other unexplained directives as “not exactly a mandate.”

Source: CityBusiness

Flaws undermine WTC redevelopment plans

Jul 2, 2013

A letter that BGR President and CEO Janet Howard sent to Mayor Mitch Landrieu in February described the city’s RFP as vague and ambiguous. Specifically, she was critical of the selection criteria and their unclear connection to the RFP’s goals as well as open-ended language concerning the use of public subsidies.

Source: CityBusiness

Bidders for World Trade Center site compete for public support

Jul 1, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research released an analysis of the three bids in a report titled ‘Three Visions For Two Canal Street’ which concludes that the future of the riverfront could hinge on the city’s choice.

Source: WWL-TV

BGR evaluates proposals for redeveloping World Trade Center

Jul 1, 2013

Before it selects a project to move forward with, the committee assigned to evaluate three proposals for redeveloping the World Trade Center should determine, among other things, the direct and indirect fiscal benefits of each proposal, the feasibility of the plans and the adequacy of the compensation the city will receive for leasing the distinctive building, the watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research said in a report released on Monday.

Source: The Advocate

BGR notes lean details in WTC site proposals

Jul 1, 2013

The committee of city officials that will review three proposals Tuesday to redevelop the former World Trade Center will not have at its disposal a current, city-commissioned appraisal of the 33-story tower, according to a report the Bureau of Government Research released this afternoon.

Source: CityBusiness

City considers what to do with WTC site

Jul 1, 2013

And just 24 hours before the selection committee is set to meet and rank the proposals, the non-profit Bureau of Governmental Research released a report on the bids. BGR isn’t taking a position on which proposal would be best, instead laying out the main points of each one.

Source: Fox 8

What Will Happen to the World Trade Center? City Meeting Tuesday

Jul 1, 2013

A watchdog group, the Bureau of Governmental Research, noted in a new report that the World Trade Center’s value hasn’t been appraised for several years. It says that makes it hard to tell if the city’s getting its money’s worth on any of the proposals.

Source: WWNO

New Orleans committee to evaluate proposals for former World Trade Center site on Tuesday

Jul 1, 2013

Also on Monday, the Bureau of Governmental Research released an analysis of the three proposals the committee will consider, offering no conclusions on which is the best but pointing out that their wide disparity and in many cases lack of specificity and detail could make it hard for the committee to reach a decision.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Da winnas & da loozas

Jun 7, 2013

The final S&WB reform bill more closely resembles the recommendations of the Bureau of Governmental Research than the bill Landrieu pushed.

Source: Gambit Weekly

Sewerage and Water Board overhaul approved by Legislature, not exactly as Landrieu envisioned

Jun 6, 2013

At one point in the Legislative process, the bill would have allowed (the mayor) to reject the list of nominations made by that council. But that element, which was opposed by the Bureau of Governmental Research, was eliminated in the final bill.

Source: The Times-Picayune

New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board overhaul bill goes back to giving mayor’s office control

May 22, 2013

The mayor would be able to decline any of the selection committee’s nominees, at which point the committee would have to reconvene to come up with additional names. The Bureau of Governmental Research, a think tank, has pushed against providing this veto power, arguing it could sway the committee to nominate only those the mayor wanted and could politicize the process.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Garland Robinette speaks with BGR’s Peter Reichard about pension funds

May 15, 2013

Source: WWL

New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board looking down the road at a new drainage fee

May 13, 2013

Raftelis has been analyzing the water board’s policies and plans for various stakeholders for more than a decade. The Bureau of Governmental Research, a private watchdog group that has been advising the S&WB about reforming its governance structure, hired the firm in 2002 to review ill-fated plans to privatize the S&WB.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Sewerage & Water Board asks firm to research new fee to fund drainage projects

May 8, 2013

A December 2012 report by the Bureau of Governmental Research noted that the sewer and water rate increase “would cover only a portion of the S&WB’s capital needs. The new revenue could not be used to address drainage system needs,” estimated at $356 million over eight years.

Source: The Lens

Amendments to S&WB reform package cut mayoral veto, add New Orleans City Council appointees

May 8, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research, a watchdog group that advised the mayor and the S&WB on the reforms, objected to the veto clause last month, expressing concern that it would give the mayor the ability to pack the board with hand-picked members.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Voters decide CCC bridge toll fate

May 3, 2013

The Bureau of Governmental Research disagrees — the independent watchdog says the state is obligated to maintain the bridge, tolls or not.

Source: WWL Radio

Lee Zurik Investigation: S&WB’s overtime policy means millions down the drain

May 1, 2013

“To have overtime at these rates just is a red flag that something needs to be evaluated,” said Janet Howard, head of the Bureau of Governmental Research, in our 2010 report. She called the overtime payments a huge waste of resources.

Source: Fox 8

Reform bill doesn’t go far enough to curb political power over S&WB, BGR says

Apr 26, 2013

As the Legislature takes up long-awaited changes meant to attenuate political influence on the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board, one government watchdog group said the changes don’t go far enough.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Opinion: Voters should tank CCC tolls

Apr 26, 2013

A report from the Bureau of Governmental Research, stating its opposition to the toll renewal in the November election, noted that just 19 cents of every dollar collected in tolls goes toward bridge operations.

Source: CityBusiness

With Crescent City Connection election pending, BGR re-releases report against measure

Apr 23, 2013

With early voting for the May 4 election underway, the Bureau of Governmental Research again has released its report from last year opposing tolls on the Crescent City Connection. The nonprofit makes no changes from its August examination that recommends voters in New Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes vote against the measure that would keep tolls on the bridge for 20 years.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Kill the CCC tolls once and for all: James Varney

Apr 20, 2013

Indeed, it was those clear arguments against the tolls that led the Bureau of Governmental Research – not some wild-eyed anti-tax outfit – to conclude the toll continuation should have gone down to defeat last November. As the BGR report highlighted, only 19 cents of every toll dollar goes to keeping the Crescent City Connection running.

Source: The Times-Picayune

Mayor addresses Black-on-Black violence to the BGR

Apr 8, 2013

In his legislative address before the Bureau of Governmental Research, Mayor Mitch Landrieu called for an end to young male black-on-black violence. “We need to stop the killing,” the New Orleans mayor declared. “When I give this speech, people feel helpless. We’re not.”

Source: The Louisiana Weekly

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