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Analysis of government policies, finance, management, and administration

BGR Reports

BGR Examines Proposed Orleans School Tax Renewals

Sep 27, 2017

Ballot Issues

In On the Ballot: Orleans Parish School Tax Renewals, October 14, 2017, BGR examines the proposed 10-year renewal of three existing property taxes for Orleans Parish public schools.

2017 Candidate Q&A Election Series

Sep 14, 2017

2017 Candidate Q&A

BGR provides New Orleans voters with its 2017 Candidate Q&A Election Series. For the October 14, 2017 elections, BGR submitted questions to all mayoral and City Council candidates on public safety, infrastructure and other important public policy issues facing the City of New Orleans government. BGR compiled the answers of the candidates who responded and will release them in installments for each race. Click on the links below to access the individual installments.*
Read the media release.
Mayor
City Council At Large Division 1
City Council At Large Division 2
City Council District A
City Council District B
City Council District C
City Council District E

*No candidate from District D responded.

Paying for Street Maintenance in New Orleans

May 8, 2017

Paying for Street Maintenance in New Orleans

In Paying for Streets: Options for Funding Road Maintenance in New Orleans, BGR explores ways to fund the routine maintenance necessary to safeguard the City’s $2 billion, once-in-a-lifetime capital investment in the street network.

Aligning Louisiana’s Nonprofit Property Tax Exemption with National Norms

Mar 7, 2017

March 2017 nonprofit letter

In an open letter to the Louisiana Legislature, BGR reiterates the problems with the state’s unusual nonprofit property tax exemptions. The letter explains the deficiencies in the current provisions, demonstrates their unusual status in the context of other states’ requirements and presents a template for a constitutional amendment.

Do Stormwater Fees Make Sense for New Orleans?

Feb 13, 2017

A Primer on Stormwater Fees

In Beneath the Surface: A Primer on Stormwater Fees in New Orleans, BGR explores a funding mechanism that is expanding in usage nationwide as an alternative to ad valorem property taxes.

On the Ballot: New Orleans Fire and Drainage Taxes

Nov 15, 2016

Ballot Issues

In On the Ballot: New Orleans Fire and Drainage Taxes, December 10, 2016, BGR examines and takes positions on two property tax propositions: a tax increase for fire protection services and a tax renewal for the Sewerage & Water Board’s drainage system.

BGR Cuts Paths for Pension Reform in the Metro Area

Oct 20, 2016

Pensions IV

In Reducing the Cost of Tomorrow: A Practical Guide to Pension Reform in Jefferson, Orleans and St. Tammany Parishes, BGR explores the changes to public pension benefits policymakers can make to reduce the costs and risks associated with the pension plans. The report is the fourth installment in a series of BGR pension reports.

On New Orleans’ November 8 Ballot: Proposed Police Monitor Amendment

Oct 12, 2016

Ballot Issues

In On the Ballot: New Orleans Police Monitor Charter Amendment, November 8, 2016, BGR analyzes a proposition that would allow for the permanent separation of the Independent Police Monitor from the Office of Inspector General.

Convention Center Bill Highlights Need to Rethink Local Taxation

May 11, 2016

BGR Now Logo

In Convention Center Bill Highlights Need to Rethink Local Taxation, BGR addresses a bill that would grant taxing authority to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s economic development district. The release calls for a comprehensive re-evaluation of Orleans Parish taxes, with an eye toward aligning tax revenues with the city’s most pressing needs.

Two-Authorizer Structure Critical to Charter Schools’ Success

Apr 27, 2016

1+1 Dual Authorizer report cover

In One Plus One: The Dual Authorizer Structure and the Future of New Orleans Schools, BGR seeks to inform lawmakers and the public about the charter authorizing structure in Orleans Parish and the potential risks that accompany a diminished role for the state in charter management. (The report is the second in a series on school governance; the first, The Accidental Steward: The Orleans Parish School Board as a Resource Manager in the Reform Era, is also available on this website.)

BGR Reviews Tax Propositions for Streets, Public Safety

Mar 16, 2016

Ballot Issues

In On the Ballot: New Orleans, April 9, 2016, BGR explains and analyzes two tax propositions in New Orleans: one for street work and other improvements, and a second for the police and fire departments.

Fixing Louisiana’s Costly and Unusual Nonprofit Exemptions

Mar 2, 2016

BGR Now Logo

In It’s Time for Common Sense on Nonprofit Exemptions, BGR calls on the Louisiana Legislature to address overly broad language in the state constitution that is costly to both local governments and taxpayers.

School Board Improving Financial Stewardship

Nov 18, 2015

BGR Now Logo

In School Board Takes a Key Step Toward Better Stewardship, BGR commends the Orleans Parish School Board for taking steps to preserve the bulk of its $45 million operating reserve for the benefit of the system as a whole. It also calls on the School Board to take additional steps to improve its financial stewardship over New Orleans’ unique public education system.

Rethinking Tax Dedications in New Orleans

Nov 10, 2015

The $1 Billion Question

In The $1 Billion Question: Do the Tax Dedications in New Orleans Make Sense? BGR presents a comprehensive picture of where local tax dollars are going in Orleans Parish. The report provides breakdowns of tax dedications by entity and by purpose, and gives examples of problems that can arise when tax dedications are established with little planning and accountability. It also makes recommendations to help ensure existing tax revenues are deployed optimally.

On the Ballot: West Bank Flood Protection, St. Tammany Charter Changes

Nov 3, 2015

On the Ballot: November 4, 2014

In On the Ballot: Jefferson, Orleans and St. Tammany Parishes, November 21, 2015, BGR explains, analyzes and takes positions on two tax propositions meant to sustain west bank flood protection systems and three proposed St. Tammany charter amendments.

It’s the Law: Land Use Decision Making and the Master Plan

Oct 28, 2015

BGR Now Logo

In It’s the Law: Land Use Decision Making and the Master Plan, BGR provides clarity to recent public dialogue over the extent to which the Master Plan has the force of law.

BGR Reviews Tax Propositions in Orleans, St. Bernard Parishes

Apr 8, 2015

On the Ballot: November 4, 2014

In On the Ballot: Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes, May 2, 2015, BGR explains, analyzes and takes positions on proposed taxes for the Orleans Parish Law Enforcement District, the New Orleans Public Library system and the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District in St. Bernard Parish.

Right-Sizing the Courts: A Defeat for Transparency

Mar 26, 2015

This release discusses the Louisiana Supreme Court’s refusal to hear BGR’s lawsuit seeking public access to the records and meetings of a committee charged with re-assessing the number of judges needed at each of the state’s courts.

BGR Reviews Proposed Orleans Schools Tax, Jefferson Charter Changes

Nov 6, 2014

On the Ballot: November 4, 2014

In On the Ballot: December 6, 2014, BGR explains, analyzes and takes positions on a proposed tax for the upkeep of public schools in New Orleans and 11 propositions to amend the Jefferson Parish charter.

A Trojan Horse in the Draft CZO

Oct 13, 2014

A Trojan Horse in the Draft CZO

In A Trojan Horse in the Draft CZO: Article 5 Puts Years of Planning at Risk, BGR describes the article on Planned Development Standards in the draft comprehensive zoning ordinance and the problems it poses.

BGR Reviews Contracting Reform, Sheriff’s Tax, Other Propositions

Sep 25, 2014

On the Ballot: November 4, 2014

In On the Ballot: November 4, 2014, BGR explains, analyzes and takes positions on two proposed amendments to the Home Rule Charter of the City of New Orleans, one Orleans Parish tax proposition and two constitutional amendments.

An Achilles’ Heel in the Draft CZO?

Sep 2, 2014

Clarifying Proposed Zoning Ordinance for New Orleans

In this letter to the City Planning Commission, BGR focuses on Article 5 of the draft comprehensive zoning ordinance, which would allow a wide array of exceptions to the zoning rules under vague circumstances in various neighborhoods across the city. BGR argues that, as written, Article 5 creates an Achilles’ heel in the draft CZO and potentially opens the way for a return to the let’s-make-a-deal approach that has plagued land use decision making in years past.

Fourth Time’s the Charm?

Aug 26, 2014

World Trade Center

Following the city’s announcement that it will begin a fourth Request for Proposals process to redevelop the former World Trade Center building, BGR calls for a new approach: selling the building to the highest bidder.

Special Counsel Bill Threatens Levee Boards’ Independence

May 15, 2014

BGR Now Logo

In this release, BGR addresses a bill that would require the regional flood protection authorities to get the governor’s approval before hiring special counsel. The change would expose the flood protection authorities to political pressure and intervention from the governor.

Amended SB 79 Still Threatens Levee Boards’ Independence

Apr 22, 2014

BGR Now Logo

In this release, BGR addresses a bill that would allow the governor to unilaterally remove members of regional flood protection authorities for vague reasons. The change would expose the flood protection authorities to political pressure and intervention from the governor.

Bill Would Open Floodgates to Gubernatorial Interference

Apr 15, 2014

BGR Now Logo

In this release, BGR addresses a bill that would move the regional flood protection authorities into the executive branch. The change would expose the flood protection authorities to political pressure and intervention from the governor.

Re-Engineered Appointment Process Would Weaken Levee Board Reforms

Apr 1, 2014

BGR Now Logo

In this release, BGR raises concerns about a bill pending in the state Senate that would weaken the critical reforms of local levee boards put in place in response to the 2005 levee failures.

Court Committee Lining Up to Punt Away Public Dollars

Feb 4, 2014

BGR Now Logo

In this release, BGR points out that the Supreme Court committee charged with re-assessing the number of judgeships at each of the state’s courts appears to be positioning itself to punt on the matter – at the public’s expense.

The S&WB: Looking for a Few Good Members

Jan 2, 2014

BGR Now Logo

In this release, BGR encourages qualified citizens to volunteer to serve on the newly constituted Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans.

Open, Fact-Based Process Needed to Address Judgeships

Dec 5, 2013

BGR Now Logo

In this release, BGR calls on the Supreme Court committee that is reviewing court efficiency to conduct its work in an open and transparent manner. It also urges the committee to act in a timely fashion.

Are Public Dollars Being Wasted on Excess Judgeships in Orleans Parish?

Sep 3, 2013

Judgeships

In Benchmarking the Bench: Are Public Dollars Being Wasted on Excess Judgeships in Orleans Parish? BGR presents data on the estimated need for judgeships in Orleans Parish. It also recommends steps for right-sizing the courts./files/reports/BGR_Judgeships-2013.pdf

BGR Explores Proposals to Redevelop Former World Trade Center Site

Jul 1, 2013

WTC

In 3 Visions for 2 Canal Street: The Proposals to Redevelop the Former World Trade Center Site, BGR summarizes and compares the three responses to the city’s request for proposals to redevelop this important public property.

BGR Letter Addresses S&WB Reform Effort

May 31, 2013

S&WB Meter Cover

In an open letter to the Louisiana Legislature, BGR sets forth its positions on evolving legislation to reform the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans.

The Hotel Assessment: A Question of Priorities, a Question of Propriety

May 14, 2013

BGR Now Logo

In this release, BGR examines a proposal to impose what amounts to a new hotel tax.

S&WB Governance Reform: The Next Steps Forward

May 7, 2013

BGR Now Logo

In this release, BGR discusses possible amendments to the evolving Sewerage & Water Board Reform legislation and recommends improvements.

New Orleans Firefighter Pension Woes and the Legislative Session

Apr 30, 2013

Firefighters

In Sound the Alarm: New Orleans Firefighter Pension Woes and the Legislative Session, BGR examines the New Orleans Firefighter Pension and Relief Fund – which has become a major burden for the public – and relevant bills under consideration by the Legislature.

S&WB Reforms: Creating a Strong Nomination Process

Apr 26, 2013

BGR Now Logo

In this release, BGR discusses possible amendments to pending Sewerage & Water Board Reform legislation, and makes recommendations to protect the nominating process.

Report Looks at School Board’s Performance as Financial Steward

Apr 25, 2013

School Governance

In The Accidental Steward: The Orleans Parish School Board as a Resource Manager in the Reform Era, BGR examines the School Board’s performance as the financial steward for all public schools in Orleans.

Letter Seeks Improvements to World Trade Center RFP

Mar 20, 2013

World Trade Center

In this comment letter sent to the mayor and the New Orleans Building Corp. on Feb. 19, 2013, BGR called for improvements to NOBC’s request for proposals to redevelop the World Trade Center site.

On the Mayor’s Proposed S&WB Governance Reforms

Dec 6, 2012

BGR Now Logo

In this release, BGR looks at Mayor Landrieu’s proposed Sewerage & Water Board governance reforms, with specific attention to the board member nomination process.

BGR Analyzes Proposed S&WB Rate Increases

Dec 5, 2012

S&WB Proposed Rate Increases

In Time to Pay the Pipelayer? The Proposed S&WB Rate Increases in Perspective, BGR reviews a proposal by the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans (S&WB) to raise water and sewer rates 10% a year for the next eight years. It examines the proposed water and sewer rate increases and their impacts on customers. It also examines the proposed uses of the additional funding and how far it will go in fixing the systems’ problems.

Metro Area Pension Costs and the Factors that Drive Them

Nov 9, 2012

In The Rising Cost of Yesterday: Metro Area Pension Costs and the Factors that Drive Them, BGR examines 18 defined benefit pension plans available to local government workers in Jefferson, Orleans and St. Tammany parishes (the Plans). The report tallies the costs the Plans impose on local government entities in the three parishes, and compares the pension benefits they offer to those available to private sector workers and other state and local government workers across the U.S.

S&WB Rate Increases and Reform, Hand in Hand

Oct 16, 2012

BGR Now Logo

In this release, BGR calls on the S&WB to limit rate increases temporarily to those that are necessary to meet its obligations under the federal consent decree that governs the sewer system. It states that additional increases should be contingent on, and adopted after, the implementation of meaningful governance reforms.

On the Ballot: November 6, 2012

Oct 1, 2012

Ballot Issues

In On the Ballot: November 6, 2012, BGR examines three proposed constitutional amendments, two propositions pertaining to multiple parishes in the New Orleans area, a proposed change to the City of New Orleans charter and two local tax propositions.

On the Ballot: The Crescent City Connection Toll Proposition

Aug 15, 2012

CCC Tolls Ballot Issue

In On the Ballot: The Crescent City Connection Toll Proposition, BGR examines tolls on the bridge in the context of the proposition on the ballot in Jefferson, Orleans and Plaquemines parishes.

Comment Letter on Neighborhood Participation Proposal

Jul 2, 2012

In a letter to the City Planning Commission, BGR examines the commission’s draft Neighborhood Participation Program for Land Use Actions. The letter calls for changes to enhance the integrity of the process.

Read the letter here.

BGR Launches Exploration of Public Pensions

Apr 19, 2012

Pensions Cover 2

Understanding Pensions: A Primer on Public Employee Pension Plans is the first in a series of reports on the public pension plans in which local governments in Jefferson, Orleans and St. Tammany parishes participate.

Your Tax Dollars at Work - and in Retirement

Mar 28, 2012

BGR Now Logo

This edition of Now looks at the issue of public pension costs.

Making Choice Right: Can Private School Vouchers Live Up to Their Promises?

Mar 13, 2012

Voucher Report Cover

In Making Choice Right: Can Private School Vouchers Live Up to Their Promises? BGR examines the statewide school voucher program that the Governor is proposing, as well as the pilot program that has been in effect in Orleans Parish since 2008.

The S&WB Infrastructure Bonanza: Is Good Governance Part of the Deal?

Feb 29, 2012

BGR Now Logo

This edition of Now addresses the proposed funding increases for the Sewerage & Water Board in the context of necessary governance reforms.

The Nonprofit Exemption: Bad News for Taxpayers

Jan 31, 2012

BGR Now Logo

This edition of Now addresses problems associated with the nonprofit exemption, and what can be done to solve them.

Clarifying the Draft Zoning Ordinance

Nov 3, 2011

Clarifying Proposed Zoning Ordinance for New Orleans

In this letter to the City Planning Commission, BGR suggests ways to make New Orleans’ draft comprehensive zoning ordinance easier for the public to use and understand. BGR enclosed with the letter a copy of a map showing how zoning changes might be better illustrated.

The S&WB’s Governance Problems and Options for Reform

Oct 25, 2011

The S&WB's Governance Problems and Options for Reform

In Making the Waterworks Work: Fixing the Sewerage & Water Board’s Governance Problems, BGR examines how the agency’s governance has contributed to its problems, presents options for reforms and makes recommendations for change.

BGR Examines Local, State Items on Fall Ballots

Oct 6, 2011

Ballot Issues

In On the Ballot: Local and State Propositions, October and November 2011, BGR examines charter amendments in Jefferson and Orleans parishes, tax propositions in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany parishes, and six amendments to the state constitution.

Paid Detail Policies and the NOPD

Aug 2, 2011

Moonlighting

In Moonlighting: An Overview of Policies Governing Paid Police Details, BGR examines the New Orleans Police Department’s existing and proposed police detail policies and procedures, and evaluates their adequacy in light of best practices.

BGR Comments on Proposed Amendments to School Facilities Master Plan

Aug 1, 2011

In this letter to the Orleans Parish School Board, State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Recovery School District Superintendent, BGR joins with seven local business and civic organizations to ask the school districts to go back to the drawing board on proposed amendments to New Orleans’ School Facilities Master Plan.

BGR Comments on Proposed Amendment to Layoff Rule

Jun 28, 2011

In this letter to the members of the Civil Service Commission, BGR supports the concept proposed by the administration to amend the Civil Service rule related to layoffs, but raises concerns about certain aspects of the amendment.

The Future of the Crescent City Connection

Apr 26, 2011

CCC

In Over the River: The Future of the Crescent City Connection Bridge & Ferries, BGR examines the implications of allowing bridge tolls to expire and options for funding the bridge and ferries in the future.

Addressing the High Cost of Nonprofit Exemptions

Mar 15, 2011

Nonprofit Exemption

In The Nonprofit Margin: Addressing the Costs of the Nonprofit Exemption in New Orleans (March 2011), BGR examines the impact of the nonprofit exemption on government finances and tax rates and various approaches for mitigating that impact.

BGR Presentations to the Tax Fairness Commission

Feb 10, 2011

Tax Fairness Commission - General

The Bureau of Governmental Research made presentations before the New Orleans Tax Fairness Commission on February 3, 2011 and February 23, 2011.

The first presentation, Taxation in New Orleans, examines the City’s tax picture, with particular emphasis on property taxes. Read it here.

The second presentation, The Industrial Development Board and PILOT Subsidies, provides information on the Industrial Development Board of New Orleans and the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) subsidies that it awards to developments. Read it here.

BGR Reviews 2011 Budget

Nov 24, 2010

2011 Budget Letter

On November 24, BGR sent a letter to the Mayor and City Council on the proposed 2011 budget for the City of New Orleans. The letter contains suggestions that would free up millions of dollars.

Read the letter.

Inside Outsourcing: City Contracting

Nov 8, 2010

Inside Outsourcing

The Bureau of Governmental Research today releases Inside Outsourcing: A Year in the Life of City Contracting. Building from an analysis of hundreds of City contracts in effect during 2009, BGR provides a broad overview of City contracting and discusses key problem areas that require the attention of the current administration and City Council.

Addressing Infrastructure Needs in New Orleans

Aug 11, 2010

Infrastructure Needs

In The Price of Civilization: Addressing Infrastructure Needs in New Orleans, BGR provides information on New Orleans’ core infrastructure needs and assesses the community’s capacity to fund those needs.

Public School Governance in New Orleans

May 19, 2010

Managing Innovation

In Managing Innovation: Models for Governing the System of Public Schools in New Orleans (May 2010), BGR and Tulane University’s Cowen Institute present five potential models for governing public schools in New Orleans and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.

A Need for Clarity: The Revised Master Plan

Apr 7, 2010

A Need for Clarity

In A Need for Clarity: The Revised New Orleans 2030 Draft Plan (April 2010), BGR continues its work to improve the draft master plan. While the report recognizes limited improvements from the previous draft, it finds that the revised draft does not live up to its mission in key areas. The report provides specific recommendations for improving the document.

Contracting Reform in New Orleans

Mar 17, 2010

Contracting with Confidence

Contracting with Confidence: Professional Services Contracting Reform in New Orleans (March 2010) presents a new model to improve contract administration and restore faith in the contracting process.

Questions for a New Mayor

Jan 19, 2010

Mayoral Questions

With the primary on the way, BGR submitted questions to all mayoral candidates on topics in four areas: the city’s budget, city services, infrastructure and blight. Four candidates – Rob Couhig, John Georges, Mitch Landrieu and James Perry – responded. BGR is presenting the Q&A to the public in a web-only, four-part series, Questions for a New Mayor.

Press Release: BGR Begins Four-Part Q&A Series with 2010 Mayoral Candidates

Building a Model Assessment System in New Orleans

Dec 14, 2009

In All Fairness

As the campaign for the city’s soon-to-be consolidated assessor’s office begins, BGR releases In All Fairness: Building a Model Assessment System in New Orleans. The report explains what the new citywide assessor must do to create a fair, efficient and transparent assessment system in Orleans Parish.

Neighborhood Participation and the Master Plan

Oct 27, 2009

Connecting Neighborhoods

In this report, BGR examines the New Orleans draft master plan’s proposal for citizen participation.

In Search of the Master Plan

Oct 14, 2009

In Search of the Master Plan

BGR’s report, In Search of the Master Plan: Making the New Orleans 2030 Draft Plan Work, provides analysis and recommendations on the draft of the New Orleans master plan that is currently before the public.

Master Plan Not Ready for Public Hearing

Oct 12, 2009

In this release, BGR calls on the City Planning Commission to delay public hearings on the master plan until the missing portions — including chapters on citizen participation and plan implementation — have been released to the public.

In the Private Interest: A Review of the Lake Forest Plaza TIF Proposal

Sep 16, 2009

In the Private Interest: A Review of the Lake Forest Plaza TIF Proposal

In this report entitled In the Private Interest: A Review of the Lake Forest Plaza TIF Proposal, BGR analyzes a tax increment financing (TIF) proposal by the owners of the former mall site to use public funds to clear up debts on the site and redevelop it.

BGR’s Letter Makes Recommendations on the Economic Development Fund

Feb 4, 2009

On Feb. 3, BGR sent a letter to Councilman Arnold Fielkow, Chairman of City Council’s Special Projects and Economic Development Committee, on the use and operation of the city’s Economic Development Fund. The letter recommends that the city abandon the current practice of directing grants to a handful of individual business ventures or nonprofit activities. Instead, it urges the city to use the EDF funds to fund economic development functions and initiatives that benefit multiple businesses.

Rethinking the World Trade Center Building Transaction

Jan 15, 2009

Today the Bureau of Governmental Research releases Rethinking the World Trade Center Building Transaction. The report reviews the New Orleans Building Corporation’s approach to redeveloping the World Trade Center tower and parking garage in downtown New Orleans. For more than 10 years, the city has unsuccessfully pursued redevelopment in partnership with the master tenant of the buildings. BGR recommends that the city abandon that approach, and instead seek to buy out the master tenant and sell the buildings.

On the Ballot: November 2008

Oct 14, 2008

On the Ballot: Jefferson, Orleans and State Propositions, November 2008 (10/14/08) provides analysis of local propositions as well as amendments to the state constitution appearing on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Maintaining New Orleans’ Streets

Oct 1, 2008

Street Smarts (October 2008)

Street Smarts: Maintaining and Managing New Orleans’ Road Network provides an overview of street management systems and explores the challenges New Orleans faces in maintaining its streets.

Schools Plan: Unanswered Questions

Sep 24, 2008

BGR’s release, School Facilities Plan Leaves Financing Questions Unanswered (9/24/08), examines the financial component of the School Facilities Master Plan for Orleans Parish.

On the Ballot: October 2008

Sep 16, 2008

In On the Ballot: New Orleans, October 2008 (9/16/08), BGR provides analysis and takes positions on two ballot propositions: one to issue bonds for criminal justice facilities and another to protect the newly created Office of Inspector General.

On the Ballot: Orleans School Taxes

Jun 23, 2008

On The Ballot - Schools (July 2008)

On the Ballot: Orleans Parish School Tax Renewals provides an overview of four New Orleans property tax millages up for voter renewal on July 19.

World Trade Center Letter

Jun 19, 2008

BGR has sent a letter to members of the New Orleans City Council expressing concerns about certain aspects of the proposed redevelopment of the World Trade Center property downtown (6/19/08).

Mending the Urban Fabric: Part 2

Apr 14, 2008

Mending the Urban Fabric - Part 2

Mending the Urban Fabric: Blight in New Orleans is a two-part series analyzing blighted property programs and recommending reforms. In Part I, BGR addressed the structure, goals and strategy of New Orleans’ blight programs. In Part II, BGR focuses on code enforcement and procedures for successful redevelopment.

Drafting a TIF Policy for New Orleans

Mar 12, 2008

The City of New Orleans is working on a draft policy governing tax increment financing. BGR submitted comments on the February 2008 draft at the request of the City Council’s Special Development Projects and Economic Development Committee. The letter recommends that the City look to San Antonio’s TIF policy for guidance. In November, BGR submitted a letter commenting on a City TIF policy report.

Mending the Urban Fabric: Part 1

Feb 12, 2008

Mending the Urban Fabric - Part 1

This is the first in a two-part series analyzing New Orleans’ blighted property programs and recommending reforms.

Open Letters: The Future of N.O.‘s Blight Programs

Dec 10, 2007

BGR has been conducting extensive research on blighted property issues in New Orleans and is preparing a study for future publication. Drawing on that research, it is also responding to current developments. On December 11, BGR sent a letter to the City’s Office of Recovery Management recommending changes to local blighted property programs. The week before, it sent a letter to the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority regarding its proposal to the Louisiana Recovery Authority for the properties the State is acquiring through the Road Home program.

The Clarity Deficit

Nov 28, 2007

This release calls on the City of New Orleans to conform to charter requirements in producing its capital budget.

Stop the Insanity on Subsidies

Sep 17, 2007

In the face of mounting developer requests for subsidies, this release calls for the City of New Orleans and the Industrial Development Board of New Orleans to stop approving subsidies until they have implemented promised policies and procedures.

Jumping the Gun on Recovery Plans

Sep 5, 2007

This release (9/5/07) raises concerns about proposed budget approvals for the Office of Recovery Management’s plans in advance of a public vetting of those plans.

Of Equitable Assessments and Lower Tax Rates

Aug 14, 2007

BGR provided this piece for publication in Gambit Weekly, explaining the ways in which significantly increased assessments can be about fairness and the common good.

UNOP Revisited: An Analysis of the Revised Citywide Plan

May 21, 2007

In UNOP Revisited: An Analysis of the Revised Citywide Plan, BGR follows up on its previous report on the Unified New Orleans Plan citywide product, focusing on the revised plan. It offers recommendations to the City Planning Commission for further revisions.

Budgeting in a Time of Crisis

May 17, 2007

In Budgeting in a Time of Crisis: A Review of the City of New Orleans’ 2007 Budgets, BGR examines the City’s operating and capital budgets for 2007, the second post-Katrina fiscal year.

Public Investment, Private Developers

May 15, 2007

In Public Investment, Private Developers: How Louisiana Deployed Its GO Zone Housing Tax Credits, BGR analyzes the unit production and geographic distribution of developments awarded $1.7 billion worth of Gulf Opportunity Zone Housing Tax Credits. In addition, it analyzes the financing and costs of projects that received tax credit awards in December 2006. Developments in that group were eligible to “piggy-back” the tax credits with loans of federal Community Development Block Grant funds made available through a Louisiana Recovery Authority program.

Seeking Subsidies on Top of Subsidies

May 3, 2007

In a follow-up to Protecting New Orleans’ Tax Base: Which PILOTs Should Fly? BGR raises concerns about requests for local property tax subsidies to housing developments that have already received subsidies through state and federal programs.

Protecting New Orleans’ Tax Base: Which PILOTs Should Fly?

Mar 12, 2007

In Protecting New Orleans’ Tax Base: Which PILOTs Should Fly? BGR addresses New Orleans’ system for handling property tax subsidies through the payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) mechanism. This report comes at a time when requests for such subsidies are increasing.

Not Ready for Prime Time: The Citywide Plan

Mar 5, 2007

BGR provides an analysis of the nearly 600-page draft Citywide Plan, the centerpiece of the Unified New Orleans Plan process.

Letter to City Council: Office of Inspector General

Oct 12, 2006

In September 2006, members of the New Orleans City Council introduced an ordinance to establish an Office of Inspector General. Read BGR’s letter to the City Council as well as the version of the ordinance introduced on October 19 and the final version approved by City Council on November 2.

Issues on the November 7 Ballot

Oct 10, 2006

On the Ballot is an analysis of proposed constitutional amendments of particular significance to the New Orleans region. This issue covers amendments that went before voters on November 7, 2006 — including consolidation of assessors.

Issues on the September 30 Ballot

Sep 18, 2006

On September 30, Louisiana voters were asked to approve 13 constitutional amendments. This report focuses on those that are amendments relevant to Greater New Orleans in four arenas: coastal restoration and flood/hurricane protection, expropriation, the homestead exemption, and unfunded state mandates.

The Road Home Rental Housing Program: Consequences for New Orleans

Sep 18, 2006

BGR’s report on the Louisiana Recovery Authority’s Road Home rental housing program raises serious concerns about the implications of the program in New Orleans.

Reports Archives