[StBernard] St. Bernard Recovery and Growth Plan 2008

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Fri Feb 8 20:09:04 EST 2008

Today, we present the St. Bernard Parish Recovery and Growth Plan. We
release this plan on the 30* day since taking office and during the past 30
days, we have embarked on an evaluation and analysis of where we stand, our
previous attempts and efforts, and the resources at our disposal to achieve
full recovery and growth for our community. This Recovery Plan is more than
a 100 day plan and serves as a reflection of the current state of affairs in
St. Bernard Parish, a realistic identification of the needs of this
community, and identifies specific programs designed to address our
immediate mid-range and long-term goals for St. Bernard Parish. Included
within this plan are milestones which will be realized within the first 100
days of the Taffaro administration and will become the base for our full
recovery and growth.

What is revealed today accounts for a shared vision from the Taffaro
administration, this parish council, and the citizens of this great parish.
There is little doubt that the involvement and input from the citizen base
has never been stronger nor has this been such a needed part of our local
government's functioning.

We release this information knowing it to be ambitious, but realistic and
with measurable terms to evaluate our success. This is obviously politically
risky but it provides a basis for accountability from your elected
leadership and a designated map to our future as a community. Recognizing
that every plan requires flexibility for success, this Recovery Plan
includes the framework from which to operate, but remains a living venture
open to adjustment when such is in the best interest of St. Bernard's
recovery and growth.

Also within this plan are identified critical issues, the recovery items
that are bar none necessary for our recovery to move forward. While there
are items within this critical list that have the potential to dramatically
disrupt or enhance the recovery pace and progress, be assured that no one
item will deter the reality of our recovery in St. Bernard Parish. We must
be able to see beyond the immediacy of the recovery needs and make decisions
that will plant seeds for generations yet to have a voice in their
community. Balancing the needs of today with the growth of tomorrow must be
and is a part of this plan.


Perhaps one of the most critical features of our recovery has been the
development of partners in our recovery and growth efforts. Other than the
founding years of our community and the Battle of New Orleans, St Bernard
has never been in need of such a wide array of partnerships. Developing
partnerships with the State government, specifically with the new Governor's
Office, with the state's Recovery Authority, and the Governor's Office of
Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is essential to our success.
Having met with Governor Jindal and his top recovery assistants, these
partnerships are in development.

Likewise , because much of the recovery related activity reaches to
Washington, D.C., a partnership with top level FEMA officials and our own
Federal Delegation must be nurtured. Early contacts and repaired commitments
appear promising, but follow-up is critical to these relationships. As these
relationships offer a partnership of cooperation and open dialogue, much
needed assistance in the recovery process is anticipated in the
not-so-distant future. Connecting partners from Washington to Baton Rouge to
the St. Bernard metropolitan area has been a missing link and we have begun
construction on the infrastructure of these partnerships.

Let us not forget the value of the private and non-profit partnerships that
have provided possibly the most significant individual support during our
response and recovery. Partnerships with City of Hope, the Pastors United in
Prayer, the St. Bernard Sheriffs Department, the St. Bernard Public School
System, the St. Bernard Recreation Corp., Operation Blessing, the National
Relief Network, Habitat for Humanity, Americorps, the Meraux Foundation,
Assisting Hand.org, the Franciscan Ministries, the Archdiocese of New
Orleans, the St. Bernard Port, St. Bernard Community Playground, the
Citizen's Recovery Committee, the citizen lead neighborhood and civic clubs,
and the local production refineries have all contributed greatly to getting
to this point. We now face creating a synergy of these partnerships so that
we can harness the power of all of the partnerships pulling in unison toward
a common recovery and growth mission.


Establish routine face to face contact with

State level leaders, including the Governor

Federal level leaders at FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers, and Chairman

State level legislators

Federal Delegation

Establish a standing meeting time for updates with the Governor's

(Paul Rainwater) and the Director of FEMA's Gulf Coast Recovery (James

Follow up initial contact with face to face update with Chief Paulison and
Deputy Chief Johnston with FEMA

Meet with our major partners in the recovery and growth mission as listed
but not limited to

the above, communicate the general list of needs of our community, and sign
partnerships of understanding identifying the areas of support each is
committed to addressing.

Support legislation from the Parish Council placing the St. Bernard Library
in the Chalmette High School Expansion Project

Assist with the reconstruction of the St. Bernard Community Playground at
Torres Park Assist in the opening of a Recreational Skate Park by partnering
with City of Hope Develop a quarterly resident forum Establish a Kitchen


More than just a ball field here or a gymnasium there, the St. Bernard
Parish Recreation Department has historically been a source to promote
community pride and unity. Additionally, the underlying quality of life that
a well established and functional recreation department can bring to a
community is priceless. The goal of the St. Bernard Parish Recreation
Department is to provide an opportunity for both the children and adults of
St. Bernard Parish to enjoy recreational and leisure activities designed to
promote sportsmanship, skill development, and healthy competition in an
atmosphere that supports community growth and unity. To accomplish this we
must provide facilities and events which are safe, state of the art, and
provide a reasonable draw for non-residents to visit.

The St. Bernard Parish Recreation Department faces monumental challenges in
both programming and facility development. The course that we undertake
today will literally shape the future of recreation for the next three
generations and beyond. While addressing the immediate needs of the
community, we will embark on a journey that will provide for the future of

Included in this vision of recreation is to develop a self-sustaining
department through event growth and partnering with the St. Bernard
Recreation Corp.


Compose an annual calendar of leagues that closely coincides with the LA
High School Athletic Association Calendar

Develop a complete set of rules and standards for each sport and leisure

Develop an age appropriate set of skills to achieve in each child that will
drive the instruction for each age group in each sport

Implement a mandatory coaches training program

Implement an officials' training program and a St. Bernard Officials'

Through partnerships, Re-Construct the baseball diamonds at Vista Park,
Carolyn Park, Chalmette Middle Field, Gauthier, and Patricia Park for 2008

Reestablish Parish All-Star program

Partner with Tourism to bring a revenue generating event to the department

Establish a centralized and computerized recreation system

Begin improvements to Isleno Complex

Begin construction on the Val Reiss Baseball and Recreation Complex

Begin construction on the Hannan Football and Soccer Complex

Begin repairs and open the St. Bernard Teen Center


Paul Noel Gym Sammy Fnchter Gym

Gauthier Gym Cypress Gardens Gym

Violet #2 Park Torres Park

Host an event in the North Hall of the Auditorium Complex by early Fall,
2008 Begin renovation to Civic Auditorium Grand Ballroom


One of the basic sets of infrastructure services in any community is the
ability to provide safe drinking and potable water to citizens and a means
for the movement and treatment of household sewerage. After Hurricane
Katrina there were significant disruptions in the services to the resident
and the commercial population in St. Bernard. Based on a Vz-cent sales tax
issue that was passed overwhelmingly by the public in 1999, improvements to
both the water and sewer systems were to be undertaken.

With the financial crisis relative to recovery work that is ongoing, a new
strategy to address the decaying water plant and the completion of the
consolidation of the wastewater treatment system is necessary. It has become
evident that a misappropriated use of 10 million dollars will not be
replaced through FEMA reimbursements and a shortfall in the area of nearly 6
to 8 million dollars will occur. This will significantly reduce the capacity
to fulfill the mission of the 1999 sales tax measure. We will consolidate
the sewer system at the Munster Treatment Plant, but it will take an
enormous effort to address the system in a comprehensive manner with a
greatly reduced amount of bond money.

The distribution of water and the movement of sewage will remain a focal
point of repairs and improvements to our infrastructure. Improvements to the
water plant will not only be necessary for increased water pressure and
improved fire protection but also for the ability to keep up with the
additional demands of EPA water standards. The repair of the sewer lift
stations will allow for improved household services, for better street
conditions and the removal of unsightly temporary pumps and the total
elimination of sewer hauling trucks.


Begin repair on all parish sewer lift stations and complete 80% by end of

Obtain sewer consolidation project funding through CDBG funds to complete
consolidation by mid-2009

Develop specifications for water plant upgrades and begin competitive
design/bid process Increase water supply pressure to all areas of the parish

Begin re-routing sewage from Dravo and Fazendeville and complete the
decommission of Violet and Fazendeville

Immediately begin point repair on line breaks to decrease infiltration of
ram water into the waste water collection system


Having landmarks within our community that convey security and prominence is
an important step in establishing public confidence in local government. The
symbolism that a repaired government complex brings or the sense of security
that a repaired fire station offers is vital to our community recovery and

Restoring the level of service that the public deserves can only be
accomplished by having the building infrastructure that must be in place so
that departments can work smartly in conjunction with one another in order
to provide comprehensive services to the public.


Begin repairs to the Government Complex

Hold a council meeting in the new council chambers before end of Summer 2008

Begin construction on fire stations in every area of the parish

Begin repair work on Civic Center Grand Ballroom

Move temporary travel trailers out of Government Building Complex and Torres

Reestablish climate control for employees in government building

Reestablish centralized phone system for increased communication and
access to multiple departments

Begin construction on the Council On Aging Building with a new more
housewarming design


Being able to both travel in and out of St. Bernard without significant road
hazards is important to St. Bernard's participation in a regional
partnership with the metropolitan area. Within our interior arteries and
streets there must be a standard of streets that underscores the quality of
life that our residents deserve.

The appropriate balance and timing of street repairs is critical. We must
make repairs on both temporary and permanent levels. In making temporary
repairs that allow travelling the roads to be comfortable while timing
permanent repairs to follow the use of heavy equipment for demolition on our
streets will require a fine balance. The use of aggregate material will be
used sparingly and only in situations that the use of cold mix for temporary
repair work is inappropriate.


Reestablish a street overlay and annual repair schedule

Make all neighborhood streets passable and accessible

Complete an interior traffic analysis to determine the appropriate placement
of regulatory signs, traffic calming devices, and reconfigure road designs
where feasible

Erect all street name signs in their proper place and with their proper
spelling Begin a master schedule of curb and sidewalk repair

Begin the public sidewalk projects connecting neighborhoods and businesses
to bus routes

Continue to request the LA DOTD synchronize the traffic signals throughout
St. Bernard and into Orleans Parish

Continue to provide parish level support for the Florida Avenue expressway
to Paris Road and begin to explore perpetual maintenance funding sources for
the receipt of the roadway

Light up the major thoroughfares within St. Bernard Parish by summer 2008
Stripe intersections throughout Judge Perez Drive intersections

Request the Regional Planning Commission reinstate funding for the Judge
Perez Drive - Paris Road intersection improvements

Hold public hearings to discuss the most beneficial option for the Arabi
Overpass Project Complete an analysis of historical street flooding hotspots
and develop a long-range repair plan Implement a neighborhood standards
review to address interior traffic concerns


Staying in touch with the public during this recovery and into the growth of
our parish is essential to a healthy community. Because many of the services
sought by the public come from resident initiated contact, a new system to
link residents, the parish administration, and the parish council will be
established. Each councilmanic district will have an Area Supervisor who
will be the liaison between the public and the appropriate department
responsible for attending to our residents' concerns.

Creating a positive experience and an atmosphere of cooperation with the
public will be at the heart of the Resident Services Department.
Additionally, there will be an implementation of a proactive approach to the
council districts as a means to build partnerships with the residents of
each area of the parish. The Resident Services Department will ultimately
become a natural part of the communication process between the public and
parish government.


Computerize, dispatch, and track all resident calls and establish case
managers to maintain contact with residents and the respective council

Establish a district by district patrol of compliance issues

Begin the fine and lien process on commercial buildings that remain out of

Enforce blighted property ordinances, minimum housing standards, building
standard requirements, and rental restrictions

Work to pass legislation that requires appropriate repair standards of storm
damaged structures Work to pass legislation that eliminates slab on grade
properties in St. Bernard

Track categories of violations and compliance issues to provide support for
appropriate staffing patterns


The ongoing need to clean up the storm related and subsequent repair related
debris remains a high priority. As well, the need to demolish homes that
remain short of repair and occupancy is a must. Obligating individuals to
take care of their properties is not always a clear cut process for the
individual, but there is little option for the parish to incur the financial
burden of demolition and curbside debris removal. An ambitious approach to
the demolition of structures is a part of the essential and critical
components to our recovery.

As the partnership with FEMA and the Governor's office continues to
strengthen, pushing the eligibility for the completion of demolition will be
at the forefront of recovery activities.


Call on FEMA to approve the funding for the demolition of the remaining
properties left in the initially estimated 12,000 properties anticipated for

Coordinate in-house support for pick up of non FEMA approved curbside debris
at the expense of the homeowner

Enforce the requirement of residential and commercial control of private
debris Begin the final phase of demolition of an estimated 5,000 additional
structures Begin the final phase of canal cleaning


Setting up the balance of what comes first, the people or the businesses
will likely be one of the most difficult components of the recovery and
growth of St. Bernard. While the local government has little opportunity to
control the private business sector, there will be a comprehensive effort to
link the Economic Development Commission, St. Bernard Parish Department of
Tourism, and the parish administration with potential business partners and
the current business base.

Marketing the unique value of St. Bernard Parish and the various aspects of
life in St. Bernard as well as capitalizing on our unique heritage will
become a battle cry heard around our region and nation. No longer will we
remain sheltered from the competitive world of opportunity. St. Bernard will
become known and will be a factor in the decisions of small and large
businesses in their deliberations of expansion and relocation.

St. Bernard must embark on a belief pattern that communicates that we are a
viable and desirable community and we must start this within our own
business owners, residents, and civic leaders. Recruiting for our future
must be embraced by all and must be lead by a concerted and well planned


Establish a business consortium to actively recruit and maintain regular
contact with the business community at large and to work side by side with
the St. Bernard Chamber and the Tourism Department to facilitate business
retention with the parish

Continue a marketing campaign of the Isleno Culture and Heritage to
establish a Cajun-like recognition in St. Bernard

Develop a positive profile package for St. Bernard highlighting us as the
best kept secret in the south to provide buy-in from local and regional

Make 50 business contacts in the first year with solicitation proposals made
to each

Seek state legislative support for property tax savings over the next five
years for locally

owned businesses operating in St. Bernard with an employee base of 25 or

Facilitate business partnerships and begin a beautification program of our
commercial corridors

Embark on a Baton Rouge to Picayune northshore marketing campaign to solicit
the return of former residents

Support legislation to promote the passage of a Hotel/Motel Tax for St.
Bernard to be used to fund local economic development and tourism industry


While St. Bernard Parish stands at the threshold of some very important
advances, the landing of comprehensive healthcare services continues to
elude us. The public outcry for a hospital must be balanced with the reality
of the market that St. Bernard provides in attracting and building a
healthcare network. With the entire region facing a healthcare shortage of
services, providers, and facilities, St. Bernard must be prepared to partner
with the available parties of the region in establishing the best array of
services possible with the ultimate goal being driven by achieving
comprehensive, convenient, and cost-effective healthcare.

While several models are being explored including the Hospital Services
District Model, the Private, Non-Profit Model, and the Private, For-Profit
Model, the sequence of progress must remain consistent with the immediate
and long-term needs of St. Bernard Parish. The need for emergency services
and observational capacity to avoid transfers is at the forefront of current
deliberations, while long-term solutions of a hospital and medical office
complex continue to be explored for feasibility.


Immediately solicit and receive proposals from agencies to provide Emergency
Services and observational capacity

Actively recruit physicians to provide a physicians network of services to
augment clinic and Urgent-care services existing in St. Bernard

Streamline permitting and zoning clearance for hospital services in St.


As the chief executive officer of Parish Government, the Parish President
and the subsequent cabinet departments serve as the critical leadership team
for St. Bernard Parish. As such, an unprecedented level of commitment to
service and outcome based actions will be the common characteristic of all

>From securing the parish for preparedness for tropical activity or other

industry emergencies to developing a financial position for St. Bernard that
ensures fiscal responsibility and growth, your administrative team will have
a single sense of purpose- to complete the recovery and growth mission of
St. Bernard Parish.

Like no other time in St. Bernard Parish we must rise to a new standard that
surpasses the status quo of employee performance and investment, customer
service, ownership of the condition of our parish, and a belief that each
member of our parish has a contribution to make. Tangible improvements from
building decorum to technological advances in moving to a paperless system
in parish government will be achieved in this recovery and growth period. We
will make government more accessible to the public through the use of
information technology and up to date releases of information.

Financial and fiscal activity is the undergirding of all of the services and
ambitions of any recovery and growth plan. First and foremost is the need
for an accurate picture of the parish's financial disposition. Once on solid
footing, a program of receiving and expending funds expeditiously for the
parish's capital improvements while holding appropriate revenue streams for

An obvious awareness that is being revealed is the lost opportunity to take
drastic steps in controlling the related expenses to public services that
have historically been funded through general funds of the parish
government's budget. Decisions relative to alternate funding streams for
services such as garbage collection, mosquito control, and infrastructure
repairs will be addressed during 2008.


Evaluate and restructure administrative departments and office functions to
best utilize talents, resources, and provide the most efficient services to
the public while eliminating wasted employee man hours

Reestablish a fully functioning Office of Emergency Preparedness and
Homeland Security and be designated as a Certified Parish

Establish a Housing Director and Executive Director for the Redevelopment
Commission to address the Louisiana Land Trust property transfers and the
enforcement of housing subsidy programs for proper administration

Standardize government technology to allow for increased communication
between administrative departments and the parish council

Redesign the government website to allow for the timely transfer of
important information and to allow for a virtual government experience for
all departments of parish government

Refinance bonds as needed to save parish money on bonded indebtedness

Create a system of internal controls that requires semi-annual validation of
vendor pricing and tracking of consumables

Implement a tracking of public works services, supplies, and equipment to
ensure the purchase of proper procurement and use of equipment and manpower
for services provided

Implement and follow a process for selection of professional services that
provides for the selection of the most qualified professional services

Establish an Eastern St. Bernard Outreach office to increase accessibility
for residents living furthest from government services

Reestablish the Office of Recovery within the administration as a means to
specifically track recovery issues and account for strategies to overcome
obstacles to recovery

Hire an internal auditor to complete an assets analysis and identify
potential budget or asset discrepancies

Allow for the council to review every contract prior to executing

Reestablish every board and commission in the function of parish government

Establish a central receiving and distribution office to more effectively
identify cost savings and limit waste in services and supplies

Establish St. Bernard Parish Government's first full time grants
administrator and Office of Grants

Establish plan review appointments for residential building permits to
ensure one stop permitting for completed plans

Establish commercial division for plan and permit processing


The closure of the MR GO and the related issues of hurricane protection,
storm surge protection, and coastal restoration are issues that will long
surpass our lifetime. However, the time is now to continue the pressure for
drastic changes in the funding of projects that will directly impact our
coastal safety and redevelopment.

Having a continued presence at the Department of Natural Resources at the
state level and maintaining relationships with the Army Corps of Engineers
at the federal and regional level will be part of our achievements.


Continue to participate in the discussions with Congress on the funding of
the MRGO closure plan

Solicit regional support for the MRGO closure plan and the relative
hurricane protection and coastal protection projects at the state and
federal levels

Identify the most likely conflicts between the Army Corps of Engineers
design recommendations and the implementation of the closure plan and the
construction of the 100 year hurricane protection system and seek
congressional intervention to keep any delays from occurring

Support the requirement of backfilling all voluntary and involuntary borrow
pits dug inside the hurricane protection levee system

Enforce ownership requirements for landowners to receive building permits
along canals and Bayous

Establish a developmental program to educate younger generations in the
school systems and recreational programs to continue to protect our natural

Designate an employee who serves as a Coastal Zone Manager that links all
coastal, ACE, and Levee District activity related to St. Bernard

Explore the use of interior canal dredging material for backfill material
and establish increased drainage retention and navigable waterways within
the hurricane protection system

Participate in partnerships with the Eastern Levee District to protect
coastal protection and drainage concerns

Maintain active membership and participation in P.A.C.E. (Parishes Against
Coastal Erosion)

Immediately activate all local responsibilities for CIAP, CWPPRA, and WRDA

Maintain position of no support of intrusion of home-sites on Deogracias
Lane or EBI for alternatives for the 100 year protection system

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