Saturday, April 20, 2019

look the gift horse in the eye and ask questions

Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary. ----  Martin Luther King, Jr. 


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Industrial Tax Exemptions

UPDATE:    The Council meeting was well attended by members of the local fire department which still struggles with its budget and at times has closed fire stations, sometimes on a rotating basis. The local fire department seeks to receive a portion of the Hotel Motel tax, and the council passed a resolution to begin legislation to put that issue to a vote of the people. It would be interesting to learn if the St Bernard Parish Fire Department supports granting or denying Industrial Tax Exemptions (ITEPs), or if the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District might deny their portion of the exemption and finally maintain the rain drainage canals consistently and responsibly. The Port of St Bernard also has a property milleage which it can grant or deny an exemption for this industry. .

The Council’s two motions to deny the ITEPs applications on the agenda were both passed.

The Council approved an “abuse addiction treatment facility” in a school zone, in the heart of a neighborhood friendly business corridor. The school zone is for the community’s only high school and students who live in this neighborhood walk to high school because of the close proximity. It is unclear whether this treatment facility will address the growing number of drug overdose deaths in our community or if it will be a pill factory which increases the drug trafficking in a school zone.

There were other ordinances passed, most without discussion or comment, and the agenda contains so little information it is impossible to know what decisions were made.


Original post:
Tuesday February 5 2019 St Bernard Parish Council public meeting on two Industrial Tax Exemption applications (ITEPs).

There is no available information at this time on the Council's agenda except the application number. There is no indication which industry is the applicant, what is the scope of the project, the amount of the tax exemption, the cost - benefit analysis; nothing.  It will be interesting to learn how a local council can make such a decision without information; unless it is available to the council and not the general public, even upon request. Just another example of the lack of transparency, lack of equal access to all the information before the decisions are made. But its not surprising.


Notice of Public Meeting

Agenda Item 20

Agenda Item 21

Council Agenda

Last month,  the local Baton Rouge, La school board voted against granting ExxonMobil two property tax breaks,"one for work at its Baton Rouge refinery and another at its polyolefins plant."  "The company was seeking exemptions from school property taxes worth about $2.9 million over 10 years. The work in question was completed in 2017, and ExxonMobil had a difficult time explaining while it still need a tax break for them."

https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/education/article_09cb2d54-1a68-11e9-a672-7f6ee09f1f74.html


Also not surprisingly, Louisiana legislators seek to pass legislation which will take away the local decision making , even though these tax exemptions come out of the local budgets.  

 https://www.1012industryreport.com/politics/baton-rouge-area-legislators-drafting-bill-to-return-itep-to-state-control/



Saturday, December 1, 2018

More Budget Considerations

ST. BERNARD PARISH COUNCIL MEETING - AGENDA
December 4, 2018     7pm

13. Adopt Resolution SBPC #1896-12-18, a resolution supporting the introduction and passage of legislation to enable St. Bernard Parish to impose and collect a Hotel/Motel Tax to supplement the funding of the St. Bernard Parish Fire Department. (Councilmember Lewis)

https://www.sbpg.net/AgendaCenter/Council-2

Sunday, November 25, 2018

VOTE


early voting starts November 24 2018 and ends December 1 2018

Election Day is December 8 2018

St Bernard Parish Home Rule Charter Amendment
Shall Article II, Section 2-01.1 of the Home Rule Charter of the Parish of St. Bernard, State of Louisiana, be amended to read as follows: (a) A person who has served as a councilman representing a councilmanic district for more than two and one-half (2 1/2) terms in three (3) consecutive terms may not qualify for the office of councilman representing a councilmanic district for the next succeeding term; (b) A person who has served as a councilman-at-large for more than two and one-half (2 1/2) terms in three (3) consecutive terms shall not qualify for the office of councilman-at-large for the next succeeding term; (c) This section shall apply to each initial persons elected as councilmen or councilmen-at-large and to all subsequent persons elected to the aforesaid offices under this charter?



https://voterportal.sos.la.gov/SampleBallot

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Budget Considerations


According to a Together Baton Rouge  Report's ITEP Search Tool , the industrial tax exemptions in St Bernard Parish could afford us to keep our fire stations open. Our budgets might change such that we could also give our school board employees and teachers a long awaited pay raise, and continue to fully fund all of our parish pension’s obligations, without being asked for more sales and property taxes.

We could fund drinking water improvements, along with improvements to roads and bridges, pedestrian cross walks, fishing piers, drainage and sewerage improvements, grass cutting and canal maintenance, books for our libraries, art and stem initiatives, recycling and composting, farm to table initiatives, bicycle and walking paths, public transportation, healthcare access, workforce development, free adult lifetime learning courses, senior citizen outreach, parks and recreation programs, criminal justice reforms and re-entry programs, affordable housing, and on and on.

Instead of increasing property tax mileages, those dollars from exemptions could fully fund the intended municipal services. Instead of the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District refusing to do their job because residents voted down a tax increase, the LBBLD property tax mileage could be lowered, while increasing services. https://www.nola.com/environment/index.ssf/2018/07/st_bernard_doesnt_have_to_acce.html

Some of the other tax dollars which we do pay are used to fund projects like the St Bernard Economic Development board which seeks to place a container yard in the N P Trist Middle School neighborhood, and its operator, Port of Orleans, would not pay property taxes.  https://canthecontainers.com/

Come on St Bernard, we can do better than this. Our community would also benefit if more and more parish workers and school board employees returned from the north shore and actually lived in St Bernard Parish and contributed to our economy base. The public sector in St Bernard Parish is said to be the larger employer: fire department, sheriff department, school board and teachers, parish government workers, public works employees, state judicial court, justice of peace, constables, lake borgne basin levee employees, St Bernard Port, St Bernard Parish Hospital, etc. And then there are all the out of parish (sometimes out of state) workers at the large industrialized plants which are the benefactors of all these exemptions. Our community would benefit greatly if the majority of all these jobs were actually domiciled jobs.

Here’s a partial list of St Bernard Parish exemptions according to the report, and the number of actual jobs loss or created by these costly subsidies:





American Sugar Refining Inc. | (St Bernard)
7415 Peters Road
Arabi, LA 70032
# exemptions: 15
# of years with ITEP (of last 20): 19
1st year receiving ITEP (post-1997): 1999
Most recent year receiving ITEP: 2014
COST OF EXEMPTIONS:  $5.7 M
NEW JOBS PROJECTED: 35
ACTUAL JOBS RESULT: -110
SUBSIDY PER JOB: $5,716,632 for a loss of 110 jobs
Year 1 of ITEP, # of jobs: 446
Most recent year, # of jobs: 336
PARISH SUBSIDY RANK: 3
STATE SUBSIDY RANK: 244
TYPE: Company


Rain CII Carbon, LLC | (St Bernard)
700 Coke Plant Rd
Chalmette, LA 70043
# exemptions: 19
# of years with ITEP (of last 20): 18
1st year receiving ITEP (post-1997): 2000
Most recent year receiving ITEP: 2016
COST OF EXEMPTIONS:  $4.8 M
NEW JOBS PROJECTED: 10
ACTUAL JOBS RESULT: 1
SUBSIDY PER JOB: $4,771,185 per job created
Year 1 of ITEP, # of jobs: 36
Most recent year, # of jobs: 37
PARISH SUBSIDY RANK: 4
STATE SUBSIDY RANK: 262
TYPE: Company



PBF Holding Company, LLC | (St Bernard) (dba Chalmette Refining)
500 W Saint Bernard Hwy
Chalmette, LA 70043
# exemptions: 57
# of years with ITEP (of last 20): 19
1st year receiving ITEP (post-1997): 1999
Most recent year receiving ITEP: 2017
COST OF EXEMPTIONS:  $115.3 M
NEW JOBS PROJECTED: 60
ACTUAL JOBS RESULT: -71
SUBSIDY PER JOB: $115,320,991 for a loss of 71 jobs
Year 1 of ITEP, # of jobs: 570
Most recent year, # of jobs: 499
PARISH SUBSIDY RANK: 1
STATE SUBSIDY RANK: 33
TYPE: Company


Valero Refining - Meraux LLC | (St Bernard)
2500 E Saint Bernard Hwy
Meraux, LA 70075
# exemptions: 4
# of years with ITEP (of last 20): 14
1st year receiving ITEP (post-1997): 2004
Most recent year receiving ITEP: 2015
COST OF EXEMPTIONS:  $88.7 M
NEW JOBS PROJECTED: 21
ACTUAL JOBS RESULT: 41
SUBSIDY PER JOB: $2,163,844 per job created
Year 1 of ITEP, # of jobs: 236
Most recent year, # of jobs: 277
PARISH SUBSIDY RANK: 2
STATE SUBSIDY RANK: 42
TYPE: Company

St Bernard: Parish Report
St Bernard Parish, LA
# exemptions: 119
# companies receiving ITEPs: 10
COST OF EXEMPTIONS:  $221.3 M
NEW JOBS PROJECTED: 293
ACTUAL JOBS RESULT: loss of 408 jobs
SUBSIDY PER JOB: $221.3 M for a loss of 408 jobs
TOTAL PROPERTY TAX COLLECTIONS IN 2016:  $45.1 M
LOST REVENUE TO ITEP IN 2017:  $12.8 M
ITEP AS % OF PROPERTY TAXES COLLECTED: 28%
LOST REVENUE FOR –
School district:  $3.7 M
Sheriff:  $2.8 M
Fire:  $2.5 M
Parish & other entities:  $1.2 M
Library Taxes:  $336.2 K
Health:  $783.2 K
Parks & Rec:  $197.2 K
Roads:  $277.1 K
Levee:  $1.0 M
Drainage: 0
TYPE: Parish






Sunday, November 4, 2018

Particulate Matter unhealthy levels in air

Unhealthy levels of particulate matter PM2.5
LDEQ issues an air quality notice for Chalmette
based on levels of particulate matter measured at the Chalmette Vista Air Monitor
https://airquality.deq.louisiana.gov/Data/Site/CHALMETTEVISTA/Date/2018-11-03

Sensitive Groups are CHILDREN, ACTIVE ADULTS, the elderly, people with asthma and other illnesses.  REDUCE EXERTION OUTDOORS
The Chalmette Vista Monitor is located adjacent to Bluebird Park


-----Original Message-----
From: DEQ AQI Notifications
To:
Sent: Sat, Nov 3, 2018 3:15 pm
Subject: AQI Exceedance Notification - Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality

DEQ Logo

AQI Exceedance Notification

The following DEQ air monitoring site(s) have detected elevated readings which have reached an "Orange" or "Red" level on the Air Quality Index (AQI). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, who sets most air quality standards, being at the "Orange" level means that levels are "Unhealthy for sensitive groups - People with asthma should consider reducing exertion outdoors", while a "Red" level is "Unhealthy - Children, asthmatics, and people with heart or lung disease should reduce exertion outdoors".
If you are in this group of individuals, please plan your outdoor activities accordingly. For more information please visit the DEQ Air Monitoring Data & AQI website

Chalmette Vista Site

102
PM25
Unhealthy for sensitive groups
35.957 UG/M3
11/3/2018 3:00 PM
This data has not been quality reviewed or validated. Continuous PM2.5 readings shown are not NAAQS comparable.
If you would like to stop receiving these messages, please Unsubscribe.

Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality 602 N. Fifth Street Baton Rouge, LA 70802
For website issues please email the web team. For all other issues call 1-866-896-LDEQ or e-mail our Customer Service Center.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Unhealthy Sulfur Dioxide Levels

CORRECTION:  The LDEQ sent AQI Exceedance Notifications twice this week for Sulfur Dioxide levels in Chalmette Vista neighborhood. Both readings were at 3AM and have been changed to N/A for calibration of monitor.






Just when residents thought it was safe to leave the windows open with the cool Fall temperatures, the LDEQ sent out a notification when the Sulfur Dioxide reading spiked over night and reached a one-hour average of over 155 parts per billion The EPA health standard for sulfur dioxide is 75 ppb SO2. Sulfur Dioxide at the 12 ppb SO2 level triggers headaches and other adverse effects.

Site Data from the air monitor at Chalmette Vista Louisiana

http://airquality.deq.louisiana.gov/Data/Site/CHALMETTEVISTA/Date/2018-10-14

The Louisiana DEQ issued an exceedance notice about the air quality being unhealth for sensitive groups:  Sensitive Groups are CHILDREN, the elderly, & ACTIVE ADULTS.



-----Original Message-----
From: DEQ AQI Notifications
To: 
Sent: Wed, Oct 17, 2018 4:15 am
Subject: AQI Exceedance Notification - Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality

DEQ Logo

AQI Exceedance Notification

The following DEQ air monitoring site(s) have detected elevated readings which have reached an "Orange" or "Red" level on the Air Quality Index (AQI). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, who sets most air quality standards, being at the "Orange" level means that levels are "Unhealthy for sensitive groups - People with asthma should consider reducing exertion outdoors", while a "Red" level is "Unhealthy - Children, asthmatics, and people with heart or lung disease should reduce exertion outdoors".
If you are in this group of individuals, please plan your outdoor activities accordingly. For more information please visit the DEQ Air Monitoring Data & AQI website

Chalmette Vista Site

139
SO2
Unhealthy for sensitive groups
160.8 PPB
10/17/2018 3:00 AM
This data has not been quality reviewed or validated. Continuous PM2.5 readings shown are not NAAQS comparable.
If you would like to stop receiving these messages, please Unsubscribe.

Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality 602 N. Fifth Street Baton Rouge, LA 70802
For website issues please email the web team. For all other issues call 1-866-896-LDEQ or e-mail our Customer Service Center.

-----Original Message-----
From: DEQ AQI Notifications
To: 

Sent: Sun, Oct 14, 2018 4:15 am
Subject: AQI Exceedance Notification - Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality

DEQ Logo

AQI Exceedance Notification

The following DEQ air monitoring site(s) have detected elevated readings which have reached an "Orange" or "Red" level on the Air Quality Index (AQI). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, who sets most air quality standards, being at the "Orange" level means that levels are "Unhealthy for sensitive groups - People with asthma should consider reducing exertion outdoors", while a "Red" level is "Unhealthy - Children, asthmatics, and people with heart or lung disease should reduce exertion outdoors".
If you are in this group of individuals, please plan your outdoor activities accordingly. For more information please visit the DEQ Air Monitoring Data & AQI website

Chalmette Vista Site

137
SO2
Unhealthy for sensitive groups
155.6 PPB
10/14/2018 3:00 AM
This data has not been quality reviewed or validated. Continuous PM2.5 readings shown are not NAAQS comparable.
If you would like to stop receiving these messages, please Unsubscribe.

Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality 602 N. Fifth Street Baton Rouge, LA 70802
For website issues please email the web team. For all other issues call 1-866-896-LDEQ or e-mail our Customer Service Center.

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