Some city employees could have authority to ticket New Orleans residents under this measure
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is attempting to give leaders of certain municipal offices the authority to ticket residents and companies that violate "quality of life" ordinances.
The measure gives limited city employees the ability to be deputized by the NOPD and the power to punish nine violations in the city's charter. If passed, the infractions that could earn a ticket would be illegal dumping, public right of way obstructions, overgrown weeds, drainage blocking and tour guide regulations.
Currently, the NOPD must be brought in to assign the violations. The city said in a statement that the measure could "allow the NOPD to focus on more serious offenses."
If found in violation of the nine ordinances, abusers would have to pay $150 for the first conviction, $250 for the second and $500 for the third with a possibility of five to 90 days imprisonment. The sanitation department currently has four rangers that seek out violators, but the warnings they currently issue do not carry any penalty, said Beau Tidwell, the mayor's Director of Communication.
The city says only certain employees in Public Works, Sanitation, New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Ground Transportation Bureau and the Mosquito and Rodent Control Board would be given the authority.
"Before the ordinances go into effect, NOPD would create the rules that govern the limited deputization," the city said in a statement.
The measure was introduced to the council on Oct. 12, when most neighborhoods in the city were still weeks away from receiving a pick-up from a trash or debris company after Hurricane Ida. Council President Helena Moreno was the lone member on the dais to question the move, calling out the irony that the entire city had mounds of trash and debris stacked in front of their yards.
Moreno said she believed in the intent of the measure but thought that "execution would be key." Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer praised the solution, as she thought it would stop frequent abusers of the violations.
Councilmember Jay Banks is carrying the motion by request of Cantrell, but the council has deferred the move twice in its regular meetings, as the committee wants more clarity on the subject. Moreno has attached three amendments to the motion that said the deputized officials can’t make arrests, they can’t carry firearms and use of force isn’t allowed unless it is in self defense.
If passed, the fines would be paid to the Municipal Court. The measure will be heard at the next council meeting, Nov. 18.