Mayor Landrieu wants to shrink Sewerage & Water Board
Chris Miller Reporting
As the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board seeks a rate increase, Mayor Mitch Landrieu today announced several proposed changes for the board, most noticeably reducing its number of board members, the number of years a person can serve on the board, and changing the way board members are appointed.
The mayor wants to reduce the board from 13 people to nine. That would include doing away with the three seats on the board reserved for members of the New Orleans City council.
"The council members will be removed and will perform their oversight function that they perform now," the mayor said during a news conference today.
The other board members will be made up of two members of the Board of Liquidation appointed by the mayor, and six appointees nominated by the presidents of the city's six four-year colleges and universities.
"The terms of the board members will be reduced from nine years to six years, and board members will have term limits," the mayor said.
The mayor also wants the board to adopt standards of transparency and accountability like the ones the city set up for professional services contracting. The reform would also require legislative and voter approval. The mayor's office laid out the following timeline:
- March 8 – deadline to advertise twice for each proposed State law change;
- April 8 – filing deadline for State law changes and start of 2013 Regular Legislative Session;
- July – once Governor signs bill, introduce City Council ordinance to call for an election;
- July 17 – deadline for State Bond Commission proposition;
- August – State Bond Commission Meeting;
- September – voting changes that are subject to an election must be approved by United States Department of Justice (the restructuring of board composition qualifies); and
- October 19 – Citywide election on Charter Changes (must be at least 90 days after Council ordinance is introduced).
The Sewerage and Water Board has been seeking a rate increase to pay for costs of upgrading the system, which is more than a century old in some areas.