In spite of City's Council's previous decision to quash Nagin's plan to purchase the Chevron Building and relocate City Hall....he's doing it anyway.
How? By tapping a 200 million dollar fund called the Revolver Fund.
The Revolver Fund was set up by the state as seed money for insurance financed or FEMA financed repairs. The 200 million dollar fund was directed toward the city with the understanding that at the end of the recovery the money could be added to the $411 million dollar DCDBG funds, bringing it up to a total of 612 million. The money was meant to speed the recovery process and it is essentially a reimbursement process with FEMA. The city must actually execute and pay for repairs, then they are reimbursed by FEMA.
Now, the problem with that equation is that any money spent under the Revolver system must meet FEMA requirements for spending. If you recall in my previous post, the FEMA requirements state the the money can't be used for new development....they can only be used for repairs of exising infrastructure.
Here's the problem....Nagin is trying to pass the purchase of the Chevron building off as a repair project and pay for it with Revolver money. That's bullshit. It's not a repair project, its clearly a new development and once he spends city cash for the building the city will eventually...inevitably....be denied by FEMA in its attempt to tap the Revolver Fund.
Aside from just blatantly defying the decision of City Council, Nagin is putting us on the hook for untold millions. I say untold because he has already claimed that $14 million of the $29 Million Mahalia Jackson Theater repair cost was to be funded under the Revolver...it will most certainly be denied by FEMA. And I suspect he's about to do the same thing for untold millions with the Municipal Auditorium deal.
Folks...this is insanity....Nagin is spending down money we don't have. He's just gone apeshit and he's paying out everyone he can before he leaves office.
Unfortunately, the Chevron purchase won't have to come back before the council for approval because they don't have dominion over the Revolver Fund. However, council can introduce a new ordinance to forbid the purchase. The problem is they will need 5 votes to override Nagin's impending veto.
Now is the time to raise hell. Call your councilperson and demand they pass an ordinance to stop this purchase....and amend the 2009 budget to stop the allocation of monies which Nagin wrongly listed as "encumbered " with the D-CDBG funds.
He is not only pissing on city services, he's about to leave us with a multimillion dollar dump....and when I say multimillion I mean possibly 200 million or more.
The scary thing is that we don't really have a good tally of what's already been designated under the Revolver.
Call your councilperson....call your mominem.....scream bloody murder......sit oustide City Hall and throw rotten eggs at people. This is the last chance we have to stop him from completely devastating this city before he leaves office.
Councilman James Carter 658-1030 email@example.com
Council President Jackie Clarkson 658-1070 firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilman Arnie Fielkow 658-1060 email@example.com
Councilwoman Shelley Midura 658-1010 firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilwoman Stacy Head 658-1020 email@example.com
Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell 658-1040 firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilwoman Cynthia Willard-Lewis 658-1050 email@example.com
Update: Check out Eli's post here.
And this amazes me. Channel 6 is conducting a survey on "Should The City of New Orleans Resume Efforts to Purchase The Chevron Building?". That's not the real issue, the issue is we don't have money to purchase it and we're about to misappropriate funds to do it. Nagin is gambling that FEMA is going to accept the expenditure under the "improved project" contingency...no he's actually not gambling because he doesn't care if they accept it or not, he's just going to spend out everything he can before he leaves office and stick the next administration with the bill. Even if we purchase the building, we don't have the money to renovate it.