The Sewerage & Water Board Fight Back Coalition held a press conference today (Wednesday, Nov. 15) on the second floor of City Hall at Mayor Landrieu’s office.
The coalition is comprised of residents concerned about unusually high as well as those whose houses and cars were flooded in July and August. Many of them gathered for a town hall meeting on Tuesday (Nov. 14). The group met today at City Hall to present the Mayor’s office with a list of five demands, which include:
1. Immediately stop cutting off people’s water when bills are disputed. Restore water service to all people and level bills based on average use in 2015. Reimburse people for overages.
2. Hire New Orleanians to clean catch basis and to fill vacancies at Sewerage and Water Board. Promote from within. Support unionization.
3. Cancel the contract with the outside law firm to fight people who have legitimate claims against the city, instead of just reimbursing the people for damages caused by the Sewerage and Water Board. Invest the money in ways that actually helps the people.
4. Start a people’s oversight committee to oversee the reconstruction of the Sewerage and Water Board-no more blue ribbon commissions of appointees, no privatization!
5. Pay reparations for damages caused to residents due to floods caused by City negligence.
Members of this group have also expressed concerns regarding plans to contract out up to 300 jobs to a large engineering firm.
Coalition members says the hiring of 14-300 workers through a large engineering firm is a first step toward privatization. Already several engineering firms subcontract for work from S&WB, but none so critical to the operations as what is currently proposed by a emergency management team appointed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu following the August 8 flood.