With the exception of state government, Fort Polk is the largest employer in Louisiana, with more than 16,000 military and civilian jobs associated with a U.S. Army installation that generates an estimated annual economic impact of $1.8 billion.
"The Army's pursuit of this additional acreage for Fort Polk is great news for Central Louisiana and the entire state of Louisiana," LED Secretary Stephen Moret said. "This property will be a tremendous asset for the Army's Joint Readiness Training Center and a valuable addition to our nation's defense preparedness. We also are committed to supporting Fort Polk as an economic asset, because Louisiana's military installations represent a significant portion of the state's overall economy. In addition to the initial 4,900-acre purchase agreement, we expect an additional 8,000-acre announcement to occur in the near future and we anticipate several more similar announcements throughout the year."
In September, Louisiana announced an investment of $25.3 million in infrastructure improvements in the Fort Polk area over the next three years. Those improvements to transportation routes and utilities will help grow the local economy and maximize conditions to attract more military units to Fort Polk.
With the state's support, the Army continues to pursue a long-term strategy of expanding Fort Polk's physical assets. Ultimately, the Army would like to expand the installation's footprint by 50 percent with the purchase of an additional 100,000 acres. Fort Polk currently covers more than 194,000 acres, and the February purchase would be the first major step in pursuing the long-term land goal.
The first 4,900 acres are south of Peason Ridge, a training area located in northern Vernon Parish. Fifty percent of all brigade combat teams deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan initially train at Fort Polk, which is home to 10,000 military personnel and 6,300 civilian employees.
Contractor’s College of New Orleans
Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced the launch of Contractor's College of New Orleans, an innovative training and capacity building program designed to help small, disadvantaged, minority, and women-owned construction firms (DBE firms) compete in the highly competitive construction industry, which is benefiting from billions of dollars worth of public and private facilities being rebuilt, from schools to hospitals to roads to parks and playgrounds.
“Contractor’s College is another great example of how we can build capacity among local businesses by removing obstacles that have prevented their inclusion in local opportunities in the past,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “I am confident that this program will put DBE firms on equal footing with other companies as our City continues to recover and rebuild.”
Contractor’s College will teach contractors how to improve their businesses in areas such as banking, insurance and bonding. Contractor’s College will utilize business development best-practices that include a combination of education, management, technical assistance and access to capital to ensure participants are provided with the guidance, tools and resources they need to bid on, win and manage public and private sector construction projects.
The program will be managed through the City's Office of Supplier Diversity, which was created to improve contracting opportunities for socially and economically disadvantaged and traditionally underserved small businesses. New Orleans was awarded a $1.042 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to fund the program.
Prior to the Landrieu administration, the City did not track DBE participation or performance. Since establishing the Office of Supplier Diversity, the Landrieu administration has doubled DBE participation in City contracts from 16% to over 32% in less than one year, helped DBE firms secure over $21 million in contracts, and tripled the number of firms receiving DBE certification each month. The Office of Supplier Diversity also has a newsletter which reaches over 2,100 small businesses in the area to keep them abreast of contracting and networking opportunities in the city.
DBE expansion is also happening outside of the walls of City Hall. The City and the Louis Armstrong International Airport are working together to conduct a disparity study to evaluate whether DBEs are getting less government work than other similar businesses. The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) recently launched a Small Business Enterprise (SBE) certification program in accordance with new federal guidelines to allow more small businesses to compete on projects. The City is also working with Harrah’s Casino to conduct several DBE outreach sessions this year.
Certified DBE firms, licensed and unlicensed contractors and entrepreneurs interested in starting construction businesses are eligible to participate in Contractor’s College. Those interested in participating or seeking more information about the program are invited to attend one of two information and registration sessions on Wednesday, February 1, 2012, or Wednesday, February 8, 2012, from 5:00—6:30 p.m. in the City's JOB1 Office located at 3400 Tulane Avenue.
Chamber Prepares for Thursday's Annual Banquet
On Thursday evening the Chamber will 'Celebrate Lafayette!' Successes in our community will be recognized and Jerry Greig of Fugro Chance, Inc. will be installed as our 2012 Chairman.
Click here to read a recent article featuring our Chairman.
Louisiana Municipal Association
More than 350 mayors and officials from villages, towns, and cities throughout the state will gather at The Crowne Plaza and Conference Center on Tuesday to Thursday, January 31-February 2, for the Louisiana Municipal Association’s Annual Mid-Winter Conference for Municipal Officials. More than 20 speakers will provide some 14 workshop sessions at this conference.
“This annual conference for mayors, council members, and municipal administrators gives them the opportunity to learn more about their jobs in local public service and gain a firm understanding of the issues and challenges they face in municipal government,” said LMA President Glenn L. Brasseaux, mayor of Carencro.
Baton Rouge Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden, a past president of the Louisiana Conference of Mayors and former LMA vice president at large, will welcome delegates to the Capital City.
Delegates will hear these topics and speakers over the three days of the conference:
Tuesday, January 31 (5:00-6:00 p.m.)
■ Code of Governmental Ethics for Municipal Officials and Employees – Brent Durham, Staff Attorney/Educator, Louisiana State Board of Ethics.
Wednesday, February 1 (8:15 a.m.-5:00 p.m.)
■ “Community Leadership” Online Training Program – Tom Ed McHugh, LMA Executive Director.
■ Economic and Community Development for Newly Elected Municipal Officials – Skip Smart, Director of Community Development, Louisiana Economic Development.
■ Improving Relationships Among Municipal Officials – Jerry Cronin, General Manager, Risk Management, Inc.; John Jakuback, Partner, Kean Miller, L.L.P.; John A. Gallagher, LMA Staff Attorney.
■ Understanding the Municipal Budgeting Process – David T. Riggins, David M. Medlin, CPA, and Nnamdi I. Thompson, Financial Advisors, Government Consultants, Inc., Baton Rouge.
■ Retirement Systems Issues – Bob Rust, Executive Director, Municipal Employees Retirement System of Louisiana; Steven Stockstill, Executive Director, Firefighters Retirement System of Louisiana; Kathy Bourque, Director, Municipal Police Employees Retirement System of Louisiana.
■ “Hot Topics” in the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office – Joy S. Irwin, Director of Advisory Services, Office of the Legislative Auditor, State of Louisiana.
■ Municipal Reapportionment Issues – Michael C. Hefner, Owner/Chief Demographer, Geographic Planning & Demographic Services, L.L.C., Duson.
■ Ad Valorem Tax Update: Reassessment Issues in 2012 – Jo Ann Garrison, Tax Review Officer, Office of the Legislative Auditor, State of Louisiana.
Thursday, February 2 (8:15-11:30 a.m.)
■ Open Meetings and Public Records Laws – Emalie Boyce, Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Louisiana Department of Justice.
■ The SurveyNavigator for LMA: A Web-based Salaries and Benefits Tool – T. L. Cox, Director of E-Solutions and Senior Consultant, The Waters Consulting Group, Inc., Dallas, TX.
■ The Mayor’s Court – Jerry J. Guillot, Chief of Staff, Louisiana Senate, and Attorney, Town of Rosedale.
■ The Lawrason Act – Jerry J. Guillot.
■ LMA Services and Programs for Municipalities – Cliff Palmer, Program Administrator, Louisiana Municipal Advisory and Technical Services, Inc. (Insurance Premium Tax and Occupational License Tax Collection Services); Mike S. Walker, LMA Information Technology Director (Computer Internet Technology Assistance Program); and Jerry Cronin, General Manager, Risk Management, Inc. (Indemnification Services for Municipal Governments).
LMA First Vice President Hilda D. Curry, mayor of New Iberia, and LMA Second Vice President Vern A. Breland, mayor of Sterlington, will also have leadership roles at the conference.
Conference sponsors are Government Consultants, Inc., Baton Rouge; Louisiana Asset Management Pool, Inc., New Orleans; Orleans Capital Management, Inc., New Orleans; and Risk Management, Inc., Baton Rouge.
Conference exhibitors include the Office of U.S. Senator David Vitter, Louisiana Economic Development, Louisiana Department of Insurance, Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, Louisiana Highway Safety Commission; Revenue Discovery Systems, Birmingham, AL; Louisiana JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy; and Louisiana Center for Afterschool Learning.
Politics with a Punch THIS THURSDAY--Feb. 2
Eiffel Society, 2040 St. Charles Avenue .
The doors open at 6 p.m. for Punch Happy Hour as the Eiffel Society bar will offer a delicious menu of specialty drinks for our patrons and terrific music by ARMAND ST. MARTIN Panel Event starts at 8:15
Lline-up of celebrities:
Dane Ciolino, Legal Analyst, Law Professor
Gennifer Flowers, Singer and Entertainer
Benny Grunch, Band Leader, New Orleans Legend
Stacy Head, New Orleans Council Member, District B
Lebron Joseph "LBJ", Host of "The Twist" on WGNO-TV
Mike Smith, Comedian, the Levee Newspaper Columnist