Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS - Voters overwhelmingly approved a plan to overhaul the Sewerage and Water Board in Saturday’s elections, with complete but unofficial returns showing the city charter amendment passing by a margin of more than 9,000 votes.
Turnout was low, at about 10 percent Saturday, for an election which saw just a handful of items on the ballot.
The S&WB reform package, supported by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, did draw attention, with a media blitz by supporters of the reforms, including the Business Council and other civic groups. The Bureau of Governmental Research also backed the plan.
The plan calls for eliminating three seats on the S&WB now reserved for City Council members. It would also add an eighth mayoral appointment. The mayor’s appointments would be required to have professional experience or qualifications in a sewerage or water-related field.
The changes would take effect Jan. 1.
Also, a selection committee would now recommend new board members when a vacancy occurs. Other changes include reducing the length of members’ terms from nine years to two four-year consecutive ones.