The UMC Board has, rather suspiciously, cancelled its monthly meeting scheduled for tomorrow, August 4, 2011.
While that's not at all surprising, it is unfortunate because we planned to attend and provide public comment urging the Board to require its consultants to consider fully the Charity Hospital option. We also wanted to learn how the business plan - that still doesn't exist after about, oh, you know, about three years - is coming along.
The deadline for presenting the plan to Joint Budget is September 16, but a recent Times-Picayune story indicates that many players involved seem to think it will take longer than that. So the business plan and, by extension, the proposed hospital...could take even longer to materialize. Shocking. We urge Rep. Fannin to call Facilities and Planning Control, as well as the UMC Board, in on the carpet if no business plan exists by the deadline. No extensions. There have been far too many "extensions" of this irresponsible boondoggle of a project already.
The next UMC Board meeting is scheduled for September 1. Until then, it's a mystery as to whether or not the Charity Hospital building is being considered as part of the business plan. We tend to doubt that it is - given the totally incongruent media comments of UMC Board Chair Yarborough, indicating that he would not look at all options despite the Governor's directive.
We demand that the UMC Board require its consultants to consider all options for a better UMC project - including a retrofit of the existing Charity Hospital building.
In the meantime, the City of New Orleans has just lost approximately $45 million worth of real estate from its property tax rolls because of the LSU/VA site selection and the unnecessary abandonment of existing buildings that government entities already owned in the Central Business District.