Gov. Edwards reacts to S&WB’s financial situation and millions likely owed to the agency

Gov. Edwards reacts to S&WB’s financial situation and millions likely owed to the agency

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - During a stop in New Orleans, Governor John Bel Edwards reacted to revelations that the financially-strapped Sewerage and Water Board could be owed tens of millions of dollars, even as Edwards is working to find funds to help the city fund its infrastructure needs.

“We're always concerned about transparency, so we want to make sure that we understand what the situation actually is, both as it relates to whatever might be owed to the Sewerage and Water Board that they can collect as sort of helping their own cash flow problems, and then take whatever that true number is, compare it to what the needs are,” said Edwards.

For weeks, the governor has been working to find money to help the city with some of its infrastructure problems, including at the S&WB.

Earlier this year, Mayor Latoya Cantrell asked Edwards for an immediate $75 million infusion of cash to get the ball rolling.

Still, while the regular legislative session begins April 8, Edwards is not pushing any bills related to the city’s needs.

"We’re working with the mayor and folks in the city, along with the hospitality industry to see what we can do to help address the infrastructure needs here. I won’t be proposing any legislation with respect to that, but I don’t need legislation to help as I am able to do,” Edwards added.

A task force set up by the governor continues to work on short-term solutions and Edwards said he spoke with Cantrell twice this week about her request for help.

"Like you always do, I think you ask for more than you expect to receive, but we're working through that, and I think at the end of the day we're going to be able to have several things on the table that will prove helpful to the citizens of New Orleans,” said the governor.

But Edwards would not provide specifics.

In terms of the upcoming legislative session, Edwards will push for pay raises for teachers and school support workers, and more funds for the state’s higher education system.

"We got to make sure that we fund education, higher education as we have in the past, but also TOPS, need-based aid,” he said.

Edwards also wants to move coastal restoration forward.

"We have two and a half million people that live on the coast in Louisiana, so getting the annual plan for the coastal restoration…The CPRA, getting that done is going to be incredibly important,” said Edwards.

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