Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Landrieu's proposed 2014 municipal budget leaves questions regarding consent decree funding

Posted By on Tue, Oct 15, 2013 at 1:49 PM

click to enlarge Mayor Mitch Landrieu addresses the press before this morning's commendation of his proposed 2014 operating budget to the New Orleans City Council.
  • Mayor Mitch Landrieu addresses the press before this morning's commendation of his proposed 2014 operating budget to the New Orleans City Council.


Mayor Mitch Landrieu commended his proposed 2014 municipal budget to the New Orleans City Council this morning at a special meeting of the council. The budget's total: $504 million, a slight increase above this year's amended total of $496 million.  

One of the proposed budget's centerpieces is "a five-year, $247 million building blitz" that will both continue to repair roadways and "remake" the Louis Armstrong/New Orleans International Airport — just in time for the city's planned 2018 tricentennial celebration. Police, fire and EMS services each received a small increase in their operating budgets, while the District Attorney's office and Criminal District Court remained unchanged. 

Left vague, however, was the city's plan for fulfilling the funding of the federal consent decree for Orleans Parish Prison (OPP). $22.1 million of general fund expenditures was approved for Sheriff Marlin Gusman's office in 2013; the exact same amount, down to the penny, is proposed for Gusman's office in 2014.


At a press conference before the budget presentation, Landrieu said that exact budgeting for the consent decree wasn't possible because the city didn't know how much it would cost, but pointed out he had requested Gusman's office receive the same amount in 2014 — which would presumably have to pay for both the consent decree and everyday operations.

"We are always working to do more with less," Landrieu said at a press conference before the budget presentation. "But in many instances, we will have to do less with less." He said that layoffs and furloughs weren't in the proposed budget, but didn't take them off the table entirely.

The City Council will take up the proposed budget department by department at meetings that begin Wed. Oct. 23, and the first day of several hearings on the sheriff's budget is Fri. Oct. 25 (the full calendar is here). By law, the city must adopt the following year's municipal budget by Dec. 1.

You can download and read the mayor's proposed capital budget here, and get the entire proposed operating budget for the city here.

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