City Of New Orleans Passes 2016 Budget
NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans City Council unanimously approved the passage of the City’s 2016 Capital and Operating budgets yesterday, totaling $483.1 million and $601.7 million respectively.
“The City Council unanimously approved our sixth balanced budget that is focused on, and a result of, the priorities that our citizens set out for all of us,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “This budget doubles down on our commitment to public safety and ensures that we take care of the things our residents have told us were important to them: job creation, affordable housing, infrastructure and streets and recreation. In five short years, we have gone from a massive budget deficit to a surplus, and we’re delivering better services. I want to thank my partners on City Council for their hard work throughout this process. Together, we’re doing great things for the people of New Orleans. This balanced budget is a roadmap to New Orleans’ future.”
When the Landrieu administration took office in May 2010, it inherited a $97 million funding gap. Since then, with the help of the City Council and residents’ input, Mayor Landrieu created structural reforms that put the City on sound financial footing and has balanced the budget every year by cutting smart, reorganizing government and investing in the future.
Mayor Landrieu hosted a series of community meetings this summer as part of the Budgeting for Outcomes process in each of the five Council Districts to hear from residents about their priorities for the 2016 Budget. About 1,500 residents attended these meetings and provided valuable input that shaped the Mayor’s proposed budget.
On Oct. 15, 2015, Mayor Landrieu presented his 2016 Proposed Budget to City Council and in October and November, City departments and attached boards and commissions have presented their proposed 2016 budgets to Council in open public meetings.
City Council President Jason Rogers Williams said, “The 2016 Budget is aligned with the desires and concerns of our community. I take a special pride in being able to secure additional funding for our 911 Call Center. It has been woefully underfunded for years. When our citizens call 911 they deserve a prompt response, from a well-trained professional. This is a basic service that helps our citizens in their worst moments. Overall, this budget represents a commitment to our citizens to focus on the most important issues–public safety, infrastructure, and increased quality of life.”
Councilmember-at-Large Stacy Head said, “The Council has been working on this budget for many months, studying the needs and wants of constituents from every district. Most of those needs and wants are the basic and fundamental city services like street repairs, excellent parks, and programming for community centers. I am proud that the 2016 budget includes increased funding for public safety, including raises for our first responders and significant investments in state-of-the-art equipment to help them perform their jobs. Significant investments in infrastructure, capital projects and interior street repairs will all be seen and felt by the public, and I am pleased that we have been able to fund these and other priority items.”
District A Councilmember Susan G. Guidry said, “Appropriately funding all parts of the criminal justice system is essential to building a safer city. Additional funding for 911 operations and for the Public Defender will result in a more responsive and equitable criminal justice system for the people of New Orleans.”
District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell said, “I am enthusiastic about the 2016 budget's direction. It reflects the Council’s unified commitment to improve the quality of life for all of our citizens. It is especially important that the tools to address the housing crisis are being put in place through the Neighborhood Housing Improvement Fund and that operating funds are being provided for the creation of a low barrier shelter for the homeless. Council also placed a high priority on public safety. Importantly, the 911 budget increase put forward by the entire Council will decrease emergency response times. Addressing and increasing the Department of Public Works’ budget for streets, streetlights and school safety and the Sanitation Department’s budget to remove unsightly trash from our streets are also crucial for residents to have an increased sense of wellbeing."
District C Councilmember Nadine M. Ramsey said, “The 2016 budget process exemplifies many of the priorities that I am committed to support. This budget funds initiatives for our youth, criminal justice reform and quality of life improvements that will promote the growth of our City for the benefit of all.”
District D Councilmember Jared C. Brossett said, “Today, my colleagues and I on the City Council passed a budget for 2016 that I firmly believe will move our city in the right direction heading into the new year and beyond. Along with allotments for police, fire, streets and other public works, it was important that we found ways to allocate additional funding to help the Public Defender’s Office survive debilitating cuts from Governor Jindal, to fund Living Wage compliance, to fund an Economic Disparity Study, and to fund to appropriate staffing for the 911 center.”
District E Councilmember James Austin Gray II said, “The New Orleans City Council has worked tirelessly to craft a budget that will reflect the priorities of our constituents. We look forward to the implementation phase. Hopefully the New Year will bring a visible difference in the quality of life for everyone.”
First Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin said, "Since we took office five years ago, Mayor Landrieu has directed us to confront New Orleans' fiscal challenges head on and with eyes wide open. We reversed the practice of using one time money for recurring expenses, built back our reserves and are addressing our City's looming liabilities. I want to thank the Mayor for his continued leadership, commend our City Council for their hard work and recognize all the dedicated public servants at City Hall who helped us execute on our residents' priorities. This budget is a blueprint for even more success in New Orleans' future.”
COMMITMENT TO PUBLIC SAFETY
• In 2016, NOPD will receive an additional $10.5 million plus another $300,000 increase in consent decree funding. NOPD’s budget has increased for 6th straight year.
• To retain and attract new NOPD officers, budget fully funds 15% pay raises announced last year and budget more for nearly $11 million in overtime.
• Funds hiring 150 new police officer recruits trained in community policing for a total budgeted police force of 1,266 officers.
• Funds 50 new police cars bringing fleet to 450 new police cars purchased since 2013.
• Funds license plate readers to help NOPD investigations.
• Over $4.3 million increase for NOFD includes funds for 40 new recruits Additional $5 million from Capital Budget will purchase 12 new firefighting apparatuses.
• Funds $1 million more for 911 call center for more 911 call-takers operators and support future consolidation of NOPD, NOFD and EMS call services to improve dispatch and response times.
• More funding to Coroner, Public Defender, District Attorney and Criminal District Court.
• Funds Sheriff at $61 million for 2016, double amount received in 2010.
• The 2016 budget dedicates $43.2 million to the Fire Fighters’ Pension Fund plus pension obligation bond funding of $17 million for a total of $60.2 million to address those costs.
INVESTING IN RESIDENTS' PRIORITIES
• With once in a lifetime projects underway at Armstrong Airport and S&WB, 2016 budget dedicates more than $700,000 to City’s Economic Opportunity Strategy to create a pathway to prosperity for citizens, particularly young, African American men who are in need of a job.
• Funds $500,000 for Disparity Study and new funding for DBE and Living Wage law enforcement.
• Millions more for street maintenance crews in each Council District every day of the week.
• Funds $3 million for streetlight repairs and upgrades to maintain 90-95% operational rate.
• Sanitation and Parks & Parkways will receive increases to keep public spaces clean and beautiful.
• In 2016, NORDC will receive $1.3 million more, making its total budget nearly triple that of 2010, to fund staffing at City’s new centers including the Sanchez, Stallings St. Claude and Rosenwald centers.
• Adds $100,000 more to the Children Youth and Families Planning Board to help coordinate services for our children.
• Funds blight eradication initiatives to continue City’s success having already eliminated 15,000 blighted addresses. Fully funded lot maintenance program will continue hiring locals to cut over 4,800 abandoned lots.
• Safety & Permits will receive $750,000 and City Planning will receive $469,000 to replace expiring grants and maintain City Hall’s customer service focus through One Stop Shop.
• Funds NOLA Business Alliance to create new jobs by continuing to attract businesses and retail.
• Funds NOLA 311 customer service system and One Stop Shop for permitting.
• Funds $15.5 million for more affordable housing, provide housing loans and grants, rental assistance and $1 million low-barrier shelter for the homeless. Additional $6 million of CDBG and NHIF funds dedicated to the development and preservation of affordable housing.
• Provides funding for first year's debt service on $10 million fund to settle outstanding judgments.
BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE
• $140 million in 2016 Capital Budget for road repairs and infrastructure improvements (FEMA-funded Recovery Roads Program, bond funds and implementation of stormwater management projects as proposed in the City’s Resilience Strategy).
• Construction of a new terminal facility at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and replacement of bridge at Joe W. Brown Park.
• Ongoing improvement projects like the Criminal Evidence and Processing Center, Milne Gym Renovation in Gentilly, Municipal Yacht Harbor in West End, the reconstruction of St. Bernard Ave. from Filmore Ave. to Robert E. Lee Blvd., Gert Town Natatorium and new NOPD Second District Police Station in Gert Town.