Mayor Landrieu, City Council Announce 2017 Budget
NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans City Council unanimously approved the passage of the City’s 2017 General Fund and Capital budgets, totaling $614.9 million and $871.7 million respectively.
“The City Council unanimously approved our seventh balanced budget that is focused on the priorities that our citizens set out for all of us,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Thursday, Nov. 17. “This budget doubles down on our laser focus on your priorities: public safety, job creation, recreation, streets, housing and quality of life. In six 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, City reps said.
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 2017 Budget. Nearly 1,200 residents attended these meetings and provided valuable input that shaped the Mayor’s proposed budget.
On Oct. 17, Mayor Landrieu presented his 2017 Proposed Budget to City Council and in October and November, City departments and attached boards and commissions have presented their proposed 2017 budgets to Council in open public meetings.
The final adopted budget recognizes $927,000 in new revenue and expenses for enforcement on Short Term Rentals; $250,000 to fund the New Orleans Council on Aging; $100,000 for Pre-trial services, the LSU Agriculture Center, and the Children Youth and Planning Board each; and $60,000 for Municipal Court’s Community Alternatives Program to assist defendants with mental illness.
City Council President Stacy Head said, "Each year the council works for months to develop the city's budget by gathering input from our constituents and all city departments on their priorities for the coming year. For 2017, despite some last minute changes that were required to fund the jail, we ended up with a budget that prioritizes basic services such as code enforcement, fire and police protection, drainage, road maintenance and street signs. I am confident that this budget will not only meet the needs of the city but will move it forward. I am extremely grateful to the Council Fiscal team and Mayor Landrieu's administration, including our new CAO Jeff Hebert, for working hard to make sure this process was smooth and efficient."
City Council Vice President Jason Rogers Williams said, “This budget was passed after careful consideration by myself and my colleagues and working with the administration. Although we are not currently in a moment of crisis, between the consent decrees and infrastructure needs of the city, we are dangerously close. My decisions for this budget were singularly focused on ensuring that we don’t find ourselves in a crisis at all. Our unprecedented allocation to the Council on Aging was notable and significant. Our seniors have paid more taxes, paid more dues, shed more tears and sweat to make this city as great as it is today. We owe them this, and so much more.”
District A Councilmember Susan G. Guidry said, "This budget season, the Council worked successfully with the administration to approve a budget that equitably meets the needs of New Orleanians, while making the best use of new revenues to the City. I am particularly pleased that the LSU Southern University AgCenter and the Children and Youth Planning Board will be funded to continue their crucial work. As we approach the tricentennial, I feel confident that we have moved beyond recovery and into resilience, using our dollars wisely to protect our most vulnerable citizens and to provide fair access to opportunities for all."
District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell said, "This 2017 budget is a reflection of the city’s best efforts to be good stewards of the public’s money, and the Council expects to see increased accountability from our City agencies to go along with the increased revenue."
District C Councilmember Nadine M. Ramsey said, “This budget allocates revenues to many of the issues my constituents felt were important. I helped secure funds to put together a master plan for Algiers, clean up the French Quarter and create a new youth job training program. I also worked with my colleagues to make sure that youth services and criminal justice issues were prioritized. I will continue to listen to the public and recommend changes where necessary and appropriate in the future.”
District D Councilmember Jared C. Brossett said, "Today, my colleagues and I approved a balanced budget that reflects the concerns of the citizens of New Orleans. Though not perfect, we were able to adequately fund public safety, economic development, infrastructure, capital projects, and many quality of life issues. I take special pride in being able to restore significant funding to the New Orleans Council on Aging. This organization promotes the well-being of our seniors and must be properly funded. Overall, the 2017 budget contains significant investments in high-priority items that will move our city in the right direction."
District E Councilmember James Austin Gray II said, "No budget is perfect, but given the resources we had available to us, and everyone's honest efforts to be fair in the deliberations, I believe the end product is a decent compromise among competing interests."
First Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Jeff Hebert said, "Since being appointed Chief Administrative Officer for the City of New Orleans, Mayor Landrieu has been clear and directed us to continue confronting New Orleans' fiscal challenges while ensuring that we invest in the priorities the people care about. 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.”
City reps released the following about the 2017 General Fund and Capital budgets:
COMMITMENT TO PUBLIC SAFETY
• We will spend about $30 million more on NOPD than in 2010. We will increase NOPD funding by another $8 million. NOPD’s budget has increased for 7th straight year.
• Adding 11 civilian positions, from crime analysts to crime scene techs to recruitment staff.
• Dedicates $4.5 million in new overtime funding, which is comparable to adding dozens of officers to the force.
• Funds hiring 150 new police officers.
• $500,000 toward new technology like license plate readers.
• Increase EMS’s budget by $700,000 to increase hiring to cut down on wait times and improve availability.
• Keeping the Public Defender, the Coroner and our Courts fully funded at 2016 levels or more.
• Funds operation of Orleans Parish Prison at nearly $53 million, including a direct contribution of $45 million, nearly doubling what we spent in 2010.
• Funds $51 million to fully fund the Fire Fighter’s Pension Fund in 2017.
INVESTING IN OUR RESIDENTS’ PRIORITIES
• Prioritizing money for enforcing minimum wage for city employees and contractors, and our new local hiring policy.
• Fully funding our new initiative BuildNOLA, which helps train and connect local small business people to opportunities, especially at big projects like then we multi-million dollar Armstrong Airport we are building.
• Adding more than $200,000 in new funding to support workforce development internships for high school students through Youth Force NOLA.
Streets and Infrastructure
• Funds $3 million for pothole repairs and catch basin cleaning. The 2017 Budget will fund another $3 million for streetlight repairs.
• Adds $3 million in new funding to catch up on the backlog of drainage point repairs. Over $200 million of road construction has been completed in 2016 or is in progress, which is nearly ten times more street work than we used to do.
Quality of Life
• Sanitation and Parks & Parkways will receive increases to clean up our streets and neutral grounds.
• Funds $15 million in Code Enforcement to fight the blight.
• Funds $17 million for affordable housing programs, including developing more affordable units, providing housing loans and grants along with rental assistance.
• Funds $10 million to settle outstanding judgments.
• Adding new resources for Civil Service to ensure they can put people to work in a more efficient, effective manner.
Building for Our Future
• $480 million investment in Capital Budget for street, drainage, water and sewer construction alone.
• We finalized a historic $2 billion settlement with FEMA for repairs to roads and sewerage and drainage infrastructure. Our 2015-2019 capital budget is set at over $1.5 billion and includes hundreds of street projects.
• A bond measure our residents passed won’t raise taxes but will free up nearly $120 million over the next few years for street repairs.
• Set our fund balance at $44 million to end 2017. Our fund balance is one of the primary reasons we’ve received major credit rating upgrades for the City.