Mayor Mitch Landrieu will hold the second of five town-hall meetings on the 2014 city budget Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in City Council District A, which includes Lakeview, Carrollton and Mid-City. Tuesday’s meeting will be held at the Edward Hynes Charter School, 990 Harrison Ave. The Lens will live blog the meeting below.
At last week’s meeting in District C, Landrieu took a number of questions from Algiers residents frustrated by a fare schedule for the Algiers ferry recently approved as the Regional Transit Authority prepares to take control. Landrieu said the state, which used to fund the ferry with bridge tolls from the Crescent City Connection, “really kind of walked away from its obligations.”
Saying next year’s general fund budget is expected to be about $491 million, Landrieu took repeated shots at the federal government over what is likely to be the city’s biggest budget challenge in 2014: the combined cost of newly adopted consent decrees negotiated by the U.S. Department of Justice with the New Orleans Police Department and Orleans Parish Prison. Together, the two agreements could increase annual jail and police expenses by tens of millions of dollars.
“When a federal judge says, ‘I don’t care what the City of New Orleans wants,’ you have to reduce that $491 million by however much that is,” Landrieu said.
He adopted a similar tone while describing his administration’s continued fight over firefighter pensions.
“Right now the firefighter pension system in the City of New Orleans is 40 percent funded,” he said. “One of the reasons is they don’t pay enough in. And they take it out sooner … Guess who fills it. Everybody in here raise your hand.”
“You can’t spend more money than you have. And the city of New Orleans is, in my opinion, in a difficult position,” Landrieu said.
Landrieu typically releases his proposed executive budget in October. The City Council holds budget hearings beginning in early November. It has until Dec. 1 to amend and pass a budget, which in recent years has approached $900 million. That includes $500 million in the general fund, the locally generated portion of the budget over which the city has direct control.
Each meeting starts at 6 p.m. The Lens will live-blog each one.
- Thursday, Aug. 22: District E, represented by James Austin Gray II
- Location: Joe W. Brown Recreational Center, 5601 Read Blvd.
- Monday, Aug. 26: District D, represented by Cynthia Hedge-Morrell
Location: Lake Area New Tech Early College High School, 6026 Paris Ave.
- Wednesday, Aug. 28: District B, represented by LaToya Cantrell
KIPP Central City Academy, 2514 Third St.
City agencies will be on hand starting at 5:30 p.m. to talk to residents and deal with specific concerns.
Virtual town hall meeting
On Aug. 30 at 12:30 p.m., join The Lens for a live, text-based chat to discuss the administration’s priorities and challenges in budgeting for the upcoming year.