More than two years after New Orleans was given permission to begin drawing down federal recovery grants, the city has spent less than 5 percent of the $300 million in grant money appropriated in the city’s operating budget, the city’s chief technology officer Harrison Boyd told the City Council today.
The amount totals $11 million, a small fraction of the $411 million in federal Disaster Community Development Block Grants the city is eligible to receive. The remaining $111 million in grants is to be spent on capital projects that require more oversight from the council than those funded through the operating budget.
Sensing the council’s disappointment with the relatively meager amount of spending that has happened so far, Boyd rushed to reassure the body that 88 percent of the disaster grants have been appropriated.
By spent, Boyd said, “that mean someone submitted an invoice, an invoice processed and funds disbursed.”
The admission comes amid a heated debate over whether the City Council held up the recovery by asking the administration for an additional two weeks to review a budget rollover before voting on it.