Mayor Mitch Landrieu will hold the first of five town-hall meetings on the 2014 city budget Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in City Council District C. It will be held at L.B. Landry High School, 1200 L.B. Landry Ave., in Algiers.

The meetings, one for each district, run through Aug. 28. The Lens will live-blog each one. (See below for tonight’s.)

Since taking office in 2010, Landrieu has used these meetings to gather community input on budget priorities.

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.

The city ended 2012 with a $9.3 million deficit for the general fund, according to an audit released Monday, largely due to a $46 million fee it paid to terminate a failed, decade-old bond deal. Officials also increased the city’s estimate for long-term legal claims by $98 million, to $295 million.

And the city’s “net position” — the amount its assets exceeded its liabilities — dropped from $111.3 million at the end of 2011 to $38.6 million at the end of 2012. That doesn’t include Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and the Sewer and Water Board, which have a combined net position of $2 billion.

The 2014 budget promises to be even tougher than previous years. The city faces increased expenses due to the adoption of federal consent decrees for the New Orleans Police Department and the Orleans Parish Prison.

The police consent decree is expected to average $10 million to $11 million annually. The cost of the jail consent decree has not yet been determined; it could run into the tens of millions annually. Landrieu has warned that those new expenses could lead to mass layoffs of essential employees.

Live blog

Upcoming meetings

Each meeting starts at 6 p.m. The Lens will live-blog each one.

  • Tuesday, Aug. 20: District A, represented by Susan Guidry
    Location: Edward Hynes Charter School, 990 Harrison Ave.
  • 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.

Charles Maldonado

Charles Maldonado is the editor of The Lens. He previously worked as The Lens' government accountability reporter, covering local politics and criminal justice. Prior to joining The Lens, he worked for...