Government & Politics

Live blog: City Council to vote on 2014 budget, water shutoff ordinance

The New Orleans City Council is set to vote on Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s proposed 2014 city budget Thursday. The meeting will start at 10 a.m.; I’ll live-blog it here.

Landrieu’s $504 million general-fund budget is a surprisingly positive one. That’s $8 million more than the 2013 budget as originally passed by the council, and it counts on $10 million more in revenue than the city expects to collect this year. Most of the extra money comes from an expected 2 percent bump in tax collections.

The city also hopes to increase sanitation fee collections through a proposal allowing the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans to cut off water services for delinquent garbage payments.

The budget proposal includes few significant departmental cuts, although departments reportedly had prepared for across-the-board cuts of up to 15 percent. Landrieu does not plan any layoffs or furloughs of city employees, though the overall number of full-time employees would be reduced by 170 through attrition.

If revenue estimates are correct, the city will end the year with a positive balance in its emergency fund for the first time in five years.

The proposed budget, however, does not account for what could be tens of millions of dollars in additional expenses to pay for a federal consent decree for Orleans Parish Prison and late payments to the city’s firefighters pension fund.

Sheriff Marlin Gusman has requested $13 million more than Landrieu has offered to cover the consent decree next year. And the firefighters union told the Landrieu administration that the city’s overdue obligation to the pension system will grow to about $25 million next year.

Live blog

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