Live blog Thursday: Landrieu holds public meeting on city finances in Lakeview

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Mayor Mitch Landrieu will hold a town hall meeting on city finances Thursday evening in City Council District A, at Lakeview Christian Center.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m.; The Lens will live-blog it here.

The forums are designed to allow the public to weigh in on how Landrieu should spend public dollars next year.

District A, represented by Councilwoman Susan Guidry, hugs the western edge of the city and includes Lakeview, parts of Mid-City and Hollygrove, Carrollton, Riverbend and Uptown.

Because the district includes Lakeview, home of some of the city’s worst roads and the Fix My Streets campaign, District A budget meetings have focused heavily on road repair.

But another campaign has emerged this year: Employees and supporters of the Orleans Public Defenders Office have shown up to every meeting to seek additional city funding.

The office, which represents about 85 percent of the city’s criminal defendants, is facing a $1 million deficit. Chief Public Defender Derwyn Bunton has warned that staff cuts and furloughs are coming in the fall.

Bunton made an appearance at the last town hall meeting, making the case that a better funded public defenders office would reduce the jail population. A jail now under construction is capped at just over 1,400 beds, but the city’s average daily jail population is still above 1,800.

Sheriff Marlin Gusman wants to build another facility to accommodate the inmates, which Landrieu now opposes. A number of audience members at the District B meeting spoke out against the idea.

“We need to force ourselves to do better when it comes to incarceration,” Bunton said.

Live blog, 6 p.m. Thursday

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