Mayor Mitch Landrieu presented his administration's proposed 2014 budget to journalists and to the New Orleans City Council on Tuesday.
Before the budget presentation, city hall observers were expecting significant cuts — as much as 15 percent across the board. But the budget the mayor presented on Tuesday was not so severe.
A few departments, like police and fire, saw modest increases. For the most part, cuts to other departments added up to less than 10 percent of their 2013 operating budgets. Mayor Landrieu repeated his annual budget mantra.
"Our strategy is actually pretty simple — we cut smart, with a scalpel not a hatchet," Landrieu said. "We reorganize how government works so people can get the services they deserve, and we invest the savings in what matters most."
What could be the biggest upcoming budget issue — how to pay for a federal consent decree over Orleans Parish Prison — is still an unknown. The mayor's budget doesn't allocate any money for the consent decree, even though the cost has been estimated at $20 million annually.