The Louisiana legislature is starting a two-month session today in Baton Rouge. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has three proposals for changes he says the city needs.
Mayor Landrieu is pushing for a reduction from six judges to four in juvenile court. He says four judges can handle the workload, and says the bill would allow savings to be invested. He’s also proposing to change the firefighters pension system that he says is costing the city $50 million a year. Landrieu says the bill would require an increased employee contribution from six percent to 10, and have a board of five with local control.
“Every dollar we spend — overspend — on firefighters pension funds means that we can’t fund the fire department. So you have this kind of ironic thing where some members of the firefighters union are complaining that they don’t have enough people on the trucks. One of the reasons we don’t have people on the trucks is because we’re paying so much for an out-of-balance pension system.”
Landrieu is also proposing changes at the Sewerage and Water Board. He says $350 million is now available for repairs to the leaking system. He wants a professional board of nine members, instead of 13, with expertise in engineering, finance and other fields.
The legislative session is set to convene through June 6.