The New Orleans City Council is now reviewing the budget proposed for next year by Mayor Mitch Landrieu. The city is dealing with lower revenues and higher expenses.
Mayor Landrieu says the budget is just over $491 million — about $5 million less than last year. He says most departments are getting cuts.
“With the exceptions of public safety entities — the New Orleans Police Department, the New Orleans Fire Department and EMS — many departments will see an 8 to 10 percent reduction from their 2012 budgets. These cuts will have consequences and these cuts will hurt.”
Landrieu says sales tax revenue wasn’t as much as expected, despite a full calendar of events that drew hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city.
“The City of New Orleans gets a very, very small portion of the taxes that are generated by all these events. We’re happy to host these events. We love the fact that through the private sector jobs are created. But in terms of money coming directly into the city general fund — for those who you that have covered the state — you will know that the state gets most of that money, whether it’s sales tax or hotel-motel tax money. And so we’re thankful for it. We think it’s a great thing. We want to keep doing it, but it doesn’t solve our budget crisis.”
Landrieu says the city gets only 1.5 percent of a 13 percent hotel-motel tax, and 2.5 of the 9 percent general sales tax. He’s proposing a $2 or $3 monthly fee on power bills to fund ongoing street light repairs. But there are no plans for any major layoffs.
Correction: October 30, 2012
This article originally stated that only three city departments will be exempt from budget cuts. Many departments will in fact see their budgets remain the same, or grow, next year under the city budget proposed by Mayor Landrieu, but the vast majority of departments will have to contend with less.