DuBos: City faces tough challenges crafting budget

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wwltv.com

Posted on October 15, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 15 at 6:41 PM

This week’s Commentary by Eyewitness News Political Analyst and Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos concerns the mayor’s proposed budget for next year.

Clancy DuBos / Eyewitness News Political Analyst

NEW ORLEANS -- Good news is rare in politics. Such is the case with the city of New Orleans budget for next year. On the positive side, the city should collect about $10 million more next year, with no new taxes. Now for the bad news: expenses will increase by much more than $10 million.

In his budget address Tuesday, Mayor Mitch Landrieu repeated what he’s been saying for months: federal consent decrees at NOPD and Orleans Parish Prison will cost the city millions of dollars next year, and probably more in future years. Pensions, judgments, and worker compensation costs will push city expenses even higher.

The bottom line: more cuts to basic services, on top of wide-ranging cuts already made. So far, the mayor and the council have been able to use existing revenues to satisfy parts of the NOPD consent decree. The prison consent decree remains a work in progress, but we know it won’t be cheap.

The City Council begins budget hearings next week. Those hearings are always dreary. This year, more so than most.

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