NEW ORLEANS -- Mayor Mitch Landrieu handed over his proposed 2014 budget to the City Council Tuesday; it’s a $504-million budget proposal -- $7 million higher than 2013.
Proposed spending includes 150 new police officers. They will satisfy part of the court-ordered reforms to the New Orleans Police Department.
Safety on the streets, once again, seems to be the No. 1 budget priority for residents and Mayor Landrieu. He recommended a nearly $129-million budget for the department next year.
“We will fully fund five new recruit classes, which will train 150 new police officers,” Landrieu said.
It's part of the nearly $12 million for court-ordered reforms to the department. That number also includes more than $2 million for the consent decree monitor -- one Landrieu’s administration fought in court as too expensive.
“We were ordered to hire a particular monitor and pay them a particular amount and that is what is budgeted for that consent decree,” Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin told the City Council Tuesday.
City Council members listened to presentations from Landrieu, Kopplin and Deputy Mayor Cedric Grant. At-Large City Councilmember Stacy Head was absent from Tuesday’s presentation because she was on a previously planned trip with her kids.
What wasn’t included in the budget proposal was additional funding for the consent decree over Orleans Parish Prison.
“There is a specific number to fund the Sheriff's Office operations. It is the same number that it was last year,” Landrieu said.
The city leaders said they’re still negotiating how much the city will have to pay to bring Orleans Parish Prison up to court-ordered standards.
Kopplin said the City Council hearings will play a role in those negotiations, including a close look at the OPP population.
“It costs more to house more inmates, whether those are local or state. So, you have to have more deputies guarding more inmates. So, the population estimates and the size of the jail are critical,” Kopplin told the council.
Landrieu proposed cuts to more than a dozen city departments, but Kopplin said some of those would get those funds replenished with federal money.
Kopplin also warned residents they're counting on collecting sanitation fees people haven't paid to the tune of a $1 million.
Now the City Council will work through the proposed budget with a series of meetings before they pass a final budget at the end of November.
For a complete look at the Mayor’s proposed 2014 budget, click here.