City leaders look to public for input on 2013 budget

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wwltv.com

Posted on August 13, 2012 at 7:28 AM

Updated Monday, Aug 13 at 7:41 AM

Katie Moore / Eyewitness News
Email: kmoore@wwltv.com | Twitter: @katiecmoore

NEW ORLEANS - After plugging a $13 million dollar mid-year budget hole, New Orleans city leaders turned their attention to 2013.

The Landrieu administration is hosting community budget hearings in different council districts to talk directly to citizens about it.

"We want input in this process and they're absolutely right. Through input, results will happen," said New Orleans City Council member for District E, Freddie Charbonnet,

Charbonnet, the newest city council member, is about to embark on the city's most difficult task - crafting a budget.

"We're in the same bad situation that we've been in for several years. We've got a whole lot more needs than resources. And we need to have a very honest conversation," said the council president, Stacy Head.

The conversation begins Monday evening with the first citizen budget hearing for District B.

"We're making up past deficits. But for two years now, we've had a balanced budget and that says something," said the council vice president, Jackie Clarkson.

Largely dependent on sales tax revenue, the city budget fluctuates with spending habits.

That's one reason why CAO Andy Kopplin had to plug the $13 million shortfall in July.

"The administration has really tried to encourage people to look at, not just what you want, because we all have a lot of wants. But what are you willing to give up to get those fundamentals," Head said.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu said he hopes to once again use input from residents to come up with his priorities for 2013.

"For me, there is no question that after you fund our requirements, our public safety and our debt service, the next thing you fund before anything else is infrastructure repairs. We should have streetlights every single place in the city. We should have street signs every single place in the city," Head said.

Neighborhood meetings start at 6 p.m.:

  • District B: August 13
  • District E: August 15
  • District C: August 20
  • District A: August 22
  • District D: August 27

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