NEWORLEANS-- City Council members came into their final vote on the 2013 budget, with budget chair Jackie Clarkson calling it 'a consensus of priorities.'
'There were many other things we wanted to fund,' said Council Vice President Clarkson.
Among the most important priorities, they said: funding for two NOPD recruit classes in the spring and fall of next year. In all, the Council made few changes to the $491 million budget proposed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
'This was a lean budget,' said City Council President Stacy Head. 'One of the changes that we've seen with this administration, is that we truly do live within our means, which is important and it's fiscally responsible.'
'I think when the public looks at this budget, they're going to see it's a little lopsided because of outside requirements -- consent decrees,' said Council member Cynthia Hedge-Morrell of District D.
However, the vote also came with a last-minute proposal by Council President Head, who wanted to roll back the city's millage rate, citing a smaller post-Katrina population.
'That is why I believe we really should take of rolling back the millage to not gain a windfall, but instead to only recover $2.8 million in excess property taxes for the city,' Head said.
While other council members said they agreed in principal, they ended up rejecting the proposal in a 6 to 1 vote.
'We have the same footprint that we did before the storm, we have to light the same number of streetlights that we had before the storm, we have to police the same number of streets we had before the storm,' said City Council member Kristen Gisleson Palmer of District C.
'At the 11th hour, it seems very difficult to do something about this,' said District E Council member Ernest Charbonnet.
Despite rejecting the proposed rollback, several council members said the millage is something they should take a closer look at next year.