New Orleans firefighters and emergency officials have been at Canal and Rampart since the Hard Rock Hotel collapsed unexpectedly on Oct. 12.
With each passing day, the cost of cleanup grows.
“It is very, very, very, very expensive,” Gilbert Montano, Mayor Cantrell’s Chief Administrative Officer said. “Let’s just say, without being exact on the amount, approximately millions of dollars.”
The collapse happened just as the Cantrell Administration was preparing to present its proposed $722 million budget for next year and it added huge, unexpected costs.
“How does that affect the later parts of the year if we’re spending all this money up front?” Montano said. “What’s going to happen to our services over the course of the year?”
The city built in enough cushion last year to cover the costs associated with emergencies like the Hard Rock collapse according to Montano. That, combined with a budget surplus this year, should protect the city from any budget shortfalls.
“Right now, we are working with a little bit over a $5 million surplus,” City Council Budget Chairman Jared Brossett said. “We are nowhere near blowing the 2019 budget.”
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Now, as the Hard Rock cleanup continues, emergency officials say they’re hopefuly they’ll get the money they need next year. They say it’s what they need to make sure they can respond to the next major emergency, whatever and whenever that might be.
“Hard Rock? We’re writing the book on this,” Homeland Security Director Colin Arnold said. “It's a work in progress.”
Mayor LaToya Cantrell has said the building’s owner will have to cover manyt of the expenses that came after the collapse. As for the cost of the hotel’s demolition, the city says it’s still working with the owner to come up with that price tag. They say the owner will be responsible for that expense as well.