NEW ORLEANS – Mayor Mitch Landrieu hopes to create the city’s first-ever “rainy day fund” to help prepare New Orleans for any potential emergency.
Landrieu presented his proposed operating budget of $647 million and proposed capital budget of $691 million to the City Council this morning, his last proposed budget as mayor.
Citing the issues the city faced seven years ago when he took office, Landrieu sketched a picture of a city in turmoil and nearly bankrupt, reeling from the BP oil spill, stalled in its recovery from Hurricane Katrina, and mired in corruption.
“Together, we have made a lot of progress for the people of the city of New Orleans,” he said. “It is, without doubt, true that we are moving the city forward, and together, we have laid a very strong foundation for the future.”
While many things have changed over the course of his administration, Landrieu said there is still a long way to go for the city.
“In seven years, we have righted the ship of government and gone from a budget deficit to a budget surplus,” he said. “The one thing that we have always lacked is a source of funding in times of emergency, and we have had more than our fair share.”
Looking ahead to the next administration and the possibility of future disasters, Landrieu said he hopes the City Council will approve a “rainy day fund.”
The fund, if approved by the City Council, will help help ensure there is money in the bank for any possible disaster situation.
To address more immediate concerns for the safety of the citizens of New Orleans, Landrieu said his budget plan calls for a pay increase for the NOPD, the purchase of 300 new police cars, and 300 new long guns for officers.
“In 2018 we’re proposing a third pay raise for the NOPD through the new pay plan that’s going to boost recruitment and retention of officers,” Landrieu said. “We’re also adding additional funding that’s going to increase security at public facilities and a newly established command center at the NOPD and the Office of Homeland Security.”
City Councilmember Stacy Head thanked Landrieu for his service and said told the outgoing mayor how much she has enjoyed working with him and his staff.
“What you said you came into is not an overstatement of the problems, and the foundations that we have now cannot be overstated,” Head said. “I’d like to thank you for that. I am sad to leave City Hall service, but I have delighted to have worked with so many fine men and women of your administration.”