NEW ORLEANS, La. (WGNO)- A shortfall of $100 million is what the City of New Orleans is up against right now. New Orleans City leaders are working on the budget for the 2021 fiscal year, and it’s not looking good for the city at this point.
Today at 10 a.m., the New Orleans City Council will vote on the proposed budget for next year.
This year, 2020 caused a major strain on the city of New Orleans, causing the city to now attempt to realign the budget.
Here’s a recap of what’s been happening:
Two of the most prosperous industries for the city were shut down and not producing income during the pandemic. Those two industries are the tourism industry and the service industry.
Since there was not a constant flow of revenue, tax collections decreased, meaning the city makes less money. That then causes a ripple effect down the line for the 2021 budget.
At this point, it’s inevitable that several departments will see extensive budget cuts. In fact, Mayor Cantrell’s office is predicting 40 percent budget cuts and hundreds of furloughs to employees.
One of those departments at risk of cuts could be the New Orleans Fire Department. An NOFD firefighter told us he fears that cuts will slow their response times.
This budget also asks voters to renew five millages that expire in 2021. If renewed, that will give the city the much-needed flexibility to spend in the future.
“When you think about 2020 and all that we’ve been through, we’re only doing this because it is critical and essential to keep city services not only going forward but to be more effective and efficient in terms of how we do business in our city,” said Mayor Latoya Cantrell, City of New Orleans.
If the five millage rates do not pass, it could put the city in a difficult situation because there’s no backup plan for replacing the money yet.
Voters will head back to the polls on December 5, 2020 to decide whether they want the five millages or not.