NEW ORLEANS – Today, the New Orleans City Council announced an agreement on the City’s 2018 General Fund and Capital budgets, totaling $646.3 million and $691.4 million respectively Because of State public noticing requirement, the fully amended 2018 budget will be released on December 14. The budget is completely balanced and continues to invest in top priorities, including public safety, job creation, recreation, streets, housing and quality of life, while delivering high quality services for New Orleans residents.
“Coming into office eight years ago, we were forced to make some difficult decisions to begin rebuilding our city. Working closely with the City Council, we have achieved major progress and have laid a strong foundation for the future and New Orleans has become the nation’s greatest comeback story,” said Mayor Landrieu. “We have gone from a budget deficit to a surplus. We now have the highest credit-rating in New Orleans’ history and a new confidence in doing business with our city.”
Mayor Landrieu continued, “Stabilizing and better managing the budget has allowed us to focus resources on top priorities. The 2018 budget will maintain many of the things outlined in the 2017 budget to continue this city on the path to success and prosperity. We will continue to focus on your priorities including public safety, job creation, recreation, streets, housing and quality of life. This Mayor and City Council are committed to making the first down payment on the Classification and Compensation Plan for our City employees and to funding an expansion of early education services for our children. We remain committed to making progress and building on the fiscal successes we have already made. This is more than a budget. It is a roadmap to continuing our progress. And because of our hard work and dedication, the next mayor and city council of New Orleans will take over a stronger, more prosperous city.”
When the Landrieu administration took office in May 2010, it inherited a $97 million deficit. Since then, with the help of the City Council and residents’ input, Mayor Landrieu created structural reforms that put the City on sound financial footing and has balanced the budget every year by cutting, reorganizing, investing in citizen’s priorities and growing.
In July 2017, Mayor Landrieu hosted Telephone Town Hall meetings as part of the budgeting process. Over 3,400 residents listened, and many provided valuable input that helped to ensure alignment between citizen priorities and the proposed budget.
Councilmember-at-Large Stacy Head said, "I'm very proud of this, my last budget as Chair of the Council's Budget Committee. With savings realized from structural budget improvements made by this council and administration, we've prioritized basic city services, such as catch basin cleaning, as well as funded salary increases for our police officers and many of our city employees. We have also invested in important programs that will ensure that New Orleans' future is bright. This budget increases access to high quality early childhood education by taking advantage of new state matching fund. The benefits of that investment will be felt for years to come."
Councilmember-at-Large Jason Rogers Williams said, “This budget reflects a more holistic approach to a healthier and safer city for all New Orleanians, including allocations not only for a City Council Public Safety Analyst but also to early childhood education. These new budget priorities mirror each other showing that public safety does not just mean policing but must take into account public health and education. We are clearly trying to refocus on root causes not just resulting symptoms.”
District A Councilmember Susan G. Guidry said, " The 2018 budget reflects eight years of work by the Mayor and Council to greatly reduce long-term debt, to cut waste and to improve the city's fiscal health. I am proud of the work that we have done, which is reflected in the best credit rating the city has ever had, a positive general fund balance and a dedicated rainy day fund. This healthy fiscal position allows the Council to add to the proposed budget increased funding for catch basin cleaning and repair, increases in salaries for city employees and sheriff's deputies, and first-time funding of a pilot for early childhood education and of youth intervention services connected with the juvenile justice reform measure recently passed by our Council."
District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell said, " I am encouraged by this new investment in early childhood education and by the raises we are making for some of our hard working City Hall employees. I hope that we can build on this momentum in order to provide raises to all of our to all of our City Hall classified staff in the near future."
District C Councilmember Nadine M. Ramsey said, " We heard from the public that they wanted to see more investment in human capital, youth and job training, which has been the priority since I took office. This budget reflects continued steps toward shifting priorities to focus on people. I am particularly proud of the commitment to programs like STEM Nola that will provide job training for our youth in the science and technology fields of the future."
District D Councilmember Jared C. Brossett said, "Today, my colleagues and I approved a balanced 2018 budget that is focused on implementing the priorities that are most important to the citizens of New Orleans. Our focus continues to be on critical services, public safety, infrastructure, quality of life improvements, and living wages for government employees. Additionally, this Council is making a significant investment in the children of New Orleans as we are allocate funds for an early childhood education pilot program. Though not perfect, the 2018 budget will adequately fund initiatives that will continue to move our city in the right direction."
District E Councilmember James Austin Gray II said, "Quality-of-life issues were first and foremost on my must-have list this year. Among the items I asked for in this year’s budget were improvements along major corridors in street repair, drainage, lights and maintenance of overgrown lots where the public is inconvenienced. We must do more to make District E a better place to live, work and raise your family."
First Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Jeff Hebert said, " I am proud of our budget team in the Chief Administrative Office for consistently preparing balanced budgets for the last 8 years of this administration and moving this city into fiscal stability.”
COMMITMENT TO PUBLIC SAFETY
- Increase funding for NOPD to hire another 150 police officers and implement targeted pay increases to improve retention efforts
- Increase civilian social workers and civilian investigators for sexual assault cases
- $6.5 million will be allocated to fund the consent decree between the City and the U.S. Department of Justice to completely transform NOPD
- Continue funding for the NOLA FOR LIFE Murder Reduction Strategy
- Allocate funds to support increased security at public facilities and the newly established command center in the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
- Increase funding to support the Information Technology & Innovation department, which funds enterprise systems stabilization and disaster recovery preparedness
- Increase funding for the New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD) and the NOFD pension settlement
- Increase funding for Emergency Medical Services to provide additional, critical paramedics and EMTs and to improve response time and address opioid epidemic
- Additional funds in the Equipment Maintenance Division of the Chief Administrative Office to support critical staffing and maintenance needs to reduce down-time of public safety vehicles
- Increase funding for the New Orleans Mosquito, Termite & Rodent Control Board to support additional staff and materials to combat the Zika virus
- Allocate funding for continued stability of the Youth Study Center and to support critical staff and operational needs
INVESTING IN OUR RESIDENTS’ PRIORITIES
- Prioritize money for enforcing minimum wage for City employees and contractors, and our local hiring policy
- Increase funding to support workforce development internships for high school students through YouthForce NOLA
- Allocate funding for the Office of Supplier Diversity to meet and exceed Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) goals
- Continue funding the NOLA Business Alliance to attract jobs and retail
Streets and Infrastructure
- $421 million investment in Capital Budget for street, drainage, water and sewer construction alone
Quality of Life
- Fund support of sustainable communities that integrate quality housing, transportation, schools, commercial development, energy efficiency, parks and green space, flood protection, and cultural assets
- Fund the Department of Safety & Permits to support a state-mandated coastal zone manager position and two critical storm water inspectors
- Fund the replacement of Office of Resilience and Sustainability grant funds that support the core budget of the office
- Support the Department of Property Management in operating costs of the newly transferred former Veterans Affairs Hospital complex
- Increase funding in the Office of Community Development to support the operations of the low-barrier homeless shelter
- Increase funding for the Department of Public Works to support additional pedestrian safety interventions
- Increase funding for New Orleans Recreation Development (NORD) Commission to support the operations of additional facilities opening in 2018
- Allocate funding for the City’s Equity Office so that City departments and leaders have the resources they need to ensure an equitable government
- $20 million for new and rollover investments in the City’s affordable housing initiatives
- Additional $5 million for City judgments and settlements
BUILDING FOR OUR FUTURE
- Finalized a historic $2 billion settlement with FEMA for repairs to roads and sewerage and drainage infrastructure. Our 2018-2022 capital budget is set at over $1.9 billion and includes hundreds of street projects
- Fund street repairs for next few years through a bond measure residents passed that won’t raise taxes but will free up nearly $100 million for these repairs
- $27 million will be set aside for cases of emergency in the Rainy Day Savings Fund.
- Allocate funding to institutionalize our workforce training, small business growth and black male unemployment reduction initiatives at NOLA Business Alliance
As part of a budget compromise, the final adopted budget will recognize:
- $750,000 for the New Orleans Early Education Network to improve access for early childhood education;
- $3.1 million to fund additional catch basin cleaning crews and equipment;
- $150,000 for the City Council to conduct a search for and hire a public safety consultant; $150,000 to expand youth intervention services at the Youth Opportunity Center and at Covenant House, which will provide funding for the implementation of the Juvenile Warning Notice System;
- $132,000 for STEM NOLA to provide computer science certification training;
- $7.8 million in public safety vehicle fleet improvements. This includes the purchase of an additional 100 police cars, which was announced earlier this year as a part of the 2017 Citywide Public Safety Plan, and 13 new ambulances;
- $9.2 million to fund New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) pay raises outlined in the NOPD Pay Plan. In October, the City Council voted to approve the new pay plan that will offer more competitive salaries and greater opportunities for advancement across the board;
- $2 million to address backlog of unpaid judgements. In September, City Council established a Judgment Fund that dedicates money annually to pay legal judgments rendered;
- $3 million for the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office as part of a consent judgement for pay raises and the creation of a compliance bureau;
- $1.5 million in equity raises for employees of the City of New Orleans. This will fund 10 percent pay raises for City employees with starting salaries of $24,000 or less annually. This roll out represents the first phase of the Comprehensive Classification and Compensation Plan, the result of the Comprehensive Classification and Compensation the Civil Service Commission and the City conducted earlier this year;
- These budget additions are made possible by the $30 million in long-term lease proceeds from the former World Trade Center parking garage will be recognized in the 2018 budget. $9.2 million of this will be reserved for the following year’s budget for 2019 NOPD pay raises.
Mayor Landrieu said, “Over 2,761 days ago, I was elected to turn the City around by putting our fiscal house back in order and getting our recovery back on track. This budget delivers on that promise, helps us to build on the progress we’ve made, and lays a stronger foundation for the future. As we look to the city’s 300th anniversary, we have worked hard to prepare a budget that seeks to help secure our success for the next 300 years.”