New Orleans firefighters strike deal to receive $75 million in b - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

New Orleans firefighters strike deal to receive $75 million in back pay

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

The administration of Mayor Mitch Landrieu has reached a deal with New Orleans fire fighters in a decades-old fight over back pay and other compensation.

The deal would require the city council to pass several city ordinances and for state lawmakers to draw new legislation.

Firefighters would receive $20 million in the first two years of the deal. Another $55 million will be payed over the next 13 years.

The money will come from a 2.5% property tax mill increase. Some of the money will come from the city's general fund.

Landrieu said he wanted to accomplish three goals. He wanted to give firefighters their back pay, fund their pension system and not bankrupt the city.

The city's financial obligation to the fire fighters has fueled contentious debate between the fire fighters’ union and the mayor, who at one point faced house arrest for refusing a judge’s order to pay up.

Landrieu inherited this fiscal headache that dates back decades, but as the current mayor, it is in his lap.

“We have a shared responsibility to make this right. This firefighters’ pension system is one of the worst in the country. We are spending more on pensions then we are on the entire fire department and the firefighters themselves. Over the last ten years they have gambled and lost you, the taxpayers, money," Landrieu said.

The Firefighters Association had filed contempt charges against the city. It alleged the city failed in an agreement to pay nearly $75 million in back wages.

A judge ruled the city owes the money to more than 1,000 firefighters or their families.

The city has said the association neglected to find a level headed approach, and paying that amount of money at one time could threaten essential services for citizens.

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