2016 budget passes with more money for police, firefighters

2016 budget passes with more money for police, firefighters

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The New Orleans City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the passage of the City's 2016 Capital and Operating budgets, totaling $483.1 million and $601.7 million respectively.

Following are some highlights of what was passed.

Public Safety

  • In 2016, NOPD will receive an additional $10.5 million plus another $300,000 increase in consent decree funding. NOPD’s budget has increased for 6th straight year.
  • To retain and attract new NOPD officers, budget fully funds 15 percent pay raises announced last year and budget more for nearly $11 million in overtime.
  • Funds hiring 150 new police officer recruits trained in community policing for a total budgeted police force of 1,266 officers.
  • Funds 50 new police cars bringing fleet to 450 new police cars purchased since 2013.
  • Funds license plate readers to help NOPD investigations.
  • Over $4.3 million increase for NOFD includes funds for 40 new recruits, additional $5 million from Capital Budget will purchase 12 new firefighting apparatuses.
  • Funds $1 million more for 911 call center for more 911 call-takers operators and support future consolidation of NOPD, NOFD and EMS call services to improve dispatch and response times.
  • More funding to Coroner, Public Defender, District Attorney and Criminal District Court.
  • Funds Sheriff at $61 million for 2016, double amount received in 2010.
  • The 2016 budget dedicates $43.2 million to the Fire Fighters’ Pension Fund plus pension obligation bond funding of $17 million for a total of $60.2 million to address those costs.

Residents' Priorities

  • With projects underway at Armstrong Airport and S&WB, 2016 budget dedicates more than $700,000 to City’s Economic Opportunity Strategy to create a pathway to prosperity for citizens, particularly young, African American men who are in need of a job.
  • Funds $500,000 for Disparity Study and new funding for DBE and Living Wage law enforcement.
  • Millions more for street maintenance crews in each council District every day of the week.d
  • Funds $3 million for streetlight repairs and upgrades to maintain 90-95 percent operational rate.
  • Sanitation and Parks & Parkways will receive increases to keep public spaces clean and beautiful.
  • In 2016, NORDC will receive $1.3 million more, making its total budget nearly triple that of 2010, to fund staffing at City’s new centers including the Sanchez, Stallings St. Claude and Rosenwald centers.
  • Adds $100,000 more to the Children Youth and Families Planning Board to help coordinate services for our children.
  • Funds blight eradication initiatives to continue City’s success having already eliminated 15,000 blighted addresses. Fully funded lot maintenance program will continue hiring locals to cut over 4,800 abandoned lots.
  • Safety & Permits will receive $750,000 and City Planning will receive $469,000 to replace expiring grants and maintain City Hall’s customer service focus through One Stop Shop.
  • Funds NOLA Business Alliance to create new jobs by continuing to attract businesses and retail.
  • Funds NOLA 311 customer service system and One Stop Shop for permitting.
  • Funds $15.5 million for more affordable housing, provide housing loans and grants, rental assistance and $1 million low-barrier shelter for the homeless. Additional $6 million of CDBG and NHIF funds dedicated to the development and preservation of affordable housing.
  • Provides funding for first year's debt service on $10 million fund to settle outstanding judgements.

Future Plans

  • $140 million in 2016 Capital Budget for road repairs and infrastructure improvements (FEMA-funded Recovery Roads Program, bond funds and implementation of stormwater management projects as proposed in the City’s Resilience Strategy).
  • Construction of a new terminal facility at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and replacement of bridge at Joe W. Brown Park.
  • Ongoing improvement projects like the Criminal Evidence and Processing Center, Milne Gym Renovation in Gentilly, Municipal Yacht Harbor in West End, the reconstruction of St. Bernard Ave. from Filmore Ave. to Robert E. Lee Blvd., Gert Town Natatorium and new NOPD Second District Police Station in Gert Town.

 Copyright 2015 WVUE. All rights reserved.