New Orleans considering defunding underproducing city agencies

Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 5:21 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - After many complaints from residents, the New Orleans City Council could soon temporarily take funding away from some city agencies.

It’s all part of a series of bills authored by Councilman Joe Giarrusso.

Giarrusso tells FOX 8 the bills would target a handful of agencies that he says are not being transparent with the public and not delivering the services in a timely manner.

“We want to make sure that residents are getting the services that should be delivered to them,” says Giarrusso.

Starting in June, the City Council could begin to temporarily withhold half the agencies’ operating budgets until the issues are resolved and those agencies will not be allowed to hire any new employees in the meantime. The bills would affect the Offices of Safety and Permits, City Planning, Public Works, and the Law Department.

Beau Tidwell, spokesperson for the mayor’s office, says the city is in the middle of a historic infrastructure project that has revealed some weaknesses in the system, but he doesn’t believe the bills are the solution to the problem.

“This package of bills, the quote’s been going around to defund some of these offices... It doesn’t seem fair to defund these offices when we need them to do the critical work,” says Tidwell.

“So you have existing staff already who are capable of doing the work... and that’s not to say that other departments don’t need to grow more, but it’s hard to justify giving people more money when the public isn’t seeing results,” says Giarrusso.

Giarrusso wants to make it clear that the Council will not touch any federal money and he says current employees of these agencies will not be affected. The series of bills will be introduced during Thursday’s Budget Committee Meeting in Council Chambers.

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