Agreement Reached Between N.O. Mayor, Council Members Over Budget Restores Parade Reviewing Stands
by Mike Hoss / Eyewitness News
Posted on January 5, 2010 at 4:41 PM
Updated Tuesday, Jan 5 at 10:04 PM
NEW ORLEANS — An agreement has been reached between Mayor Ray Nagin and members of the New Orleans City Council to restore some of the funding that had been cut for several city services.
Negotiations have been ongoing on this issue since last month, with officials trying to reach a compromise between the two budgets: the mayor’s budget and the council’s budget. Significant cuts went into effect this week, but around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, all the parties said they had reached an agreement on the 2010 budget with many of the services restored.
Among the services that were restored include blight hearings, as the city tries to get some of the blighted properties back into the market; money for the District Attorney’s Office; juvenile and municipal criminal courts; emergency services; and the parade viewing stands at Gallier Hall for Mardi Gras now has the funding for the city to put them up and take them down.
“I’m happy to say that through our collective discussions with the mayor, and Dr. Hatfield and councilmember Morrell as budget chair, we have restored a number of the cuts that were made that the public wants restored,” Fielkow said.
Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said while they could not restore everything, that’s just the nature of the budget process. “Again, I want to reiterate what our council president said, and what Dr. Hatfield and what the mayor agreed to: we looked at critical issues that had to be restored,” she said.
A four-day work week at City Hall remains in effect. Friday it will stay closed, and its new schedule will stay from Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“Just keep in mind that even though we are only open four days a week, our employees are working 35 hours a week,” said Dr. Brenda Hatfield, chief administrative officer. “And so actually the day is extended until 6 o’clock for services, and some people in the community like that.”
So where does the new money come from? It comes from new revenue projections. The mayor had his budget, with the revenue projected at about $462 million, and the City Council was a little lower at $455 million. The compromise for the new budget for 2010 is somewhere around $460 million.
The issue now goes to the City Council on Thursday. They must first vote unanimously to put it on as an emergency agenda item, and then it must be a simple majority vote of the council to pass, once again, the 2010 budget.