New Orleans Budget Process

Budget process entails the creation and approval of a budget and involves various members of a team. The New Orleans city budget is determined by the executive leaders comprising of the city mayor and his deputies, the city administration comprising of the town council, the press as well as the public. They all have a role to play in creating the budget of New Orleans. Budgeting is vital because it sets and allocates capital which is then appropriately utilized to achieve designated targets of the city and its residents.

The process of budgeting involves the creation of a budget proposal by the city mayor detailing the sources of revenues and the usage of expenditure, presenting it before the Revenue estimating Conference to ensure a budget based on sound economic forecasts despite the limited time of thirty days given by the Home Rule Chapter for the city council to review the budget proposed by the Mayor. The Mayor has to work hand in hand with the council to ensure the budget being delivered is reviewed, analyzed and amended appropriately.

The budget proposal shows the projected spending plan for the coming fiscal year. The mayor outlines the purpose of the strategic framework, the financial overview, the capital summary for the year 2013, a statement of debt and the departmental budgets. On the background of an inherited debt of $97M which is addressed by the Mayor there is a reduction in the spending gap. This is achieved by reversing the spending trend and by relying on constant revenue to balance budget. With reduced spending and improved productivity in the form of; one stop shop, improved security and employment rates, improved health and recreation facilities as well as transport and sustainability; there have been great strides made towards making life sustainable in the City of New Orleans (Landrieu, 2012). This report is supported by Steve Spires who highlights the success of the Earned Income Tax Credit as an effective anti-poverty policy. The budget highlights include public safety, open governance, children and/or families, community sustenance and economic development. The Mayor strategizes to cut spending, reorganize and invest appropriately (Landrieu, 2012). The budget proposal thus aims at implementing that strategy. The budget proposal prioritizes financial allocations to the New Orleans Police Department, miscellaneous activities and for recreation. The departments that are non-prioritized in the proposed budgetary allocations include Health and Emergency Services department, sanitation and the mayor and council office allocations.

The Mayor then presents the proposed budget to the City Council who review, analyze and amend it. This is done in liason with the administrators including the Mayor’s deputies and the Chief Administrative Officers, the public and members of the press. The council convenes meetings with the Revenue Estimating Conference who also analyze the proposal in line with the current national economic transitions. In addition public meetings are held to allow the resident of the city to decide what issues need more prioritization in terms of financial allocations. These are held in every Council district. Moreover, there media involvement aids in promoting and sensitizing the public concerning participation in the meetings and highlighting the areas that need to be prioritized most.

The Deputy Mayor- Chief Administrative Officer play a role in the budgeting process by working with council members to host public priority setting meeting, they are also to be in constant liason with each other during the whole budgeting for outcome process. The role the city council during the budget process involves adding a non-voting ex officio member of the Revenue Estimating Conference, may convene meetings for the Revenue Estimation Conference and have to cooperate with the Deputy Mayor Infrastructure and City Planning Commission to develop an improved format for executive capital budget presentation. The Public’s role is in attending the priority setting meetings in each council district and in determining how financial allocations are allotted to each department. The role of the press comes in when the budget is posted on the City of New Orleans website after it is submitted to the city council.