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June 19, 2019

Mayor Wins Council Approval for His Fourth Consecutive Balanced City Budget

Mayor Sylvester Turner won City Council approval Wednesday by a 12-4 vote for his proposed annual city operating budget, his fourth consecutive balanced budget. It calls for no layoffs of police, fire or municipal workers. To the contrary, the budget funds five police cadet classes of 70 cadets per class.

The city’s leading expense is for police and fire department payroll and other expenses, maintaining public safety as the city’s prime function and public service.

The $2.5 billion general fund budget fully funds the three employee pension systems, maintains a healthy fund balance in case of emergencies and includes continency funds for pay raises and hurricane preparedness.

“This is a forward-looking budget that upholds the people’s priorities – public safety, financial integrity, commitment to street repairs and drainage and enhancing our quality of life,” Mayor Turner said. “Simply put, it sets the foundation to meet the essential needs of a thriving city without excess or waste.”

To balance the budget and comply with the property tax budget cap voters approved in 2004, Mayor Turner cut another $11.1 million in city department spending -- the fourth consecutive year in which he trimmed municipal government costs.

Pension reform that was brokered by the mayor and approved by voters is saving the city billions of dollars and avoided an even larger annual budget gap.

The budget does not rely on selling city land or deferring any payments, which were balancing techniques used in the past. It also commits to utilizing zero-based budgeting for the next budgetary cycle.