More traffic cameras coming to New Orleans

Nick Reimann

As part of the $614 million proposed budget for 2017, announced by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Monday, Oct. 17, $3 million is going toward adding 55 new traffic cameras in the city. There are 66 currently operating.

The city expects to make $5 million in revenue from the new traffic cameras, which it hopes to use to increase public safety, a major focus of the 2017 budget.

As part of this focus, funding for the New Orleans Police Department is set to rise by $8 million in 2017, which is intended to be used to hire around 150 new police officers, according to the official budget press release. This increase is part of a much larger increase over the past several years for the department, which has seen its budget rise by around $30 million since 2010.

The budget, which is a $14 million increase from the $600 million seen in 2016, will also dedicate $4.5 million to new overtime funding for police officers and increase funding for Orleans Parish Prison. The district attorney, public defender, coroner and city courts’ budgets will remain at 2016 levels.

Also covered by the budget is $51 million for the New Orleans Firefighters’ Pension Fund. The fund, which has been the subject of lawsuits by New Orleans firefighters, will be fully funded for 2017.

The budget, which was formally proposed by Mayor Landrieu at a special city council meeting, now stands before the council to tweak over the coming weeks before it is formally approved.

The official budget proposal by the mayor comes after several open community meetings this summer, where around 1,200 citizens came together to provide their input, according to the city’s press release.

In any case, Mayor Landrieu believes that this budget hits all of the top priorities and is part of modernizing the city and making it more livable for its residents.

“We have had a very clear strategy: cut smart, reorganize, invest in our residents’ priorities, grow and then repeat,” Landrieu said in his official press release.

“In the 2017 budget, we will have a laser focus on your priorities: public safety, job creation, recreation, streets, housing and quality of life. While substantial liabilities remain, we are working hard to address these issues. I remain optimistic because of our remarkable progress in turning the city’s fiscal ship around in the last six and a half years.

This is not only a budget, this is our roadmap to the future. Next year has great potential for us to continue this progress forward as we approach our city’s 300th anniversary in 2018.”

In addition to the cameras, the city also hopes to bring in revenue in 2017 from renovation of the World Trade Center and enforcement of a 40-cent per gallon hard liquor tax.