by Clancy DuBos
In his budget address to the City Council on Thursday, Oct. 14, Mayor Mitch Landrieu highlighted changes his administration brought to City Hall in his first 165 days. In particular, the mayor cited deep cuts he had to make to cover a projected $80 million deficit in the current year — thanks to egregious overspending by former Mayor Ray Nagin. Tucked into Landrieu’s litany of cuts: the once-vaunted Nagin crime cameras, which cost the city millions, led to several federal public corruption indictments, and actually solved few if any crimes.
“We had to make hard cuts, like no longer funding the crime camera program,” Landrieu told the council. “For the millions the city has sunk into this program, crime cameras have yielded little results. Both Chief [Ronal] Serpas and I agree that with the limited resources we have, our money needs to be better spent in a targeted way on other public safety priorities.”
In addition to eliminating the failed crime camera program, other cuts in the public safety arena include funding only one new class of police cadets this year, which will reduce the total number of commissioned police officers by 60. “But this will not impact the number of cops on the beat as Chief Serpas gets more officers from behind the desk and onto the streets,” Landrieu pledged.