Council approves 2016 city budget; funds city's largest police force
BATON ROUGE - Metro council members approved the mayor's spending plan for next year Tuesday evening.
No one voted against the $880 million spending plan that includes significant growth for public safety. The entire budget is about 6% more than the spending plan for 2015.
The budget calls for a new police academy in September. A set of recruits are in an academy now, and will graduate in March. Once the latest round of recruits become officers, their addition to the force will increase the number of officers to a record.
"We'll have more policemen and firemen on the streets than any time in the city-parish history," William Daniel, the mayor's CAO, told the council recently.
The budget also includes a full year's worth of pay raises for city workers. Earlier this year, city leaders increased pay by 2%. But, since the raise came after the 2015 budget was finalized and months after it went into effect, the raises only cost the city about $4.9 million. In 2016, the raises will need about $6.6 million. The mayor's office said the raises will be funded from general funds and added revenues. Minimum wage for city employees was also increased to $9.30/hour.
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