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Metro Council continues budget hearings after Mayor Broome proposes financial plan for 2024

2 weeks 6 hours 28 seconds ago Monday, November 20 2023 Nov 20, 2023 November 20, 2023 10:03 PM November 20, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The Metro Council met Monday night and continued to iron out Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome's proposed budget for 2024.

In early November, Mayor Broome said her top budget priorities are public safety, economic growth, drainage and transportation. The General Fund proposal for 2024 is $381,269,450, an increase of 6.09% from the previous budget.

Monday night, Metro Council members heard from leaders of the 19th Judicial District Court, the Council on Aging, the East Baton Rouge Health Unit, and the East Baton Rouge Public Library about their financial needs going forward.

Assistant Library Director Mary Stein said she's very aware of the public's investment going into the hearing. 

"It pays to keep the doors open at all 14 conveniently located branches," Stein said.

With the library's latest $11.6 million renovation of the Scotlandville Branch, they're planning for growth with a proposed $71 million budget. 

"There are a lot of funds that need to be covered since we're totally self-supporting," she said. "We are pay as you go. Nobody gives us anything except our voters."

For a service that's free to the public, Stein says library operations are stressed by inflation and rising costs. 

"Inflation has had a huge impact on our maintenance, repair capital budget," Stein added. "It's affected the price of books. It's also affected the speed at which we get supplies, including books and magazines."

Stein says apart from construction, the funding goes towards everyday operations at the library, paying for books, e-books, and databases. 

Metro Council members will continue to hear from different agencies throughout November. The City-Parish budget should be finalized by Dec. 12. 

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