BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — The East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council has approved the city-parish's 2014 budget of $805 million as proposed by Mayor-President Kip Holden, without making a single change.
The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/IPfP7H ) Holden's budget represents a 3 percent increase over the 2013 budget. About 55 percent of the general fund is dedicated to public safety, and includes both a police academy for 25 new officers and fire department academy for 30 new firefighters.
The budget also includes $1 million for police vehicles; $900,000 for renovations at the old Woman's Hospital on Airline Highway, which is being converted into a new police and Sheriff's Office headquarters; $1.5 million for an incentive payment to IBM in Baton Rouge; and $100,000 for the 2017 U.S. Bowling Congress Women's Championship.
Holden said he was prepared for a long debate, but was pleased by the council's swift approval of the budget.
"It's a testament to those who stuck with us," he said.
"We see the faith and confidence they place in us, and we still may have differences down the line, but we are content to work everything out."
Holden noted that Baton Rouge recently became the only city in Louisiana with a AAA bond rating from Standard & Poor's Rating Services, which he said further validates the responsible financial decisions being made by the city-parish.
Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com