Baton Rouge, La (NBC33) — The budget for 2012 is set at just under $750 million, but at last night’s Metro Council meeting, the council made a historic number of changes, and moved $1.5 million from places Mayor Holden wanted it.
Today, the mayor and the council are once again butting heads.
While Mayor Holden stated last night's changes could mean a credit downgrade or even worse, Mayor Pro-tem Mike Walker said the parish is in a better place that makes more financial sense.
“We think the decisions we made are proper and better for the citizens and taxpayers of this community and for the future generations that come after us,” stated Walker.
More than half a million dollars has been moved from the Reserve Fund to the District attorney's Office, the Constable's Office, and the Alcohol and Drug Center.
The council also took $115,000 from the Baton Rouge Center for World Affairs, and almost $720,000 from Holden's economic development program!
Walker said it's something that needed to be done, “We saw so many things that we believe could be eliminated (and) could be used for better purposes within our own budget.”
Holden disagreed, saying all the changes could leave members of council bringing bad news to the people they serve. “I have to tell people… it comes to the point where we have to lay people off,” said Holden. “Then, those council members will have to answer to a lot of constituents.”
Walker stated the council did what those same constituents wanted, “The taxpayers today want government to spend within their means, and they want us to prioritize spending much better. The council last night did just that.