Wednesday, 06 April 2016 12:16

Is New Orleans most efficient city, when Chief Harrison scoffs at $, Mayor Landrieu says it needs?

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Say what?
A day after Bayoubuzz published a column and an audio clip from Jeff Crouere  in which the radio talk show host and Bayoubuzz columnnist suggests that a mileage increase for the police force and firemen is not needed--especially since the city's top cop reportedly claims he doesn't need the money, out from nowhere comes a bombshell.

According to WalletHub, New Orleans is the most efficient city in America in the way it spends taxpayer dollars on particular key expenditures like education and law enforcement.
C’mon.  New Orleans?
Yep. WalletHub, claims—you’ve read it—New Orleans is rated number 1 as the most efficient city in America.
But, in Crouere’s Tuesday's yesterday, BREAKING: New Orleans Police Chief Harrison makes bombshell $ statement,  the WGSO host wrote:

“In a recording provided by an anonymous source exclusively to Ringside Politics, NOPD Chief Michael Harrison claims that " money is not the problem, or I don't think it is. " The recording took place at a recent meeting in which the Police Chief outlined the needs of his If money is not the problem for the NOPD, why is Mayor Landrieu pushing for an increase in property taxes? The 5 mill increase for the police is supposedly necessary for the department to recruit, train and equip an additional 450 police officers. Yet, in this bombshell recording, the Chief admits that currently " I can hire all that we want to hire." 

The property tax proposals will be on the ballot this Saturday. The Landrieu administration, along with the Business Council and other allies in the business community, is pushing hard for voters to approve the measure. If approved, the property tax increase will bring in an additional $26.6 million annually for the police and fire departments for the next 12 years. department. 
This issue is coming before voters a few days after the enactment of an array of tax increases approved by the Louisiana Legislature. Sales cigarette, alcohol, rental car and Internet taxes were raised to plug the massive hole in the state budget. 

Now, Mayor Landrieu claims that the property tax increase is necessary for police department staffing needs and for the pension fund of the fire department. Along with the millage increase for police, Landrieu is asking voters to approve an additional 2.5 mills to cover some of the costs of the $75 million settlement owed to firefighters to stabilize their pension fund. Overall, if the tax measure is passed, it will cost an additional $155 per year for the owner of a $200,000 home.

Crouere also wrote:

According to Harrison, the issue is not money or equipment. He says that "the biggest challenge is moving fast and wanting to move fast but not being able to." It is possible that one reason that the Chief can't move fast enough is the lack of qualified recruits for the department, even with standards that were recently lowered. The problem is certainly not low pay, since the NOPD pays $78,000 per year in salary and benefits for a typical officer. This compares quite favorably to what police officers receive in surrounding parishes. “


But, wait!

A plain reading of WalletHub's press release and website would suggest that New Orleans is not the spendthrift but a careful manager of its funds.

In its press release, WalletHub,writes:

, “The financial website study ranked New Orleans first in the nation for how efficiently the City spends taxpayer dollars on particular key expenditures like education and law enforcement.  Analysts with financial website WalletHub ranked 78 of the largest cities on various expenditures to identify those that most efficiently spend public resources and how well they manage the challenges that are unique to their communities. New Orleans was ranked first for education return-on-investment and ninth for law enforcement return-on-investment.
Among the top 10 with New Orleans are Miami, Philadelphia, Dallas and Phoenix. 


Logic 101 would tell you that if a community doesn't need the money it is raising, then why do so in the first place?  Could it be the city is simply bringing in more dough, it doesnt need, so it can efficiently spend it, nonetheless?  In times of extreme mistrust for all institutions, particularly, government, getting mileage out of this theory would be a no-brainer.

Then, there's another possibility.  Perhaps Chief Harrison does believe the city needs the money, but, somehow made a statement suggesting it doesn't.  Or doesn't need all of it.  Or, needs it, but, only faster.  Or, who knows? 

Now, let's not draw erroneous assumptions.  Wallet Hub surely is not opining upon whether the city should raise the mileage, whether it would be needed or even whether it would be wisely spent.  Nor is it claiming that the Harrison snippet is accurate or not not accurate, or even taken out of context.

But, logic also tells us that if New Orleans leaders are telling its taxpayers "it needs this dough for the cops", at a time when the cops' chief allegedly purports "it doesn't need the money, at all"--then, somebody needs to clear up the obvious confusion.

So, Is the nation's new number one city, "New Orleans, the Profligate" or the "Big Easy, the Efficient"?
Curious minds, surely want to know.  And i suppose, the voters will have their say on Saturday--whether they are right in their assessments and their votes, or not.

Last modified on Wednesday, 06 April 2016 13:01
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