BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge Parish is set to receive $2,145,000 from the BP oil spill settlement.
The EBR Metro Council unanimously accepted the settlement Wednesday afternoon. However, it will take time to decide what to do with the oil giant's money.
"Are we excited about it? Yes. Is this going to solve all of our financial woes, the answer is no," said Mayor-President Kip Holden. "What we will do is be wise in terms of our spending and make be accountable to the public."
The settlement negotiations went on behind closed doors, but leaders say the parish's offer was based off of sales tax numbers which indicated an economic ripple effect from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
"We know we had a less dramatic effect from the BP oil spill here than in other place. However, things and events that would have happened here, people just stayed away from Louisiana," said the mayor's Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel.
While leaders say they're pleased with the settlement, $2.1 million isn't much when compared to parish's $830 million budget. So, city leaders say they will have to use the BP money carefully. Early potential ideas included funneling it to infrastructure projects or public safety.
"There's a lot bridges in the parish that are in terrible shape and to the extent that this is one time money. We're not going to be able to use it year after year. It needs to be used for capital outlay projects like that," said Councilman John Delgado.
"I believe that there are lot of projects that we could look at that we were not able to do otherwise," added Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle.
Daniel said he hoped the money would go towards an economic development project. However, all agreed that there will be a lot of discussion and scrutiny of the settlement and the financial needs of the parish before any decisions are made.