EBR metro council unanimously approves 2018 budget

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge metro council unanimously approved the budget for 2018 during a meeting on Tuesday, December 12.

The $319 million budget has a less than 1 percent increase from last year and is considered "standstill."

"While this budget has not changed much from last year, we will continue to work diligently on behalf of the citizens that we serve daily," said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. "We will collaborate with like-minded stakeholders and agencies to not only maintain services, but improve the efficiency of such."

Mayor Broome officially presented the proposed budget to the council on November 3. The budget proposal included items like increased entry-level pay for police officer and the replacement of police and fire vehicles that were damaged in the 2016 historic flooding.

The city's overall budget is currently around $900 million and the mayor's team is choosing to focus more on ways to spend smarter while making law enforcement a priority. "We've tried to address that through efficiencies, recognizing that we have to provide a balanced budget," Broome said.

The mayor's plan includes setting aside funds for two new training academies for up to 35 recruits, as well as money to provide a bump for entry-level officers with the Baton Rouge Police Department. Currently, new entry-level officers start out making just under $33,000 a year.

Revenue collection efforts will also be increased as part of next year's budget. It has been cited that these have been complicated due to the effects of the historic flooding.

The council is also expected to meet on Wednesday, December 13.

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