BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)– During Tuesday night’s special meeting, the East Baton Rouge metro council approved the city-parish’s $1.8 billion budget for 2023. That’s about a 5% increase from this year.

“Our budget really reflects some of the priorities that we talk about in city-parish governments,” said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.

Mayor-President Broome says those priorities include public safety. Nearly 56% of the city’s general fund is dedicated to public safety. This budget gives the Baton Rouge Police Department thousands of dollars for hiring incentives and pay raises for first responders.

“We gave a 5% across-the-board raise to our city-parish employees, but to our first responders, our law enforcement, they received an extra 7% raise,” said Broome. “Once again that shows our commitment and support for keeping our city safe.” 

A big priority for the new year is the stormwater problem. Just hours before the budget meeting, the city parish was awarded a grant of an extra $5 million for tackling stormwater issues.

For weeks the metro council held a public meeting with different departments to evaluate their budget and hear from residents.

Councilwoman Laurie Adams says councilmembers were concerned the 2023 budget didn’t have enough for the stormwater division, but she says she’s pleased with the additional $5 million grant.

“I would say this is the beginning a good start,” said Adams. “We’re going to have to make a bigger annual commitment to take care of the stormwater issue, I think this is a good start.”

“I feel very confident that the money that we have approved will help improve the overall quality of life for our citizens in east Baton Rouge parish,” said Broome.

The East Baton Rouge 2023 budget is available here.