New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin announced cuts to a range of sanitation services in the city’s historic French Quarter to compensate for a projected $7.5 billion dollar budget shortfall this year. According to the Times-Picayune, Nagin proposed the cuts in services — provided through a contract with SDT Waste & Debris Services — in direct opposition to the city council, which today announced plans to take the mayor to court.
The services Nagin has proposed eliminating -- daily street flushing, mechanical street and sidewalk sweeping, and round-the-clock maintenance of litter cans -- are among new services that have drawn rave reviews since the SDT contract began in 2007. They amount to $2.05 million of SDT's $8.9 million annual contract, city records show.
Many of the services to be cut were instituted in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, to make the French Quarter more welcoming to tourists. Though there is technically enough money in the budget to cover these services, Nagin has previously emphasized the need to set aside some of that money for what amounts to a “rainy day” fund, for use in the event of future hurricanes.