The interactive charts below accompany BGR’s report, Managing the Windfall: Tracking the City of New Orleans’ Uses of Federal Pandemic Relief Funds. They show how the City of New Orleans (City) used its federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money to supplement its General Fund budget in 2021 and 2022. The charts account for the first half of the ARPA funds, except for $6.5 million allocated to two City Council programs outside of the General Fund for assisting residents with utility bills and a public Wi-Fi internet initiative. They do not include any appropriations of ARPA funds for 2023 and beyond.
About the Budgets
BGR’s report describes how the City allocated $187.3 million in ARPA funds in two phases, each with far-reaching effects on the City’s General Fund, its primary operating fund.
|2020 Adopted Budget: BGR uses this budget as the pre-pandemic baseline for analysis. The City Council adopted the budget in November 2019, just a few months before the onset of the pandemic in New Orleans.|
|2021 Adopted Budget: The council reduced funding for most departments and agencies from pre-pandemic levels to offset declines in sales taxes and other revenues.|
|2021 Amended Budget: Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021. In November, the City Council appropriated $77.3 million in ARPA funds to the fire department. At the same time, it freed up General Fund revenue from the fire department to restore much of the funding it had cut from other departments and agencies in the adopted 2021 budget.|
|2021 Estimated Actual Expenditures: The City estimates actual spending for 2021 was significantly below the amended budget for many departments and agencies, resulting from an inability to fill budgeted positions and implement the full slate of its planned initiatives.|
|2022 Adopted Budget: The City Council expected General Fund revenue to improve slightly from 2021. It appropriated $87.7 million in ARPA funds to the fire department and $22.3 million to the police department. It continued to redirect General Fund revenue from fire to other budget areas.|
|2022 Amended Budget: In September 2022, the council reduced the police department’s General Fund allocation by $29 million and redirected the dollars to other departments and agencies.|
Overview of ARPA Appropriations
The following charts show how ARPA funds supplemented the City’s General Fund through the 2022 budget. They also show the General Fund surplus exceeding $100 million in 2021.
Scroll through the charts using the gray bar on the right side. If you are viewing them on a mobile device, turn it sideways for a larger landscape view.
Department-Level Budget Impacts
The following charts track changes to department and agency budgets within the General Fund, many of which were enabled by the ARPA appropriations to the police and fire departments. In each chart, the departments are ordered based on the size of their 2020 budget allocation. Click on a department or agency name to highlight its trend line. The charts exclude three entities with very small General Fund appropriations: Civil District Court ($14,000 in 2020), First City Court ($6,000 in 2020), and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board ($1,500 in 2020). Scroll through the charts using the gray bar on the right side. If you are viewing them on a mobile device, turn it sideways for a larger landscape view.
BGR acknowledges the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for its donation in support of this report.