Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration and the New Orleans City Council will have a bit more money to play with as they craft the city's 2017 budget, largely due to expected increases in sales and property tax revenue.
The city expects to take in about $594 million in taxes, fees and other revenue next year, or 2.2 percent more than it expects to collect by the end of 2016, Finance Director Norman Foster told the city's Revenue Estimating Conference on Monday.
At the same time, national and statewide economic trends suggest potential challenges ahead. Some local indicators, including sales tax collections, also are not as strong as had previously been anticipated, Foster said.
"Despite all that, our economy appears relatively healthy," he said.
Taxes, fees and other revenue sources are expected to generate about $581 million this year, Foster said.
The overall city budget this year is about $605 million, but that figure includes money taken from city reserves to pay the first $15 million of a $75 million settlement with firefighters over back pay. It also includes several other sources of one-time money that aren't included in the city's revenue forecast.
The biggest increase next year is expected to come from higher property tax collections. The city's property tax base is expected to grow by about 4 percent next year, though officials are expecting to collect less in back taxes from the auctioning off of tax-delinquent properties.
Sales tax revenue is projected to increase by about 3 percent next year, Foster said.
"The city's economy has done very well, and we anticipate more tourism growth," he said.
At the same time, the city has not seen as much sales tax growth this year as it had expected. Officials had planned for 3.5 percent growth in sales tax collections this year but so far have only seen about half of that, Foster said.
Should that trend continue, this would be the first time in several years the city hasn't seen a substantial increase in sales tax collections, something that was driven in recent years by the opening of major new retail outlets such as Costco.