Cash-strapped New Orleans is trying to figure out how to pay a court-mandated debt of $180 million in back pay and pensions to its firefighters, reports the city’s Times-Picayune.
The payment, which amounts to one-third of the city’s annual budget, was ordered last week by the Louisiana Supreme Court in a ruling on a dispute that dates back 25 years.
No one expects immediate payment. But Nick Felton, president of New Orleans Firefighters Association Local 632, asked the city council to “please give us some relief” on the 25-year debt. Felton said his union believes the city and the firefighters can work out a payment plan that will not bankrupt New Orleans, which has already made moves to refinance debt unrelated to the Supreme Court ruling.