Mayor Ollie Tyler Reacts to HB 667
The controversy over HB 667 is still raging. Many local residents are upset that the measure creates a board that would have the authority to call elections to raise taxes.
The Mayor of Shreveport would appoint 3 of the 5 members of the panel. The purpose is to deal with dilapidated properties across the city. State Representative Cedric Glover proposed the bill and we asked him to comment, but he deferred to the city administration.
We reached out to Mayor Ollie Tyler who sent us this statement:
This bill is one that was authored by Representative Glover before he spoke to me about it. I'm not sure who asked him to revisit the bill we did in 2015, but he contacted Tari with my office to inform her he had amended the bill that was passed in 2015 without my involvement. Rep. Glover wanted to know if I wanted him to move the bill forward. After I read the digest of the bill, it was very similar to one I tried to get passed in 2015; therefore, I agreed to support his bill. This was not a bill we worked on together, but it is needed as my statement indicates below.
Mayor Tyler added:
One of the biggest challenges that the City of Shreveport faces in its efforts to spur economic development for our region is the effective management and remediation of blighted and dilapidated structures throughout our community. This is a hurdle that is common throughout our state and the nation; consequently, communities have embraced the use of local redevelopment authorities to tackle this effort.
The bill passed on the House side by a vote of 70-3, but several members, including Shreveporters Thomas Carmody and Alan Seabaugh were not present for the vote. Both say they expect major changes to be made on the Senate side.
In 2015, my administration offered legislation to our state delegation that would address those issues and began the conversation on how to empower our citizens to better shape their own community. To shape our proposal, we used the model legislation of Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans which are cities with Redevelopment Authorities. The bill passed, however several amendments were included and those amendments inhibited the effectiveness of our local authority.
Mayor Tyler says she did not ask Glover to push this legislation, but she does "support his effort to bring the Shreveport Implementation and Redevelopment Authority in-line with models of other municipalities." The Mayor says despite what you might be hearing, "this bill does not create a tax, nor does it empower a select few to make decisions on behalf of our city. Any new tax provision to facilitate the Authority’s ability to purchase and redevelop blighted properties would only be done with a vote and through the will of the people".
The Mayor's statement also included this:
This bill allows our city to advance its efforts to clean up communities, decrease blight and improve the marketability of our area to businesses and future residents. This authority would operate in a near identical fashion as the Caddo-Bossier Port, the Downtown Development Authority and Shreveport Housing Authority. We appreciate our community being informed with the facts and invite them to review HB667 as it makes its way through our legislature.