Questions You Should Ask about the Bond Issue
Shreveport leaders are holding more public meetings to try to convince you to vote yes on the $186 million dollar bond package. It will be 3 different proposals.
Here are the dates for upcoming community meetings:
Sept. 5 at Mamie Hicks Community Center, 200 Mayfair St.
Sept. 12 at Valencia Park Community Center, 1800 Viking Drive
Sept. 26 at Airport Park Community Center, 6500 Kennedy Drive
Oct. 10 at A.B. Palmer Community Center, 547 E. 79th St.
Oct. 17 Bilberry Park Community Center, 1902 Alabama Ave.
So I want to know everything I can about this bond issue. But first I want to point out some flaws in the Mayor's PR video.
He says the bond is a "financial tool to pay for Capitol Improvement projects." Good point. But this bond package also has several routine maintenance items included.
I got this question in my email and it raises valid concerns: "Why are Bond Funds being considered for projects/purchases that have a useful life shorter than the bond payoff? ex.: Roofs, vehicles, heavy equipment" These are not capitol improvement projects.
Mayor Perkins says repeatedly "this bond will not raise taxes."
He is technically right. But this will replace a millage that was to roll off the books at the end of this year. So, we were going to see a pretty good drop in property taxes, but that won't happen if these 3 bond proposals pass. 6.2 mils will roll off. This bond package would put a 6 mil tax back on the books for 20 years.
He says "Shreveport has done a phenomenal job in paying down its debt. We are in a great position to go out for this bond. The only General Obligation bond debt we have is from the 2011 bond".
But if you look at the 2019 “Annual Operating Budget,” the city already owes $246 million from past general obligation bonds and other debt – and this bond proposal from Perkins will nearly double that debt.
The Mayor says 86% of the projects in the 2011 bond are complete and he says that number will be up to 94% by the end of the year.
This is where I have another problem. Why does it take so long? Can the Mayor show me how we will do better at managing these projects in the future? Knight Street was included in the 2011 bond issue. It is to be overlayed, sidewalks and lighting installed, but very little work has been done. I want to see a plan for better management of this bond issue. What's the timeline. Which projects will come first? Have we looked at property for the police substations, etc.
Right now, I still have too many questions and not enough answers.