Should Shreveport Follow the Lead of Memphis?
Should Shreveport look to Memphis to rejuvenate our economy and stimulate growth? That's one subject posed in an Op-Ed in the Shreveport Times by Liz Swaine, the Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority.
Swaine says it's time to get serious about looking at our city budgets and decide how much we can afford to spend every year.
In the piece, Swaine says she spoke with the folks at Verdunity which examines budget numbers for cities. Swaine says
Verdunity’s numbers go a step further in showing what spending makes the most sense based on return on investment. Families do this all the time, municipalities often do not. Elected officials around the country are realizing that the notes are coming due, and are asking the tough questions- ‘How do we pay for all the things we have?’ and ‘Does it make sense to be doing XYZ new project right now?’ When these questions are asked and the numbers are analyzed, we are often shocked at the answers.
Swaine details some of the things Memphis leaders are doing to address the budgetary problems facing that city. It's included in a plan called Memphis 3.0. Swaine writes:
This plan demands that they grow up instead of out, it focuses resources on those things that anchor communities and removes those things (and places) that they cannot pay for. Memphis has a lot in common with Shreveport, and it seems we can learn from them. It is not an easy or painless change and many voices should be heard as part of it. We can use Memphis as the canary in a coal mine in this process, but we cannot wait too long to start making changes of our own. Hard questions are needed, and tough answers will follow, but in the end, our community will be the better for it.
Swaine says Shreveport has a large burden to take care of all of our city and we need to make some hard decisions that will impact our community over the next 20 years.