After big year, bond issue will be decided by Shreveport City Council

A considerable bond package is making its way through Shreveport city government on its way to voters, and columnist John Settle breaks down what will be happening in the coming weeks.

Its been a big year for the Shreveport City Council from the perspective of high profile issues.

These include the garbage fee, sagging pants, alcohol in grocery stores, and fusses over the powers of the mayor vis-a-vis the council. Roll all those, plus others, into a big bundle, and the upcoming bond issue vote is larger. By a big margin.

The Citizens Bond Committee has sent a $220 million package to the council for approval.

This committee was composed of 2 appointments by each of the 7 council members and 2 by Shreveport Mayor Perkins. The committee listened to over 20 hours of presentations by city department directors during the process.

Municipal bonds are the mother’s milk of governing bodies for funding everything from infrastructure, capital improvements, technology, public safety to economic development.

General obligation bonds passed in 1996 and 1999 will be paid by year-end.

The proposed new package will be funded by a continuation of the 6.2 mills dedicated to the expiring bonds. Shreveport’s property millages are at the lowest level since 1990, and they have declined since 2003.

The bond package will be on the Nov. 16 general election ballot.

The proposed package is broken down as follows:

Special Projects   $25,460,000

Roadway/Drainage/Water   $94,900,00

Fire/Police/SPAR   $99,640,000.

The Council must approve the package on or before its Aug.13 meeting to be on the Nov. ballot.

Yes, this will be the most substantial bond package in the city’s history. And it's being advertised as not raising taxes.

The council has total discretion in determining the total amount of the bond package, as well as the funding suggested for each bond proposal. Additionally, the council can add projects or entirely delete a bond committee project.

Needless to say there will be substantial discussion among the council members on the bond package. And if past issues are any indication, there will be plenty of citizen input.

The bond package is, in effect, a blueprint for the city’s future. The November vote will be viewed as a referendum on the newly elected mayor and the current council that has 3 newbies.