As the Shreveport City Council approaches the August 13th vote regarding whether to send Mayor Perkins’s 220 million dollar general obligations bond issue proposal to a public election in November, we contacted the council members to get a sense of their level of support for the bond.
Though we attempted to contact Councilman Bradford and Councilman Green multiple times, neither of them gave any response or made an effort to return our calls. The other five council members who were contacted all expressed that at a minimum for their consideration, they do not support the all-in-one or “slush fund” approach and would be more likely to lend their support to a more accountable approach that breaks out the property tax mills by their purpose.
At this point, it seems that Mayor Perkins may be in danger of having his bond issue proposal fail, because the majority of the council are inclined to vote against it as it has been presented.
While some members, such as Councilman Boucher, would like the whole approach to the bond issue to be based on accountability and “keep(ing) the mayor accountable,” Councilwoman Fuller has gone one step further to say that she is “still not convinced that (she) actually want(s) to go out for this thing at all” and that overall she feels “not good about it.”
Additionally, it is possible that some council members are unsure about the actual details regarding the bond issue proposal in the first place. Councilman Nickelson confusingly attempted to clarify to us that “the proposition will not result in the addition of mills as it has been presented,” which is not correct. The proposal is a continuation of mills dedicated to expiring bonds. Mills are being added to replace what otherwise would have expired.
The city council members and Mayor Perkins’s administration also seem to be at odds with their priorities regarding the money. Councilman Flurry wants the first priority to be streets and drainage, while Councilman Boucher is focused solely on infrastructure and public safety. Councilman Nickleson maintains he does “not support issuance of bonds to fund an economic development fund for unspecified purposes,” but according to Flurry, economic development is being pushed hard by the administration.
The list of possible bond issue projects, created by the Citizen’s Bond Study Committee, includes 32 projects altogether. However, this list remains difficult to find, and does not seem to be readily available on the City of Shreveport’s website. Without this comprehensive list, citizens cannot be sure if they support this proposal or not. A list created by specially selected citizens should be easily accessible to the rest of the public, but this is currently not the case.
RSHVnews.com will continue to bring forth any and all information we can gather on one of Shreveport’s biggest tax and spending proposals in history in spite of a very real lack of publicly accessible information from City Hall.