SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins has released a statement regarding a $220 million bond proposal for the city that will address – among other things – “the deplorable condition of the Shreveport Police Station, which is in disrepair.”
Perkins emphasizes in an op-ed released to local media Friday that, for all the issues the bond would address in the city, it would not raise taxes.
Funds for public safety
“It provides funds for a new central police station and police substations, which increase the presence of law enforcement throughout our community,” the mayor’s editorial says.
“Similarly, the Shreveport Fire Department has several run-down fire stations and single-bay stations that either need to be renovated or replaced. They also have numerous fire trucks that have outlived their commission. The committee’s proposal allocates funds for new fire trucks and much-needed capital improvements.”
Perkins notes that bond proposals are subject to direct taxpayer review and that the process began with a Citizen’s Bond Committee.
“They are a group of 16 volunteers that analyze the city’s needs and develop a bond package. The Mayor and each City Councilperson appoint two members. The meetings were posted in advance and open to the public. The committee listened to presentations from the director of each city department and deliberated for more than 20 hours before making a final recommendation to the City Council.”
In addition to funds for public safety improvements, the proposal now before the Shreveport City Council includes funds for smart city infrastructure, economic growth, streets, drainage, and parks.
The committee’s recommended smart-city projects include funding to increase affordable high-speed internet access. The committee proposed funds for laying conduit across the city, which Perkins says accounts for 80 percent of the costs associated with laying fiber-optic cable. “This initiative eliminates that cost and incentivizes competition among internet service providers, inching Shreveport closer to universal broadband. Internet service providers will lease this conduit from the city, so this initiative has the added benefit of generating revenue.”
“Economic development is vital to a growing city. The committee’s proposal provides funds for projects that encourage entrepreneurship and put upward pressure on wages. These funds will be used to acquire and cultivate properties in areas ripe for investment, such as the healthcare corridor, stimulating private business and job creation.”
Perkins says the city’s infrastructure has been neglected for decades, and the committee’s proposal “addresses needs in streets and drainage, water and sewage, engineering, and transportation. There are also funds available for park improvements. The proposed projects are spread throughout Shreveport, and they will improve city services and quality of life for all residents. “
The mayor says the proposed bond would replace general obligation bonds passed in 1996 and 1999 that will roll off at the end of the year.
“This bond proposal accomplishes much, but it is just as important to note what it does not do: It does not raise taxes. It is a continuation of the 6.2 mills dedicated to expiring bonds. Millages in Shreveport have continuously declined over the past three decades. Property taxes are currently at their lowest point in 35 years. This bond proposal does not threaten that trend.”
Voters will have the final say on the proposed bond November 16.