Tuesday will be judgment day for "discussed and cussed" Shreveport bond package: OPINION

 What will be the fate of the not-so-popular proposed bond election. John Settle discusses what's at stake for the Shreveport City Council.

The much-discussed–and cussed bond package which has been proposed will be decided by the Shreveport city council at its Tues. Aug 13 regular meeting.

This is the last day that a package can be approved to be on the Nov. 13 general election ballot.
A fourteen-member citizen’s bond committee wrapped up their work on June 28. 

The committee was composed of 2 appointees by each of the 7 council members plus 2 appointed by Mayor Adrian Perkins.

The committee recommended a $220 million bond package.  General obligation bonds passed in 1996 and 1999 will be paid in full and thus retired at year-end.

The breakdown is $25.46 million for special projects, $94.90 million for streets and drainage, and $99.64 million for police/fire/SPAR.

The $220 million package is the maximum that can be financed with the continuation of the 6.2 mills dedicated to the expiring bonds. If passed, this would be the most substantial bond package in the city’s history.

The city’s property millages are the lowest levels since 1990. They have steadily declined since  2003.

At the urging of Brandon Fail, Shreveport economic development director, Perkins will suggest that the $11,960,000 proposed for commercial development be deleted from any bond proposals. Fail said he was concerned about council support and concern over the total amount of the package.

The administration has also decided to pull the bond proposal of $5 million for housing infrastructure.  There may be other revisions suggested at the Monday council meeting.

One can expect a substantial discussion of the package at the Mon. Aug. 12 work session and at the Tuesday meeting.

The council’s infrastructure committee met on Wed. Aug7 to review proposed bond projects. The committee’s public safety committee also met that day on the bond package.

These committees will give their recommendations to the full council on Monday. At that time, Perkins may also suggest additional modifications to the package.

The council has 3 basic options.

The first is to delay the delay any vote on a bond package until next year. Councilman John Nickels0n has stated that this is his preference.

The second option is also unlikely. This would be to approve the entire $220 million bond proposal for the Nov. general election ballot.

The last option is to amend the bond package. This course of action is anticipated.

The council has full discretion as to the projects and the dollar amounts. This includes dropping projects and/or adding new projects.

A major issue that the council must address is the number of ballot proposals. Splitting up the projects  into several proposals would not only give voters more discretion, but most likely improve the chances of voter approvals.

Needless to say, the council’s vote will be a defining moment for the mayor, the council and the city. Many speakers and extended council discussions are expected at the Monday and Tuesday meetings.