DOWNTOWN CONVENTION CENTER / HOTEL LOSS OVER -$12 MILLION
Saturday, August 26, 2017 … 4:20 P.M.
Mayor Ollie Tyler’s out-of-nowhere crusade for a $150,000,000 downtown Shreveport sports complex notably ignores what happened to us the last time Shreveport ran this movie.
In the seven years 2011-2017, Shreveport taxpayers have been soaked with downtown Convention Center / hotel losses of -$12,110,700. (SEE Excel sheet which I prepared, below.)
Those losses cranked-up as City Hall began borrowing for and building those facilities.
Records of City Council debate at that time detail the nature of the opposition to the hotel by some City Council members. (SEE link below to October 12, 2004, Council minutes.)
Now, as if none of that ever happened, Tyler loudly claims that her doozy of a sports complex must include another hotel.
The hotels would be closely situated. Of course, the city has to buy the land, first.
THE SPORTS COMMISSION AND ATTACHED PLAYERS
Then-Mayor Hightower’s point-man on the Shreveport Convention Center op was Chief Administrative Officer Ken Antee.
Notably, Antee is a key power in the local Sports Commission, likewise on-point in hawking Tyler’s sports apparition. In fact, he is Vice Chairman of the Sports Commission’s Board. (SEE link below.)
Antee is appointed to the Board by the Caddo Parish Commission, as is ex-Caddo Commissioner John Escude. Escude has also been linked by the Shreveport Times to the Elio Motors boondoggle. (SEE link below.)
In 2010-2011, while mayor, Cedric Glover spawned the Sports Commission. He and the other local politicos wanted to have for-profit sports marketing businesses, but with taxpayers paying for the necessary facilities, events, etc.
This Tyler sports complex concoction is made to order. (SEE author disclosure below.)
SPORTS COMPLEX A TAXPAYER SHELLACKING
In budget years 2007-2010, inclusion of room rental income from the Center’s hotel created for it an appearance of annual surpluses.
In 2011, financial reporting changed, detailing how much Riverfront Development Fund (RDF)
money must be used to cover yearly losses.
As gambling here declines, the RDF shrinks. Its 2017 budget includes gambling tax revenue of $10,500,800, with expenditures of $12,563,500. The -$2,062,700 difference more than burned through the fund’s 2016 balance forward.
(Notably, KSLA broke a news story yesterday that Moody’s Investor Service has downgraded Shreveport’s General Obligation Bond rating. SEE article link below.)
The RDF has become a General Fund spending staple, and Tyler’s use of that money for her would-be shangri-la will necessarily reduce spending on something now being funded.
According to The Times, in the (supposed) early project years, Tyler will use $1.9 million annually from the RDF, then in later years she will use bond issuance to pay the ongoing note … all without voter approval.
Much of the increasingly strong opposition to Tyler’s fiscal nuttiness traces to those who instead want basic city services to use any additional, existing revenue. Most often mentioned are police officer and other employee pay, other costs of crime reduction, road repairs, drainage improvements, trash clean-up, and so forth.
Tyler is now debunking her own claims. As her spending binge for her sports complex kicks-in, she proves beyond question what many City Council members and others have charged …
… there certainly IS more money available for recurring basic needs and services, and her plan to spend a new $1.9 million a year from the RDF proves it.
… to be continued …
© 2017 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Excel table, “Taxpayer Bailout, Shreveport Hotel & Convention Center, 2011-2017,” by Elliott Stonecipher
City of Shreveport subject budget documents: https://www.shreveportla.gov/199/Budgets
October 12, 2004 City Council Meeting Minutes:
Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission:
The Times, November 20, 2014, “Commission Didn’t Know Escude is Elio Partner Employee”
Author’s disclosure, Glover kills Shreveport Regional Sports Authority:
“To form the Sports Commission in 2010-11, Glover, Escude and others in government killed the highly successful Shreveport Regional Sports Authority. As they began, I was asked by the SRSA board to try to help save it. I did so for an extended period, with no pay.”