ONE WEEK OUT: SHREVEPORT BOND ISSUE MESS GETTING MESSIER?


Posted: Wednesday, August 7, 2019 … 11:12 A.M. …

ONE WEEK OUT: SHREVEPORT BOND ISSUE MESS GETTING MESSIER?

Neophyte Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins is certainly finding out that his military bearing is anything but appreciated by most City Council members.

Somehow, “Salute me or else!” is at best a dodgy battle cry when trying to borrow $220,000,000 for a city already in financial peril.

What Perkins is betting, of course, is that throwing taxpayer money around to influence those Council hearts and minds will get this noxious bond issue job done.

But, according to the many sources I have spoken with in the past 24 hours, including several City Council members who will only speak anonymously, the final six days before the scheduled vote may or may not determine the outcome.

As the Mayor and Council members have been made aware, the Perkins list of items to be funded includes tens-of-millions worth of stuff which are not “capital projects,” and thus do not legally qualify for inclusion in such a bond issue.

Notable examples are the $7,000,000 “Smart City” eye-roller, and $11,960,000 for the always-included-everywhere “Economic Development” hokum.

The Louisiana Bond Commission may be a good place for opponents to make any necessary case of item illegality, albeit after the fact.

In an effort to dodge such bullets, a four-vote coalition of Council members – the James Flurry, LeVette Fuller, Grayson Boucher, John Nickelson group about which I have previously written in this context – is working to limit final bond issue measures to those funding streets and drainage, police department and fire department “needs.”

But, as of now, there is little confidence among Council members that Perkins will bend. As one puts it, the “retaliatory” nature of the Shreveport mayor has churned-up a “hell of a push-back” from him.

Of course, some of us believe the very best outcome for Shreveport and its remaining, beaten-down property owners / taxpayers is a City Council defeat of Perkins. For City Hall’s 2020 to begin with property tax revenue cut by more than 40% would likely get the attention of even our I-always-know-best mayor.

City Hall would then be more or less forced to do this work honestly and legally, as soon as possible next year.

Here in the real world, however, there will be a couple of related gatherings today that Mayor Perkins calls bond issue “public meetings.” As one City Hall veteran pointed out, no such assemblage in the Mayor’s conference room, likely with the door closed, is a “public meeting.”

So, while Council members are thinking of such things as leasing rather than buying fire trucks, and renovating empty buildings – schools, churches and retail spaces, as examples – for public safety uses, our mayor continues to demand salutes.

Can Perkins, in reality, succeed in cramming such an ill-conceived property tax load down the throats of the City Council and Shreveport voters?

Of course he can.

But he hasn’t yet.

As I put it in my last article, for those of us who have long been here and experienced many, many such bond issue offerings, this thing is downright unthinkable. I’m waiting to see the reshaped City Council version.

If there is one.

© 2019 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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