No matter that almost everything about pay raises for Shreveport police and fire personnel is up in the air and likely to stay that way for months, two things seems certain …

… the City Council has the votes to raise that pay, one way or the other, BUT …

… public support is, at best, conditional.

For starters, Councilwoman LeVette Fuller has a raise for police personnel on the Council table, set for action in next Tuesday’s meeting. The likelihood of passage is more than merely low.

First, Ms. Fuller ignores Shreveport Fire Department personnel. Second, she “funds” her plan for SPD raises by eliminating unfilled SPD officer slots. Third, lurking in the mix of thinking about her plan is a possible “public safety fee” added to our water bills … a non-starter on steroids.

Regardless that Councilwoman Fuller’s proposal cannot pass, it certainly cranked-up a City Council and taxpayer discussion. Count me among those who thank her for that.

Notably absent in that discussion is none other than Mayor Adrian Perkins.

We may all take a few minutes to think that fact through. Does a Democrat of color who is running for the United States Senate against incumbent Republican Bill Cassidy now come out in favor of increases in police officer positions and pay in a majority black city?

Yep, that’s what I figure, too.

Be all that as it may, we who are already lined-up to pay even more for Shreveport city services do not want to relax on this one. If we do, a lot of things can happen, and none of them are good.

Facts of note are (1) the last such pay overhaul was in 2002, and (2) Bossier City and Benton pay their officers $4,000-$5,000 more annually than Shreveport pays. The result, at least in part, is the high and increasing number of SPD unfilled positions.

With such facts staring Shreveporters down, are we surprised that some Council members seem to think higher property taxes should pay for any public safety pay raises?

While this is an admittedly typical knee-jerk reaction in Shreveport public policy formulation, city officials must now remember this …

… a danged good way to turn Shreveport’s continuing / worsening drain of population into a veritable flood is to again demonstrate that owning property here is just plain stupid … purely abusive at this point in local history.

With all of this buzzing around the heads of all Shreveporters who care, the sorta good news is that next Tuesday’s City Council meeting may very well conclude that this subject should be handled in the regular 2021 budget development process to be undertaken later this year.

At this point, we cannot possibly know what that process will accomplish toward this must for Shreveport: competitive pay for the Shreveport Police Department. (I realize that such will necessarily include Shreveport Fire Department personnel.)

When that smoke clears, taxpayers will know enough to responsibly react.

Mine will be a strong anti-“Defund the Police” reaction.

I am likewise committed, however, to oppose any further increase in Shreveport / Caddo property taxes, and/or new bond issues including projects Shreveporters have repeatedly rejected (think: Cross Bayou).

In other words, I want NO part in confirming Shreveport’s identity as Taxation Station.

© 2020 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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