There is no doubt about it: Shreveport property tax payers have succeeded in holding back local government’s drug-like addiction to higher property and other taxes.
I know the facts very well. Keeping Shreveport mayors / City Councils, the Caddo Parish School Board and the Caddo Commission from raising our taxes is a full-time job.
One might conclude that our defeat of Mayor Adrian Perkins’ attempted $186,000,000 bond issue just over one year ago would mean something. Or, if not that, perhaps City Hall’s recent windfall from federal (our) Covid-19 bucks.
‘Fact is, there is an impressive list of items which one would think the City Council would notice to stop spending even more of our money … at least until a lot of our expenses are dumped.
The buzz now is that Perkins and some Council members will tee-up another bond issue next month. (Pertinent facts are being withheld, so I expect the worst unless I learn otherwise.)
Let me share a list of recent actions which loudly argue that our City Hall should SHRINK our government:
1. The City was just handed $17.6 million in federal Covid money … “Cares Act.”
2. Raises to city employees, in two Council actions, have now been approved. Councilman John Nickelson, an attorney, voted “No” on the most recent due to his belief that such was an illegal “bonus” … but no one else cared.
3. Residents with “blue can” garbage disposal services have lost it, but the City continues to keep our subject monthly payment.
4. City Hall has litigated against giving back to water / sewer customers the money taken from us for many years through its knowing use of a “rounding” scheme in the billing process.
5. Council members, led by James Flurry, are working to give each member $250,000 to spend on anything they choose. While Flurry admits his original thinking is illegal, he is still set on it, somehow or another. (Can anyone say “SLUSH”?!)
6. We may note in Adrian Perkins’ recent comments to the Shreveport Times that he sees himself as a saver of our money: Here is his proclamation:
“When I was sworn in as mayor, the City of Shreveport had a -$1.2 million budget deficit. In just two short years, we have grown the city’s reserve fund by approximately $24 million.”
‘No mention that taxpayers’ money via Covid-19 is the notable source, much less any mention that he will soon propose deeper city debt.
7. The flight of the Shreveport population continues unabated:
The U. S. Census Bureau reports a -6.9% population loss since the 2010 Census, from 200,976 down to its official estimate of 187,112 on July 1, 2019 … a loss of -13,864.
Our -6.9% loss compares to a +2.5% Louisiana gain, and a +6.3% national gain.
Comparatively, here are gains/losses in largest Louisiana cities: New Orleans +13.5%, Bossier City +10.3%, Lake Charles +8.3%, Lafayette +3.7%, Monroe -3.2%, Alexandria -3.6%, and Baton Rouge -4.0%.
National notables: Detroit is down -6.1%, Baltimore -4.4%, Chicago -0.1%, St. Louis -5.9%, Jackson -7.2%, and Birmingham -1.5%.
In short, Shreveport government must shrink the city’s “footprint” and associated costs. For example, let’s sell the Hilton Hotel complex. I notice in next year’s budget that maintenance alone on it will cost us $1,225,200 next year …
© 2020 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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