Shreveport City Council votes to send bond issue to the voters

By Brittany Pieper – email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) –The Shreveport City Council voted to send a proposed bond package to the voters.  It will appear on the April 2nd Ballot. While council members say the bond is needed and will help fix a lot of the city's infrastructure problems, it won't fix everything.

Twice in the last 6 months pipeline breaks in the City of Shreveport's sewer system have spilled millions of gallons of sewage into Champion Lake. As they fixed the pipes each time, city engineers said they knew there was a problem, but the city didn't have the money to fix it.

"We've needed funds for improvements for many years now," said Assistant City Engineer, Barbara Featherston.

The city hopes the new proposed $175 million bond package will help fix that.

"Those will be improvements for sewer lines, improvements at lift stations, improvements at the water treatment plant, so it's gonna be a really big boost to our capital improvements projects," said Featherston.

The bond includes nearly $93-million for water and sewer projects.  It also includes $38-million for police, fire, public assembly,recreation, and handicap accessibility projects. The final portion is about $44-million for streets and drainage work.

These are all things many citizens, like Gene Huntzinger have noticed need work.

"It definitely needs repair. There's no question about it. The infrastructure is going downhill, and there hasn't been anything done in a measurable way to improve it," said Huntzinger.

One big issue it would not solve is water main breaks, like the one that closed Woodlawn High School in August. The city has nearly $200 million in water main and water plant projects.  Most of those still will not get funded.

"We will continue to make repairs as things break in the future, but there's not a large chunk of money set aside for those particular projects in this bond issue," said Featherstron.

However, the city hope to divert some of the money they will save on sewer repairs to help fix water main problems.

The bonds would be paid off over 20 years, and council members say it would not raise taxes. It would only extend the current tax rate.

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