BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - An ordinance that would allow annexation of land for a Walmart in North Bossier has passed its first reading.
Council members met Tuesday to discuss and vote on annexing the land on Wemple Rd., just outside the city limits.
Several residents have spoken out against plans for the new Walmart, and at Tuesday's meeting, when asked if anybody in favor of the Walmart wanted to speak, no one stepped up. Residents in the area are concerned their property values will decrease and thousands even started a petition in hopes of halting the issue.
City spokesman Mark Natale says fire and law enforcement were at the meeting to show support. According to Natale, public safety employees have been told if the annexation fails, their departments will suffer if in the end the Walmart on Airline drive closes.
"If that happened, they would lose a tremendous amount of sales tax revenue that would equal out to 30 public safety positions being cut," said Natale.
Natale says public safety departments are hit the hardest when sales tax dollars are down. "It's not a scare tactic, it's reality."
Last year, the Bossier City Council seemed to be going at lightning speed to welcome the new Walmart in North Bossier by annexing 99 acres land and being only one vote away from spending millions on the project.
Of the city council members, only Jeff Free voted against re-annexing the land Tuesday. Free told KSLA News 12 he voted against the land annexation because he wants to represent those in the parish who spoke up against it, since they are not represented on the city council. Free says he plans to vote against it at the next council meeting.
The ordinance still has to pass one more reading by the city council before the annexation will be final. The next city council meeting is scheduled for June 7.
Plus, the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) will still need to re-zone the land before a Walmart store can be built. The MPC's next meeting is slated for June 6.