SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Shreveport voters face six property tax renewals when they walk into voting booths this month.
Mayor Ollie Tyler and her team are pushing hard to get them approved.
"These are very critical to continue providing basic services. These are not new taxes. All six propositions are continuations."
Propositions 1 through 5 may look familiar. They are the same renewals that have been voted on every five years for the past 4 decades.
Proposition 6 looks new but actually is something property owners have been paying for since the 1930s. Last year, Louisiana's legislative auditor just determined that it needs to be placed on a ballot.
"The attorney general says because this is the first time the voters have seen this on the ballot, we must list this as new tax," city attorney William Bradford said.
"So even though the citizens have paid this since 1934, it is the only proposition that will be on the ballot as a new tax, although the language will continue on to say it will continue to levy the tax approved in 1921."
Four of the six propositions directly impact public safety.
- Proposition 1: Street Improvement Tax for improving, repairing and maintaining Shreveport's streets (1.120 mills that generate $1,720,999 annually).
- Proposition 2: SPAR Recreational Facilities Tax for operating and supplying recreational facilities and appurtenances and maintaining the same (0.830 of a mill, which generates $1,275,383 a year).
- Proposition 3: Salary and Wage Schedule Tax to continue the salary and wage schedule of city employees (1.120 mills that generates $1,720,999).
- Proposition 4: Police and Fire Personnel, Uniforms and Equipment Tax, which is for police and fire personnel and includes allowances for uniforms and equipment for the departments (1.120 mills that generates $1,720,999 annually).
- Proposition 5: Pensions, Employee Life Insurance and Hospitalization Plan for City Employees provides funds for the city’s portion of pensions, employee life insurance and the hospitalization plan for city employees (1.69 mills that generates $2,596,865 a year).
- Proposition 6: Three-Platoon System Tax, which provides enough revenue for the city to continue to provide a Police Three Platoon System (1.470 mills that generate $2,258,811 annually).
"Bolstering numbers, giving them pay, giving them the equipment they need and having them out there to fight crime is paying off and we are seeing those results," Chief Administrative Officer Brian Crawford said of the city's police.
"And the last thing we want to do is take a big step backward and not renew these taxes and hurt us in those efforts."
If the propositions fail, Tyler said, it would definitely mean cuts to city services.
"We are talking over $11 million that we'd have to cut from the budget. That would be devastating to our citizens and our community."
The Tyler administration says it has reduced city property tax rates by more than 6 mills, the lowest level since 1982, since taking office in 2015.
"I believe once we educate our people about what these taxes go toward in terms of services, they will know these are critical," Tyler said.
Election Day is April 28.