Shreveport council delays vote on garbage collection fee

Shreveport City Council again delays decision on proposed garbage collection fee

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Frustration is mounting after the latest delay for any decision on a possible trash fee for Shreveport.

Since January, several proposed rates have failed to receive enough support for passage.

And on Tuesday night, the Shreveport City Council postponed any vote until March 26.

For those who support a garbage fee, the vote to delay the decision is actually a minor victory, especially considering multiple sources were telling KSLA News 12 that this latest vote, $7 per month, likely would fail.

City Council members rejected Mayor Adrian Perkins’ $18-a-month trash fee proposal in mid-February.

The $13 alternative fared no better.

The latest $7 fee proposal likely would generate about $5.5 million a year.

Officials have told KSLA News 12 that amount is not nearly enough to shore up the city’s ever-shrinking cash reserves, or even to fund the sanitation department by itself, let alone pay for any salary increases for drivers.

Shreveport spokesman Ben Riggs said the city had to use more than $6 million in cash reserves to balance last year's budget, which is required by state law.

Riggs added that there’s only $3 million in the reserves.

So if no trash fee is approved and the city runs short on cash, he said, that would force Shreveport to make mandatory budget cuts that no one would want.

“What I’m hearing from my constituents is they want to see us cut things before they, we come to them with an unvoted-for tax,” Councilman Grayson Boucher explained.

That’s why it appears even $7 a month still might be too steep a price for enough council members to get behind.

“There’s not a consensus among the majority of the council for the passage of any sanitation fee at this time,” Councilman John Nickelson added.

Councilwoman Levette Fuller couldn’t hide her frustration after a vote was postponed.

"I've already told everybody and their grandmother I'm voting against it. And then we can look at the cuts. But this just suspends the game. We're just suspended in animation. And, I'm frustrated."

Multiple people after the meeting said this was like kicking a can down the road.

And, in that vein, the City Council will be back in two weeks, possibly for a final vote.

Copyright 2019 KSLA. All rights reserved.