Shreveport voters might face bond election in November

If the bond measure failed to pass, the city would have no bonding capacity for more than a decade, city spokesman says
Updated: Jul. 8, 2019 at 9:54 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The city of Shreveport could be moving forward with a bond election in November.

The purpose would be to ask voters to continue $220 million worth of general obligation bonds that are set to expire this year.

The bond costs 15 mills in property tax and, if approved by voters, would be renewed at the same millage rate.

Otherwise, those millages would end.

About two months ago, City Council members and the mayor appointed a citizens bond committee to study what projects and capital needs are most important within the city.

Those recommendations are now being forwarded to the City Council for vetting so its members can decide what to actually put on the ballot.

That could include things such as replacing aging fire trucks, building a police station or smart city initiatives, Councilman Grayson Boucher said.

“This council is very conscious of trying to be good stewards of taxpayer money. And I don’t believe we’ll come to taxpayers and voters with an initiative that we don’t feel like has been vetted and combed through and made sure it’s something we really need."

During their meeting Tuesday, the City Council will have the following notice of intent read into the minutes:

Notice is hereby given in accordance with Section 19.1 of Title 42 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, as amended, that the Mayor and City Council of the City of Shreveport, State of Louisiana (the “City”), acting as the governing authority of the City at its regularly scheduled meeting on August 13, 2019, at its regular meeting place, Government Chambers of Government Plaza, 505 Travis Street, Shreveport, Louisiana, at 3:00 p.m., will discuss and consider adopting a resolution ordering and calling an election on November 16, 2019, to authorize not to exceed Two Hundred Twenty Million Dollars ($220,000,000) General Obligation Bonds, in one or more series for the purposes of constructing, acquiring, equipping and/or improving public works of the City including (i) the water and sewer system, (ii) facilities, land and/or equipment for parks and recreation, public buildings, police department, fire department, and economic development, and (iii) street, highways, bridges, drainage systems, utility conduits and appurtenances thereto, and upon approval by the qualified voters therein, for such tax to be levied thereafter.

On Aug. 13, council members will vote on whether to approve an application to the Louisiana Bond Commission.

That state panel then would decide whether to approve a November election that would let voters choose different propositions based on what projects the City Council thinks should move forward.

City spokesman Ben Riggs described the election as essential for city services.

If the bond measure fails to pass in the fall, he said, the city would have no bonding capacity for more than a decade.

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