SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The city of Shreveport, like so many other cities from coast to coast, finds itself searching for the best ways to turn its fortunes around financially.
This week Mayor Perkins proposed a $200 million city bond proposal, which he says will help do just that.
The Shreveport City Council delayed a vote this week that would have put that huge bond issue on the ballot of the special election.
With the loss of businesses and jobs from the COVID-19 pandemic, some are asking if Shreveport taxpayers could afford any potential tax increases.
Mayor Perkins tells us the huge bond issue will not affect people as much as some fear.
“For the person that owns a $100,000 home in Shreveport, the millages for this bond proposal would amount to $27 extra tax dollars a year,” said Mayor Perkins.
Critics contend that this bond issue looks nearly identical to a similar bill that voters narrowly rejected back in 2019.
The four propositions include:
Proposition No. 1:
About $88.48 million “for the purposes of constructing, acquiring, and/or improving (i) streets, highways, bridges, and drainage systems, and (ii) water systems.”
Proposition No. 2:
About $76.7 million “for the purposes of constructing, acquiring, and improving public facilities and equipment for (i) police department, and (ii) fire department.”
Proposition No. 3:
About $22 million “for the purposes of constructing, acquiring, and/or improving (i) public facilities for parks and recreation, and (ii) public transportation.”
Proposition No. 4:
About $19.5 million “for the purposes of economic development including but not limited to industrial park and workforce development facilities.”
Perkins also says the proposal has to be voted on by January 19 for procedural reasons. Council members will be holding a special meeting sometime between now and then to officially vote on it.
During our one-on-one interview with the mayor, he also looked back at the surge in violent crime in Shreveport in 2020, which led to a total of 75 homicides, far above previous years.
But Mayor Perkins did point out that not all crime was up in 2020.
“Look at the other crimes throughout, we had drops primarily across the board. So homicides got out of control last year. So we’re going to continue to push bridging that civil law enforcement divide. We’re going to bring our officers closer to the community so the community trusts our officers.”
When you hear about a city’s surge in crime, especially violent crime, you often hear some of the same answers. But the mayor explained what can make a difference in 2021.
“Crime goes pretty cyclicly. So, yeah, in year one we really focused on community-oriented policing, bridging the divide between, you know, our citizens and our law enforcement, making sure we felt like we were one. And that worked. Part One crime was down. It was the safest year in Shreveport in decades.”
Mayor Perkins and Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond have pointed to increasing patrols, hiring more officers, and removing more illegal firearms off the city streets as long term answers.
KSLA News 12 has now confirmed, as well, that Mayor Perkins intends to run for re-election in two years.