Settle: Tyler’s 2019 budget to spend more than revenues

Yep, its true.

The operating budget that Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler presented to the Shreveport City Council last week proposes more expenditures than estimated revenues.

Technically the budget will not be in the red.

Tyler intends to spend over $5.9 million of the anticipated December 31 operating reserves. That’s almost 60 percent of the expected reserves.

Is that like raiding the family piggy bank to pay the electric bill? Or robbing the children’s college fund to buy groceries? Maybe like cashing in life insurance or raiding retirement plans to pay the car note?

But Shreveport Chief Administrative Officer Brian Crawford says it’s all okay.

“The Shreveport General Fund Budget is $222,270,400, with revenue, of which revenue in accordance with GASB practices includes the current year fund balance of $8,285,000 (from the end of the previous year) as listed in the “Actual Revenue-Other” portion of the City of Shreveport General Government Budget (line item 98.983031) is included each year as a non-appropriated and available revenue for expenditures.”

In English, that means using hoped for left over money from this year (2018) to pay for next year (2019) operating expenses.

The Council was treated to a long Power Point executive summary at the October 23 meeting.

In prior years the Tyler administration had favored Council members with a printed summary to allow them to easily follow the presentation. But not this year. Needless to say the Council was not happy.

Both Tyler and Crawford had their serious “game faces” on during the meeting. Both were very defensive when budget questions were asked by Council members. No doubt the “underwater” proposed budget was the reason for their dour moods.

Actually its not Tyler’s first rodeo riding the operating reserves to pay operating expenses. She went down this yellow brick road more than once when she was the Caddo School Superintendent.

Tyler’s re-election campaign touts her “proven experience, proven leadership, proven integrity.”

Voters who are concerned with crime, water bills, and now a deficit budget are beginning to question these “accomplishments” in deciding if she should return for a second term as mayor.

John Settle is a local political columnist. His previous articles can be viewed at www.settletalk.com.