Municipal bonds are an essential source of funding routinely used by cities to finance infrastructure needs and capital improvement projects, ranging from streets and drainage to technology and public safety.
The 2019 Citizens’ Bond Committee recently convened to create a bond proposal for the City of Shreveport. The committee proposed a bond not to exceed $220 million, which includes a list of recommended projects for City Council’s consideration.
The proposal now before Council includes funds for public safety, smart city infrastructure, economic growth, streets, drainage, and parks. On July 23 and August 13, citizens can come to City Council to voice their concerns and share their priorities. The City Council will take legislative action on August 13, voting to either approve or reject the bond application to the State Bond Commission and call for an election.
The Citizens’ Bond Committee is a group of 16 volunteers that analyze the city’s needs and develop bond packages. The Mayor and each City Councilperson appoint two members. The meetings were posted in advance and open to the public. The 2019 committee listened to presentations from the director of each city department and deliberated for more than 20 hours before making a final recommendation to the City Council.
This bond would replace general obligation bonds passed in 1996 and 1999 that rolloﬀ at the end of the year. These bonds were paid in full and on schedule. The new proposal does not raise taxes; rather, it is a continuation of the 6.2 mills dedicated to the expiring bonds. Property taxes are currently at a 35-year low in Shreveport.
“The Citizens’ Committee included representatives from all over Shreveport, and we are grateful for their service,” said Mayor Perkins. “Their recommendations were formed by the people to fund projects for the people. These projects will make our city smarter, safer, and stronger. They put a strong proposal together, but the process is not yet complete. The City Council will continue to deliberate and gather citizen input before finalizing the proposal in mid-August. Citizens are encouraged to participate in these discussions.”
The proposal sent to Council designates funds for a new central police station and police substations. These projects address the conditions of the current police station and increase the presence of law enforcement in our community. The committee also set funds aside for new fire trucks, as well as new fire stations and renovations to existing stations. Additionally, the proposal invests in Shreveport’s technological infrastructure. It recommends laying conduit for fiber-optic cables to increase access to aﬀordable high-speed internet throughout our city. Finally, this proposal suggests park improvements and addresses needs in economic development, streets and drainage, water and sewage, engineering, and transportation.