The Shreveport Caddo Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 3 pm in the Council Chambers at Government Plaza. The MPC has a “private” work session beginning at 1 pm before each meeting.
The work session is not publicized although it is subject to the Louisiana Open Meetings law. Thus it is open to the public. This fact is not generally known.
A catered meal is provided for the MPC Board members and staff at the work session. The meal is paid out of the MPC budget.
But twice a year the MPC work session is held in the private “Green Room” at Chianti’s Restaurant on Line Ave.
Generally a “green room” is referred to as the waiting room/lounge for performers before and after a performance. In this instance the reference is to “bucks” as in taxpayer dollars for high end Italian cuisine.
Six of the nine board members, three MPC staffers and Sweeney, dined there last Thursday. In addition, MPC attorney Rick Johns was paid to sit and eat—but not talk.
The tab was almost $300. The tab would probably have been $400 if MPC board members Ronnie Remedies, Dale Colvin and Alan Young had been able to attend .
The work session featured 2 power point presentations. One was on the $10,000 MPC financial feasibility study. The other explained the Red River overlay district. The 2108 proposed MPC budget was also reviewed.
The feasibility study recommended that the Parish funding of the MPC be increased from 13 percent of the budget to 25 percent. And that the City’s funding be decreased from 87 to 75 percent. It also suggested that various MPC fees be increased.
The feasibility study was repeated at the MPC meeting for the full MPC board and the general public.
MPC Executive Director Mark Sweeney casually advised those in attendance that the City of Shreveport was studying the feasibility of establishing an internal planning office. He also mentioned, off hand, that the Parish had authorized a similar study.
His casual remarks indicated little concern that his job, much less the MPC office itself, was in jeopardy of not being funded for 2018.
Shreveport City attorney William Bradford will soon release his legal feasibility assessment for an internal city planning office.
Attorneys versed in municipal law all agree that the City and the Parish are not bound to fund the MPC. And that both can set up internal offices.
The Parish could choose to contract with a city internal planning office or just set up a separate office.
Sweeney also crooned over his accomplishments in spending $650 thousand dollars of City and Parish tax dollars in getting the Unified Development Code promulgated, vetted , and implemented for the City. The Parish is expected to adopt a slightly different version of the UDC by year end.
The last 20 minutes or so of the lunch meeting featured dessert for MPC Chairman Theron Jackson and idle chit chat.
Due to the distance to Government Plaza, the MPC meeting started late. But why should the Shreveport peasant citizens complain? In the MPC dream world, it was just another wonderful day in paradise.
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