Both the Shreveport City Council and the Caddo Commission have started their 2018 budget review process.
The Commission budget must be adopted by December 5. The Council's budget adoption deadline is December 15.
Both the City and the Parish fund the Shreveport Caddo Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC), which is separate legal entity. In theory the MPC is governed by it nine member appointed board.
In 2017 the City funded over a million dollars to the MPC plus provided free office space and financial services. The Parish funded a little over $217 grand.
Percentage wise, the total funding ration (including the City in kind) was 83% for the City and 17% for the Parish.
A recent financial study by an MPC consultant suggested a 60-40 funding ration for the City and the Parish. Based on the same the MPC has requested the Commission fund $400 grand for 2018.
The proposed Parish budget has a line item of $230 thousand dollars. It is very, very unlikely that this suggested funding level will be increased by the Commission. And in fact it could be decreased.
Parish Administrator Dr. Woodrow Wilson believes that the MPC services for the five mile Parish area subject to the MPC jurisdiction could be handled in house by Parish employees at a savings.
Additionally, many Commissioners are less than happy with the services provided by the MPC. The Commission adopted its own version of the Unified Development Code over the objections of MPC Executive Director Mark Sweeney.
The Shreveport City Council, lead by Oliver Jenkins, has expressed concern that the Parish has not be “paying its fair share” for MPC operations. Jenkins notes that the City of Shreveport is in Caddo Parish and that Parish funding should not be based solely on the Parish matters handled by the MPC.
Assuming the Parish only funds $230 thousand dollars for the MPC in 2018, then the City has three choices.
The first is to continue its million dollars (plus) funding of the MPC.
The second is to fund what is determined to be the City’s “fair share”. Assuming this to be less than the 2017 funding level, then it can be anticipated that MPC services may be diminished unless MPC fees are substantially increased.
The last choice is to internalize the planning functions, and stop funding the MPC. This decision would require several months of planning to adopt the appropriate ordinances, hire staff and the like.
Look for the Council to continue the 2017 funding level for the first quarter of 2018 while additional analysis is made. And in the meantime the MPC and Sweeney should expect continued scrutiny from both Commissioners and Council members.
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