The Shreveport City Council rejected Mayor Adrian Perkin’s proposed Clean City User Fee
at its Tuesday meeting.
All 7 council members agreed on that something needs to be done to address Perkin’s primary concerns.
That being that sanitation workers, and especially the CDL sanitation truck drivers, need pay increases.
And that the city’s reserves are precariously low and that they need to be substantially beefed up.
After that, the opinions on what to do were basically seven-fold. That being one for each council member.
Two basic options were in play.
The first is to charge a garbage fee.
Sentiments around the horseshoe in the council chambers ranged from $5 per month to $13 monthly. This notion presumed that any savings on the $8 million plus subsidy of the solid waste cost would be used to build up the reserves.
The other option was to ask the voters for a sales tax increase in during the primary election in Oct.
This ballot will have every state office plus the Caddo Commission and other local offices. This proposal would also set a garbage fee for a year to bridge the time gap between the collection of any additional sales tax.
Tied into the garbage fee discussion were comments about the pros and cons of setting up an enterprise fund for any garbage fee. This fund would receive all garbage fee moneys and pay all expenses associated with garbage pickup.
This means that all the costs for sanitation workers, the employee benefits, vehicle maintenance, fuel and vehicle replacement would be paid from this fund. Additionally all insurance payments, workman’s compensation benefits, plus the cost of payroll services and other in-house services provided by city departments. A good example of a enterprise fund is Shreveport’s Water and Sewage Department (DOWUS).
How all this will play out is a big unknown. By rejecting the mayor’s proposal, the council has now taken on the burden of resolving both the salary and the city reserves matters.
In the meantime, the city budget is in a state of uncertainly. Most city departments have a substantial number of job vacancies. The problems in filling these positions are multiple, ranging from pay scale to the lengthy hiring process.
It’s too early to say the council is fiddling while the city is financially sinking. However the city’s economic reality is certainly not improving as time goes by.