“Cut the fat” is a constant cry by Shreveport citizens upset over the proposed garbage fee by Mayor Adrian Perkins.
Problem is that those yelling the loudest have offered practically no suggestions on budget revisions.
Practically everybody agrees that sanitation workers should be paid a “good” wage. And that the city should have adequate reserves. The problem is that there is no consensus on what are “needs” versus “wants”.
There are many sacred cows in the city budget.
The city contributed $50 thousand dollars to help underwrite the Miss USA beauty pageants. In addition, Shreveport provided in-kind services to the tune of $94 thousand dollars plus.
What is the total cost to the City of the Independent Bowl?
This amount should include any direct contribution and in-kind services of all city departments. This includes Shreveport Police Department (SPD) the Shreveport Fire Department (SFD), Shreveport Parks & Recreation(SPAR), Shreveport Public works and maybe others like Sportran.
The costs to the city for the recent African-American parade that traveled less than 2 miles exceeded $29 thousand. And what about all the Mardi Gras parades?
SPAR spent over $76 thousand dollars supporting the 2018 Centaur parade. The SPAR total for the Gemini parade exceeded $70 thousand.
SPAR provides portolets and clean up services for these. Traffic and Engineering provides crowd barriers as well. SPD and SFD also provides services to these parades.
SPAR expensed over $120 grand last year to repair flood damage to Riverview Park and along Clyde Fant Parkway. Caddo Sheriff/Homeland Security Director Steve Prator has predicted last year that the Red River will flood again…and again.. and again. And guess what? The Red flooded in January and more flood damage was incurred at Riverview Park.
And not to pick on SPAR, but consider that it maintains 62 city parks, 46 playgrounds, and 7 spray parks. That’s just a start. Add to that 4 cemeteries, 300 rose/flower beds, 5 swimming pools, etc. All that takes big bucks from the city budget.
How about the costs to the city for sponsoring the Rockets over the Red and the 4th of July fireworks on the riverfront?
The list could go on…and on…and on.
Balancing the city’s budget and maintaining an adequate reserve is much like household budgets and savings accounts. There are “needs” and there are “wants.”
For too long, Shreveport has lived as if still in the “good ole days”. Back when there was a growing population, a growing tax base, and plenty of bucks for municipal projects.
That day has ended. In fact, it ended several years ago.
(This article will be/was published in The Inquisitor on Friday, February 8, 2019)