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Shreveport will vote on $256M bond issue on April 27

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(The Center Square) – Propositions for public road and utility improvements, and public places that include police and fire buildings are in $256 million bond issues on the ballot April 27 for Louisiana’s third-largest city.

The deadline for approval so ballots could be printed was Monday. A special Ad Hoc Election Subcommittee of the Louisiana State Bond Commission gave the approval the same day.

Last Wednesday, the Shreveport City Council approved the measure 5-2.

According to an analysis by Bond Commission officials, the bond issuance would be staggered based on work needed and an initial $60 million would be available immediately if the bond issue is approved. The Shreveport Capital Improvements Committee – which was a group of 19 citizens chosen by Mayor Tom Arceneaux and the City Council to draft a list of projects for the bond issue – issued its final recommendations at a meeting in December.

The $256 million is spread across three propositions for voters.

One is for $125.1 million for street, bridge and drainage improvements. Debt service on this proposition would cost taxpayers $8.15 million. A similar bond issue for more than $63 million failed to pass in 2021.

Proposition 2 would be an $82 million bond issue for water and sewer system improvements. A $64.7 million bond issue for the same purpose was rejected by voters in 2021.

Proposition 3 would be $49.3 million used for improving police and fire facilities, parks and public buildings. Debt service would be $3.21 million.

Shreveport owes $146.3 million for general purpose bonds and the city’s debt service will cost taxpayers more than $22 million this year.

According to an analysis by the state Bond Commission, if all three propositions passed, the estimated additional millage would be a maximum of five mills (the amount per $1,000 of assessed value of the property) for a combined 16.318 mills.

Since Louisiana’s ad valorem tax is assessed at 10% of the value of real property, the additional five mills would be a tax increase of $204.58 per year on a house with an assessed value of $250,000.