Caddo Bossier Port Director Eric England has refused to answer 10 questions presented to him in early March, and it is very doubtful that he will respond to these additional inquiries, despite asking Caddo and Bossier voters to renew 2 years early a bond renewal this coming Saturday. These inquiries deal directly with the business affairs of the Port and the failure to respond to these should be a concern to voters who will be extending taxes on their homesteads and all other immovable property they own; already Caddo Parish has the highest ad valorem taxes in Louisiana.
Answers to these additional questions, as well as the first 10, are needed to properly evaluate the bond renewal.
11. Why does the Port need a lobbying firm and how many totaldollars has the Port paid since it opened to lobbying firms?
12. Why does the Port need a public relations firm and how many total dollars has the Port paid since it opened to public relations firms?
13. How many new jobs has been established at the Port versus local businesses relocating to the Port?
14. What tax incentives have each of the local businesses that relocated to the Port received?
15. What tax incentives have each of the new businesses that expanded to the Port received?
16. The marketing effort to pass the renewal by Citizens For Good Jobs, LLC. Is headed up by the lobbyist for the Port a
nd it is a high dollar campaign with robo-calls, large postcard mailing, newspaper ads, billboards and other media.
a. Is it true that you and other Port employees/officials have met with the lobbyist and/or had the Port’s public relations firm met with the lobbyist to plan this pass the renewal effort?
b. Is it true that Burk-Kleinpeter, the general contractor for the Port’s infrastructure work, is underwriting this expensive public relations campaign.?
c. How realistic is the campaign statement of creating up to 15,000 jobs when the Port has only created less than 1000 new jobs since it opened over 20 years ago?
17. The Port has spent $22 million on a 65,000 square foot Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Technologies at BPCC; this building sits empty and has not been used. Why was it built and when, if ever, will the Port get a return on this taxpayer expense?
18. The Port has received $88 million dollars in the 23 years of the current 25 year tax. What real benefit have taxpayers received from these tax revenues?
19. How many acres at the Port can really be used for new tenants—leaving out the tracts being held for a possible I-69 route (tracts 29 and 30)—but adding in the 250 acres purchased on Robson Road that the Port has been unable to rezone for heavy industrial.
20. The Port has over $17 million in government backed securities; none of the taxpayer dollars are being returned to taxpayers. How is a tax renewal justified with this large reserve of funds?
Caddo and Bossier taxpayers are entitled to answers to questions before they vote for a tax renewal. Without the information, the voters should say NO. The Port has plenty of time to explain their operations at a latter date and try to renew the millage be
fore it expires. Until then, taxpayers should stand their ground!!