An OPEN LETTER to the Citizens of Shreveport-Caddo Parish and pertinent to all of the Northwest Louisiana region from Murray Lloyd–
From: Murray Lloyd <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, Apr 6, 2014 at 10:51 AM
Subject: Uneconomic Development
A Next Step
I recently wrote a column that appeared in the Shreveport Times about the necessity of building a water treatment plant on the Red River in southern Caddo Parish.
Part of what I tried to convey is that our local government entities are completely lacking in capacity and this has led to a total breakdown in functionality.
This systemic unhealthiness is most visibly exhibited in the absolute inability of our political bodies to self-correct on even the most basic level.
A case in point is the proposed annexation of two tracts in southern Caddo Parish on the City Council agenda. (Ordinances 39 & 40)
Twenty years ago, the City of Shreveport was 100 square miles in size and had a population of 200,000.
Ten years ago, it was 110 square miles and 200,000. Now it is 120 square miles and less than 200,000.
This sprawl has all taken place under the banner of “economic development” and in the absence of any comprehensive formula for evaluating the multitude of annexations.
Every thinking person knows that adding miles to the boundaries of the City adds to the cost of operating and maintaining basic services – police, fire, streets, drainage, water, sewerage, solid waste.
The stated justification is “This subdivision will provide additional tax revenues to the City as well as providing additional housing to the citizens of Shreveport.” (continue below image)
One curious aspect of these annexations is that both Ordinances state that “The City Engineer’s Office has no objections to this Annexation Ordinance”.
The City Engineer’s Office is responsible for issuing the State of the Municipal Infrastructure report twice a year.
This is the report that says that the City of Shreveport, at its current size, has an deficit of 1.5 billion dollars in its water & sewerage and streets & drainage infrastructure operation and maintenance.
One has to wonder what formula of “times and goesintos” they used to arrive at that conclusion.
The City of Shreveport spent years and millions of taxpayer dollars developing the Great Expectations Master Plan.
( As part of full disclosure, I refused to participate in this and I refer to it as the “a Point In Every Direction” Plan)
Under the heading of “MASTER PLAN CONSIDERATION” both of these proposed ordinances state:
The Master Plan has identified Shreveport’s annexation history and practices as a primary reason for escalating costs and declining levels of service, the deteriorating condition of the City’s infrastructure, inner city decline, and sprawling, “leapfrog” development patterns. In response to this finding, the Master Plan recommends re-examining the City’s annexation practices and cautions against expanding the City’s boundaries until annexation rules or considerations and fees
You have to wonder how these ordinances are still being proposed with a statement such as this, unless you believe that the City’s Administration and City Council do not take the Master Plan seriously and lack the capacity and political will to follow it even on this most basic level.
So, it is time to get pragmatic.
What would be a good next step?
As it turns out, there is a City Council Infrastructure Committee meeting scheduled for this Tuesday at 1:00.
I propose that the Chairman of the Infrastructure Committee add this item to the Agenda and appoint a sub-committee to carry out the tasks that are recommended in the “MASTER PLAN CONSIDERATION”
that is chaired by the District “D” Councilman. (Truth be told, I made this recommendation to the infrastructure committee back in January of 2012 and they took no action, but maybe things have changed)
I am confident that they will take this action right after they approve the building of a water treatment plant on the Red River in southern Caddo Parish.
POGO WAS RIGHT!