By George Carroll,
[property owner, one of 6 residents on Harts Island road whose property backs up to the 250 acre tract the Port purchased and attempted to have zoned heavy industrial.]
Since the voters of Caddo and Bossier Parish voted the Port it’s millage of $88,000,000.00 some 23 years ago, the question begs, “what really has been the return on the taxpayers investment?” Read the following facts based on reality and then, don’t let the Port tell you what to think, as they are hoping they can do, please think for yourself!
According to Port documents, there does in fact appear to be some seventeen companies located at the Port, currently employing, some 1745 employees! However, the facts are that SEVEN (7) ofthese companies, and the 959 employees already employed at these entities, were well established businesses with long histories, in Shreveport, Bossier, and Northwest Louisiana and these companies relocated their plants and offices to the Port to take advantage of lucrative incentives proffered by the Port from the taxes paid by taxpayers! Companies like Morris-Dickson, Sports South, Davidson Trucking, ADS Logistics, Blount Brothers, and Omni Specialty Oil! Why is the Port making this omission?
According to Port documents, there are only eleven (11) new business entities providing jobs for only 786 employees! Simple math proves that over 23 years, if only 786 new jobs have been created, that works out to be approximately 34 jobs per year!
Now, the Port wants taxpayers to believe that they can create 15,000 jobs (they didn’t say when), perhaps they can, however, again, using simple math, if 15,000 jobs is divided by 34 jobs per year, the Port’s current job creation standard, it will take the Port 441 years to fill those jobs! Why doesn’t the Port say they can create 20,000 or 30,000 or 50,000 jobs? Anyone can project a number, but does reality really bear it out? Please think about this one!!!
The Port is saying they are out of land, and only has some 700 acres left! Again, this is a convenient untruth and very easy to disprove! Look at the Port’s campus map on their website, www.portcb.com and look at the legend that shows the ten (10) available tracts. Then, look at the acreage conveniently reserved for I-69, the corridor of which is still not decided (and decades away), yet the Port is claiming this land is “un-usable”! Smack in the middle of the Port campus is an area colloquially referred to as the “Industrial Complex”, tracts 29 and 30, which if viewed from Google Earth, or a nice drive in the country, will bear out that this too is a vast expanse of land unused! Further, notice all of the lands marked as “private”? Why is the Port allowing private property owners, to retain acreage, inside the desperately land strapped Port? Is this “land speculation” at work for those lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time? Lastly, look at the great big tract labeled “Tract 5” on their map. A dirty little secret the Port hopes no one ever sees of figures out, is a whopping 250 acres of land, that the Port spent $2,640,000.00 to purchase from an ex-Caddo-Bossier Port Commissioner, that the Port’s own engineering firm has told the Port, that the land will never be usable! Hey, it’s taxpayer money!
The Port also points proudly at the $22,000,000.00, 65,000 square foot Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Technologies, located at Bossier Parish Community College. This building is currently sitting empty, at taxpayer expense!
And now it’s time to consider the Regional Commerce Center, the crown jewel of the Port campus. The building is some 34,000 square feet, with 14 employees, and cost the taxpayer $14,000,000 dollars and that’s not including the almost $750,000 in furnishings. The Port says that this facility is for it’s tenants to use, and yet, like a church, this building sits practically empty except for the day to day functionality of whatever the 14 employees actually do there.