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Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023

Addressing the Budget

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Identifying the city’s most pressing needs

Several projects continue to press forward in the city of Shreveport. But one thing has occupied Mayor Tom Arceneaux lately.

“It’s time to address the budget,” he said.

Arceneaux submitted his 2024 budget for the city to the city council. That was just the starting point.

“The budget process will eat up a lot of time and space between now and Dec. 15,” Arceneaux said.

Arceneaux was unable to provide details about his proposed budget – a “significant document” – before presenting it to the council. He said police incentives and some fee increases were among the items in the budget.

“2024 is a tight year,” he said. The proposed budget does not include any suggested items from the Capital Improvements Committee at this point. The recommendations will be made into bond proposals that will be voted on in April of next year. The budget can be amended next year to reflect those bond proposals that pass.

Seeking input

The Capital Improvements Committee is moving forward in its efforts to identify the city’s most pressing needs and develop those bond proposals.

The committee comprises citizens appointed by Arceneaux and the city council members. All of its meetings are public meetings. However, the committee has scheduled listening sessions to collect input from the community.

Those meetings begin at 6 p.m. Oct. 4 in the Jackson Building Auditorium at Southern University of Shreveport, 3050 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Another is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 5 in the University Center Theatre at LSU Shreveport, 1 University Place.

Two more meetings are scheduled Oct. 10 and 12. The times and locations will be announced.

More work continues As the mayor and the city council refine the budget and the Capital Improvements Committee sets its priorities, other endeavors also continue to move forward Included on the list:

Consultant Baker Tilley continues to review a proposal from REV Entertainment to create a multi-use sports and entertainment venue at the site of Fair Grounds Field. Arceneaux said he anticipates having some analysis from Baker Tilley within six weeks that will help determine how the city proceeds.

Officials from Shreveport, Ruston, Monroe and Vicksburg, Miss., are waiting to hear the results of a grant submitted in support of high-speed passenger rail services from Dallas to Atlanta that would include stops in the four cities. Arceneaux said he expects to hear the results of the grant proposal in early 2024.

City officials continue to consider Shreveport’s noise ordinance. “Not sure how that’s going to go, but we’ve got to get a handle on what’s going on downtown,” Arceneaux said.

Power supply

Recent storms brought another round of power outages across Shreveport, closing school for the day on Sept. 25. Arceneaux said his office does receive calls about outages, but SWEPCO is not under Shreveport’s jurisdiction.

“I get some calls about power outages,” he said. “We generally refer them to the Public Service Commission, which actually has jurisdiction over SWEPCO.”

Arceneaux said he does recognize the damage to SWEPCO’s services and transmission lines during a storm in June that left much of the city without power for days. He said he thought the utility provider was still working on some of its lines as more storms moved through the area.

“We’ve had an unusually high number of weather events,” he said, ”and they seem to be increasing.”

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