Work Continues on Budget
Also: More on noise and traffic cameras
You know when it feels like you have several balls in the air and you are waiting for them all to come down?
That’s how Shreveport Mayor Tom Arceneaux feels these days.
“It’s a very busy time,” Arceneaux said, “but I happen to be in a bit of a lull, because we’ve pushed all the stuff out, and now we’re waiting for it to come back.”
The biggest thing the mayor has out right now is the city of Shreveport budget for 2024.
“About all that’s going on is the budget,” he said. “We’re still trying to work out some things.”
Arceneaux and the department heads in the administration presented the budget details to the city council last week. Arceneaux anticipates amendments from the council members.
“There will be some changes, but I don’t know what they are yet,” he said.
That will necessitate some negotiation between the council and the administration to agree on a budget, which must be approved by Dec. 15.
Arceneaux also is waiting to receive recommendations from the Citizens Capital Improvements study committee on bond proposals to fund capital improvement projects in the city.
The committee met last Thursday to begin doing “the hard work” of focusing on what the package will look like.
“What they have tried to do is to make list of the universal things they want to consider,” Arceneaux said. “Not to say that they would include everything in that universe in a bond issue. But to look at what all of our options are and figure out how big we want this thing to be and what we want it to look like.”
The bond proposals need to be ready in December in order to put them on a ballot for voters in April of 2024.
The mayor has several other projects in process right now waiting for next steps. Among those is a new noise ordinance that was proposed after the mayor’s veto of a previous ordinance. That new proposal can be taken up at this week’s city council meeting. That process is taking a while because of a quirk in the calendar.
“This happens to be one of those couple of times a year when we had three weeks in between council meetings,” he said.
Arceneaux said he is hopeful to see some progress soon in the proposed lease agreement with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson for Millennium Studios. And he is waiting on a feasibility analysis from the consultant on plans with REV Entertainment for a multi-purpose venue at the site of the former Fair Grounds Field.
“I don’t have anything, except that the Rangers won the World Series,” he said.
Those two projects do not have deadlines associated with them, but Arceneaux is eager to see them move forward.
“There’s no deadline on 50 Cent, although I am very confident that is going to happen,” he said. “I am hopeful to have an announcement on that before the end of the year. With REV, I think we will have a decision by the end of the year as well.”
One thing that won’t slow the process this year is the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Normally, that interferes with a council meeting,” Arceneaux said. “But the council meeting is the week after Thanksgiving, because Thanksgiving is early this year. The council meeting is after Thanksgiving this time.”
New noise complaints
While the mayor waits to see how a new noise ordinance develops, his office has gotten complaints about noise of a different sort.
“We’ve had a few complaints about noise at the airport,” Arceneaux said. “The reason for that is we have been doing work on the lights and upgrading the main runway. That has resulted in flight patterns being slightly different.”
He said that flight patterns will return to normal when the work is completed, which should be before then end of November.
Blue Line woes
The mayor said his office does not get the number of complaints about tickets issued from the Blue Line traffic cameras in school zones it once received. But that doesn’t mean issues with the cameras have gone away.
“We installed one on Fairfield, and some of the people in the historic district are not happy with the aesthetics of that one,” he said. “What I have basically told them is it’s a daily heavily traffic street; it’s a pretty significant school. We’ll wait to see what the need is. I’ve had a handful of complaints that it makes our historic district look ugly. But our only way to do that is to have an unenforced school zone at that location. What I am going to do is monitor those. If there is not a school zone problem there, then we may consider moving that one.”