Mayor Glover reviews current progress of 2011 Bond Proposal
Mayor Cedric Glover held a press conference to discuss the progress of the bond proposal that was passed in April 2011. The proposal, which included $175 million in improvement projects, will impact the city’s water and sewer systems, streets, and drainage issues, and provided funding for upcoming police, fire, SPAR and the city’s finance department. Following an extensive financial review conducted by a group of Wall Street bond experts, the city was able to procure a low-interest rate of 3.99% which has had an impact on the 81.5 million bond dollars that have been used to date.
The mayor, in explaining the process, said, “One year ago today, the voters of the City of Shreveport came out and spoke resoundingly in favor of three historic propositions which together constituted the largest bond issue approved by the citizens of the City of Shreveport … We got there as a result of a long journey that involved a lot of individuals, starting with members of our previous city council and included the 16 individuals that were a part of our citizen’s bond advisory committee. These groups worked in conjunction with my administration, the folks in public works, SPAR, police, fire and other divisions across the city of Shreveport.”
Glover said the initial figure for projects was between $115 and $120 million, but after delving into their work the committee saw that the needs and challenges were greater. “They ultimately came back with a proposition that called for $165 million in projects.”
He said that when the new City Council came on board in November 2010, the members reviewed the figures submitted and joined the city administration on a bus tour of the city. “We hit spots all across Shreveport. We looked at streets, we looked at roads, we looked at water and sewer; giving us the opportunity to look again to see exactly how large a challenge the city was facing.”
As the result of a series of community meetings led by Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Brian Crawford, citizens heard specifics as how the money would be allocated. Glover said he feels these meetings contributed to the success of the bond election. “Three propositions not only passed, but had a 60% rate of victory,” he said.
Continuing the mayor said, “The next step was to engage the bond rating agencies in New York City, which play such a pivotal role in determining what the market will say about the debt that the city wanted issued. We went with then council chairman Oliver Jenkins, and laid out exactly what the city had been doing for the previous four years to … make our financial house as strong as it could be. We hoped to come away from the process with an upgrade. What we in fact came away with was a very strong affirmation of the cities A+ bond rating … With that we were prepared to go out to the market place and market the debt on behalf of the City of Shreveport.”
In marketing the debt, the decision was made that a bidding process would be the most advantageous, “We put $81.5 million worth of debt and came back with an interest rate of 3.99%. At that point we were able to have our department heads move forward with perpetrations for requests for a wide range of projects.”