Lo Walker tossed a hand grenade to the city council a couple of weeks ago and then ran for cover. He still hasn’t emerged, preferring to let the city council take the heat, and taking it they are.
The bunker mentality that the administration has adopted does not sit well with either the council or the people of Bossier City. People are up in arms, and council members, while attempting to maintain public decorum, are privately furious with the mayor.
This is a city government that has grown accustomed to flying under the radar with very little attention from the governed. That has changed. While the mayor prefers to wait until the middle of November to address concerns in a public forum, the council has announced that the budget will be on the agenda at Tuesday’s 3PM meeting, and that people will be allowed to speak.
I believe it is safe to say that this will be the most largely attended council meeting in Bossier City history, and that attendance will only grow as this matter is further discussed in the coming weeks.
The city finance director said that the administration had finally just put the pieces of the puzzle together. That’s interesting, because others have been aware of a pending crisis for some time.
Marsha McAllister ran for councilman-at-large in this year’s municipal election and received 20% of the vote. We noted at the time that this was a good showing for a first time candidate who was running against two incumbents. Mrs. McAllister addressed the city’s financial situation at that time, but was largely ignored.
Mrs. McAllister believed that with decreased revenues and increased spending, and with the fact that the city had used surplus funds to fund the budget for a couple of years, it was inevitable that problems would follow. It is a shame that other candidates chose not to address this during the election.
Councilmen are working to find a solution to the budget crisis without cutting any positions. While they are not blameless in this, they are stepping up and addressing it now, and they are interacting to varying degrees with the public. Councilman David Jones is personally answering his email and addressing questions from the public. It would be good to see the mayor do the same.