Will this incorporation negatively impact the city of Baton Rouge?
No, here's why:
The area which would be incorporated as St. George is not in the city of Baton Rouge. It is in an unincorporated area of East Baton Rouge Parish. The two are not the same.
It is true that we have a city-parish (consolidated) form of government in East Baton Rouge Parish, and it's true that taxes collected in what would become St. George make up a significant portion of East Baton Rouge Parish revenues. That said, St. George would still utilize - and pay for - services offered by the East Baton Rouge Parish government, just like Baker, Zachary and Central do.
The services not contracted for with East Baton Rouge Parish will not have to be provided to St. George. That means East Baton Rouge Parish's expenses will be reduced.
Furthermore, St. George will embark upon a pro-growth, pro-private sector agenda. This is the same agenda which is leading to rapid economic expansion in neighboring parishes at the expense of East Baton Rouge Parish. Our pro-growth agenda will not only encourage families to stay, but will bring people back into East Baton Rouge Parish.
How big will the city be?
The new city will be approximately 60 square miles (The city of Baton Rouge is 76 square miles.) and will have a population of 86,316.
How is a new city formed?
The Lawrason Act provides the provides the constitutional process to incorporate a city.
Under the Lawrason Act, a petition must be circulated and signed by 25 percent of all registered voters located within the proposed new city. Upon completion of the petition with the requisite number of signatures, it must be submitted to the Registrar of Voters for certification. The next step upon certification is submission to the Governor, who has the responsibility to call a special election in which only the registered voters within the proposed incorporated area are eligible to vote. If a majority of those voters vote "yes," the measure is passed and the new city is born.
What are the Pros of incorporation?
St. George's government will be leaner, smarter and more responsive to the needs of a successful 21st-century city. The organizers of St. George have been inspired in their formulation of its governing strategy by the innovations put in place in Sandy Springs, Georgia - a state-of-the-art suburb of Atlanta.
The residents of St. George have long been the backbone of East Baton Rouge Parish's economy and have been leaders in its commerce, industry, education and culture. This has led to a situation in which St. George's taxpayers provide two-thirds of the revenue to the East Baton Rouge Parish government with only one-third of that government's expense in return.
Incorporating a city would reverse this unjust circumstance to an extent, and provide the fuel for a renaissance in East Baton Rouge Parish. Furthermore, the advances and innovations in governance which would be implemented in St. George might establish best practices to be followed by other cities in the region.
Most importantly, the city of St. George will provide the opportunity for parents and children within its borders to have a first-class public school system. There are 86,316 people in St. George at present, but only one public high school (and none in Southwest East Baton Rouge Parish) - a stark indication of the priorities of the current status quo.
What are the boundaries of the proposed new city?
See the map
for the boundaries of the proposed City of St. George.
What services will be provided in the new city?
Fire protection will be provided by the St. George Fire Department, which is already funded by 14 mills on its residents’ property tax bill, and by the East Side Fire Department, which already collects 22.5 mills from its citizens. Police protection will be provided by the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, which is also already funded by property taxes that residents of the new city already pay. Sewer, streets and garbage pick-up are already funded by a parish-wide half cent sales tax. The new city will provide for the maintenance and upkeep of streets, bridges, medians, ditches, canals, and other public grounds and facilities in the new city.
What will the new city be called and why?
The City of St George.
In order to properly draft the petition seeking to form the new city, it must have a name. Our organizing committee considered a number of possibilities - the final three were St. George, Highland and New Richmond. Highland was a name with some support, but since most of the new city will not be located near Highland Road, we felt it missed the mark. And while New Richmond has some historical significance—it was off the mark as well.
St. George bears great historical significance to the southern part of East Baton Rouge Parish. Over 100 years ago, the original St. George Parish included virtually all of the of the proposed incorporated area. In fact, St. George Parish was one of two parishes in what is now East Baton Rouge Parish.
Who will govern the new city?
Once incorporated, the Governor appoints first Mayor and a five member council to govern. When the next election cycle takes place, residents will vote for a new Mayor and all council positions. The Council may reapportion itself to add more seats before this election if the public so desires.
Why did the push to incorporate begin?
The effort to bring about the city of St. George was born from the effort to create a local independent school district in the southeastern part of East Baton Rouge Parish. After two legislative attempts to create an independent school district were blocked at the state legislature a larger discussion was set in motion among grassroots citizens dissatisfied by the quality of governance from the Powers That Be in East Baton Rouge Parish, to particularly include the K-12 educational system.
Will my taxes go up if we incorporate?
No, your taxes will not go up. See the attached CRI accounting report
for more information on the budget of the proposed city.