Scotlandville sewer plant buyout plan fails

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Dozens of families say they've grown up with human waste around their homes for decades. Wednesday night, a divided East Baton Rouge Metro Council shot down a desperate plea to change that.

Over the years, it's been denied by three courts - including the Supreme Court. Wednesday, in their final meeting of the year and the council's last attempt to help, that attempt failed.

For nearly an hour and half of debating, the council and public discussed and even pleaded for some sort of action.

"This administration has basically, I would say turned it's back on this community," said Greg Mitchell, who lives in Scotlandville.

The motion included about $6 million going to buy out 44 homes in Scotlandville near a sewer plant. On average, each home was appraised around $80,000. Add to that up to $22,000 for relocating. So Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker put the motion on the table to approve, but then saw something in the audience.

"I see every resident out there shaking their head.  No, this is not what you want. Now, do you want it or not? What do you want?" asked Walker.

So Walker opened the item up for public discussion wanting to hear from those who live in the affected areas.

"When they say they don't want it, I'm going to make a motion to delete the whole damn thing. Okay, but I want to hear one more time from the people. Let them have a say," said Walker.

The biggest concerns? Getting a fair market value on their homes or in some cases, a new mortgage for senior citizens when their current homes are already paid off. In the end though, Joel Boe, Scott Wilson and the council member who represents the Scotlandville area, Ulysses Addison, voted against the motion.

"There were uncertainties," said Addison. "People have said to me, 'We're unclear and nor are we sure this is the best process for us'."

With no plan in the future and tears in their eyes, Scotlandville homeowners will have to stay put, at least for now

"The item is dead, but we're still alive, and we will not go anywhere," said Mitchell.

The council did vote on another motion that would have deferred the item to next year or another meeting, but that too failed so essentially the item is dead.

Mitchell says there are plans for those who live in the affected area to meet with their new council representative, Chauna Daniels and Tara Wicker to discuss what's next.  That meeting will be Monday, December 17, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church on Scenic Highway.

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