BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Wednesday night's East Baton Rouge Metro Council meeting included a grab-bag of reaction to a proposal aimed at locking in tax dollars generated from unincorporated areas for a ten year period.
"I think there's been a lot of discussion that this is going to affect the city of St. George. I think that is completely false and not true," said Baton Rouge Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel.
Proponents like Councilman John Delgado, who has openly opposed the movement to incorporate St. George, says the ordinance simply improves the current service agreements between the city and unincorporated areas.
"It does not benefit the city of Baton Rouge anymore than it benefits the unincorporated part of the parish or any cities created in the interim and it doesn't prevent any cities from being incorporated should the people choose to do so," said Delgado.
Councilman Ryan Heck, who represents voters inside city limits and within St. George, disagrees. He says the measure definitely benefits the city rather than unincorporated areas in the parish and adds he understands the frustrations felt by his St. George constituents.
"If St. George is successful in getting their city there will be serious ramifications for the city of Baton Rouge," said Heck. "There will be but the time has come to address the public school problems we have here and if we're not willing to I don't blame those folks in St George one bit."
The ordinance was ultimately deferred, as was the vote for three seats on the St George fire district board of commissioners. Current St. George firefighters turned out for the vote in large numbers convinced it is a move by some council members to take a shot at those who support incorporating St George.
"We believe our fire chief, our fire department and the men and women behind me and our citizens of our fire protection district have been unfairly drug through the mud on a political issue when we are not a political entity we are a public service agency that proudly protects 100,000 people," said St. George firefighter Dustin Yates.
Here is a link to the map of the proposed city: http://www.stgeorgelouisiana.com/the-map