Residents gather to launch campaign against incorporating city of St. George

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It was standing room only at St. Patrick's Catholic Church Tuesday night, as people listened to a presentation of arguments explaining why incorporating the city of St. George would be a bad idea. Lionel Bazile, who lives in the affected area, was among those on hand for the meeting.

"Are my taxes going to increase?" asked Bazile. "Can you give me a definite no on that issue because I cannot see you doing all that you have said you're going to do and not raise my tax."

Opponents of the proposed city of St. George argue it would create an estimated 20 percent budget shortfall in East Baton Rouge Parish while St. George would be funded primarily by sales tax revenue.

"The majority of sales tax revenue is coming from residents who live outside of the proposed city," said one presenter.

"It does not seem fair that people from throughout region that shop at these developments would wind up paying for most of the services in the proposed new city," said Kathleen Randall of Residents Against the Breakaway.

Presenters also focused on the proposed school district in St. George and what they say would be a hit to public services offered to residents but for Bazile, opposing the incorporation of St. George simply comes down to principle.

"I've seen all the investment Baton Rouge has invested in this area and I just can't see how one side of the town profit on all of what we have done together," said Bazile.

Despite severe weather in the area during most of the early evening, more than 250 people were on hand for the Better Together campaign launch. Organizers say they are hopeful support will continue to increase as residents return to their neighborhoods and communities and more meetings are scheduled.

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