BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - One night before council members decide whether to green light her road tax plan, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome gave her MOVEBR proposal one final push in the final public meeting Tuesday night.
"Over the past few weeks, we've had a number of triumphs I would say," Broome said.
The main difference this time is the funding source. The mayor is opting for a half-cent sales tax rather than a property tax. It was that millage last time that ultimately made a similar plan stall out before the council. "The voters had already spoken on that issue at that time," said Councilman Trae Welch. "We were just coming off the heels of the flood and the truth is that I just didn't think it was the right time."
Welch was one of those no votes last time around. He, along with council members Watson, Amoroso, Hudson, and Wilson, shot down the plan. Council members Collins-Lewis, Wicker, Green, Cole, and Freiberg said yes, while members Banks and Loupe did not vote.
This time, Welch says he's coming around to the changes he has seen and is now leaning towards supporting this version. "Nobody likes taxes and nobody likes things like that, but the truth is, at the end of the day, it's got to be paid for some kind of way," he said.
Councilwoman Barbara Freiberg, the lone Republican who sided with the mayor last time, says she's still on board. "It's so critical that we do something now. We keep kicking this can down the road and I don't know that we can do that any longer," Freiberg added.
Freiberg believes many voters are ready for the vote as well based the mood of several of the public meetings she has attended. "There's just been so much support at these meetings, even in areas of town where I wouldn't have expected there to be support, so that gives me hope that this city is ready to make a difference," she said.
She believes there were a few concerns nearly a year ago, like the speed of the initial roll out and the timing of the failed proposal, but Freiberg fears a failure to act now will only make a bad problem worse.
While it's unclear what the council will decide Wednesday, Freiberg says the time is now and voters should have the final say in December. "I'm hoping the council will vote to send this to the people to let the people make this decision," she added.
If the council approves the measure Wednesday, it will go before voters on Saturday, December 8.