Both sides of St. George incorporation fight for every vote

Both sides of proposed St. George incorporation make final push at forum

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Proponents and opponents of the incorporation of St. George had a last final push to inform and sway voters at a forum in front of the Republican Women of Baton Rouge.

But make no mistake about it, they say it is not a partisan issue.

“I don’t think so. I think it crosses the spectrum," said Dianne Hanley, who is against the move to form the city of St. George.

“For me, it’s never been about politics. I'm a registered independent. It's not an R, it's not a D. It's about better government and better control of tax dollars,” said Andrew Murrell, who has been a large voice in supporting the incorporation. He says he doesn’t approve of how the tax dollars from the area are spent.

“They sweep $48 million of our tax dollars every year into the Baton Rouge general fund and don’t spend 48 million in the St. George area,” Murrell said.

But Hanley says a plan for a revenue stream in St. George isn't as clear cut as it sounds, and they'll have to raise taxes.

“The plan just doesn’t add up and it’s going to mean higher taxes for me in the parish,” Hanley said. “Because if they take money away from the parish, we’re going to have taxes,” she said.

Those in support of St. George continue to point to the success of Central and their incorporation.

Political analyst predicts St. George will incorporate

“We’re not reinventing the wheel,” said Murrell. “We’re going to be similarly structured to Central and Central’s got a 40-million-dollar surplus right now,” he said.

But as election night approaches, both sides agree that without any public polls they aren't sure what’s next.

“The mayor has set up two budgets. One if it happens and one if it doesn’t,” said Hanley. “So we do know that our tax base is going to be impacted and that means we’re either going to have to raise taxes, or services are going to be lowered,” he said.

“With two large football games on Saturday, it’s really hard to gauge where everyone’s at,” Murrell said. “We just want to make sure everyone gets to the polls,” she said.

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