EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, La. (WAFB) - The vote is done, but the fight is ramping up over the boundary of St. George.
“It’s a hot topic. I’ve gotten several inquiries," said John Gallagher, executive director of the Louisiana Municipal Association.
Gallagher says some could fight their way back into Baton Rouge. The process is spelled out in Revised Statute 33:4, but he says it’s rare.
“When you have an area that has been incorporated through the incorporation process through a vote of the people and then you have folks that are inside that area that now want to get out, that in my 20 years in the association, I’ve never encountered that,” said Gallagher.
Areas adjacent to Baton Rouge could form a petition to un-incorporate themselves from St. George. Then, they could either remain unincorporated or request to be annexed into the capital city. Gallagher says it’s possible if certain requirements are met within a 30-day window after the election results are certified.
“That would require a majority of the registered voters, majority of the resident property owners and those resident property owners would need to represent about 25 percent,” said Gallagher.
The majority of the area voted for the new city, but a good chunk of the areas west of Pecue Lane and Stumberg said no. While there seems to be some pushback in certain spots, St. George spokesman, Andrew Murrell, says others are interested in joining them.
“Both pre-election and we’ve been flooded post-election with individuals and HOAs and businesses desiring to be annexed into St. George,” he said.
It seems the fight over who’s in and who’s not is far from done, but Murrell says they’re ready for whatever comes next.
“We’re prepared to move forward,” he added.
Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome released the following statement Tuesday, Oct. 15:
"Last Saturday’s election was a defining moment for our city and parish. As the Mayor-President of Baton Rouge and of all the residents in East Baton Rouge Parish, it is my responsibility to make decisions that I believe are in the best interest of everyone. After evaluation of the referendum surrounding the incorporation of the City of St. George, I have met with senior advisors and legal counsel to discuss RS 33:4 of State Law, as we explore all options. I am determined to find a path forward that is best for ALL of the citizens of this parish and not a portion of our population.
In the meantime, I will meet with the St. George organizers as indicated in the attached letter.
My commitment to all of the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish remains steadfast and unmovable."
Mayor Broome also sent the following letter to Murrell in order to discuss plans moving forward: