EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Less than two weeks after voters approved the new City of St. George, residents who did not want the new town to begin with are running toward the exit with the goal of joining Baton Rouge.
The City of St. George was approved with 54% of the vote, however, the measure was highly contested, with battle lines being drawn on both sides of the issue.
The people who voted against the measure are now hoping to remove themselves from the new town by annexing themselves into Baton Rouge.
“St. George does not add anything to making Baton Rouge’s economy any better,” said Richard Lipsey, chairman of Lipsey’s, a firearm wholesaler. “It does not add anything to the educational system of Baton Rouge and as far as I can see, there is no need for St. George. All it does is make us look very silly in the eyes of very important players like ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical, the real big players in the chemical industry, the oil industry, throughout the United States.”
Lipsey says he was opposed to the measure from the beginning.
“They don’t understand the tax consequences of it, they don’t understand the police protection of it. Very easy for them to say the sheriff, Sid Gautreaux, will continue to patrol the area, but there’s a lot more to it then just patrolling the area as big as southeast Baton Rouge is with 86,000 people in it,” he said.
For others like Orhan McMillon, he’s wanting to leave St. George because of what he says it was founded on.
“Honestly, the tax system and the mechanisms are less important to me,” McMillon said. “They really are. Those things tend to work themselves out one way or the other, but for me it’s the foundation of what it’s built upon. This is simply a national trend of majority white populations pulling out of diverse cities so that they can create, which further segregates us as a country and so that’s the big issue with me. Is the underlying principle of why this was done and me not being okay with it.”
The problem for McMillon is that while he wants to annex himself into Baton Rouge, his property is not adjacent to current Baton Rouge city limits, which is required to be annexed.
“You have to be adjacent to current Baton Rouge city limits and you have a petition where 50 percent plus one, a simple majority, of the proposed area to annex signs in favor of annexation, you attach a plaque, and you submit it to the metro council,” said M.E. Cormier, director of Together Baton Rouge.
McMillon’s neighborhood is farther inside of St. George though, meaning he will have to work and get others on board with annexing into Baton Rouge.
“What we’re doing right now is working on the annexation process of building those neighborhoods and houses and businesses that want to annex back into Baton Rouge,” McMillon said. “And because of where I’m located, they’re going to have to dig in a little bit and work on neighboring neighborhoods before they get to me.”
If he cannot get others on board, he says he will sell his house and move elsewhere.
“It’s just one of those things,” he said. “I’ve been in that home for 20 plus years and again, it fundamentally goes against everything, my core belief system to stay there, so I’ll definitely be looking for another place in Baton Rouge.”