BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Two St. George organizers released a statement after East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome filed a lawsuit against the organizers.
St. George co-chairmen Norman Browning and Chris Rials described Broome’s challenge as an attempt to “delay” and “undermine” the St. George incorporation, according to the statement posted Monday.
Broome filed a suit against Browning and Rials on Monday, Nov. 4.
The suit challenges their ability to provide services to voters in the proposed new city.
“Organizers are ill-prepared to operate a city as well as the adverse impact on the City of Baton Rouge and citizens who live outside the arbitrary boundaries of the proposed City of St. George," a statement from Mayor Broome reads.
“The time for promises, speculative ideas, and criticism of Baton Rouge and the rest of the parish is over, done. The time has come for their unelected organizers to prove that they have the capacity and ability to provide the needed services for a town of over 86,000 people and they can provide the needed services within a reasonable amount of time.”
Broome also criticized the organizers for not being prepared to get into the “nitty-gritty” on drainage and infrastructure issues during a meeting they requested at the end of October.
“When do the organizers plan to disclose to the 86,000 residents and the rest of the parish the details of their so-far non-existent plan?” her statement read.
St. George spokesperson, Andrew Murrell, tells WAFB that city organizers have plans to take care of all of these things, however, because this issue is now under litigation, he could not discuss those plans.
“We have to be incorporated first,” Murrell said. “We have to have the governor appoint mayor and city council and at that point, the interim mayor and city council will have the ability to enter into contracts, put bids out for the services, and move forward for contracting for those services. So yes, there are lots of plans in place, but they have to be triggered by the process of incorporation, certification, and appointment by the governor or mayor and city council.”
He says this lawsuit does nothing more than undermine the voters’ decision.
“We went to the ballot box, we voted in a lawful election, and the citizens of St. George voted to incorporate our city,” he said. “Nothing could be louder ad clearer than our rights being exercised and this lawsuit is just undermining those rights.”
Broome says “the incorporation of St. George will have a significant and adverse impact on the remaining 364,000 residents of the parish.” And, "if allowed to incorporate, it will drive the proposed town of St. George to suicide by bankruptcy.”