What’s next for St. George?

What’s next for St. George?
Several lawsuits are currently holding up progress for the City of St. George. (Source: WAFB)

EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, La. (WAFB) - It has been almost two months since voters decided to create a new City of St. George.

Since then, a number of businesses have chosen to annex themselves into the City of Baton Rouge, and that’ll be the case again at Wednesday night’s metro council meeting.

What's next for the City of George as some businesses try to annex into Baton Rouge?

Lawsuits are currently keeping a lots of things from moving forward with St. George. Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, along with others, filed a suit in November, challenging how the new city will provide services to voters.

However St. George officials say they’re still pushing forward.

“Just like Central, we’ll persevere, we’ll be successful, and we’ll become a city, and it’s a fight worth fighting regardless of how long it takes,” said St. George spokesman, Andrew Murrell.

That first challenge for the new City of St. George is the previously mentioned lawsuit. But Murrell says they’re ready and waiting to respond in court.

“We’re [St. George organizers] waiting for those to be set for a hearing. We’ll argue that [lawsuit] and that’ll kind of determine the next course of action,” he said.

The legal process could take quite some time to play out though.

Murrell says the new city is also seeing requests from people who want to be annexed into St. George, but those requests are also on hold because the city's leadership is not yet in place.

“Unfortunately, without an interim mayor and city council, we can’t review and approve those petitions for annexation at this time, but we are taking inquiries and working with those groups to make sure they comply with the details,” said Murrell.

Those interim officers will be chosen by Governor John Bel Edwards.

A spokesperson told WAFB “the Governor is still considering options for both the St. George appointments and the timeline.”

“He’s [Gov. Edwards] allowed to take his time to make those decisions, and we hope he takes politics out of the equation,” said Murrell.

WAFB spoke with attorney, Charles Landry, over the phone Tuesday, Dec. 10. He has a number of clients who are filing applications to get into the City of Baton Rouge. Landry says the common theme is his clients want the “certainty” and “present components of the current city-parish government.”

“There are a lot of folks that are in a wait and see sort of mind,” said Councilman Matt Wilson of District 11.

Watson says his constituents include people inside St. George city limits, the City of Baton Rouge, and in the unincorporated part of the parish. He’s been told some are still in limbo about what they want to do.

“What the sweet spot for them to opt into or stay in rather, is unincorporated, remain unincorporated, because that’s why they chose to live in that area in the first place,” said Watson.

Murrell says they’re hoping for the interim mayor and city council to be chosen soon.

The next hearing will take place in January of 2020, and he believes that will dictate what happens next for both sides moving forward.

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