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Council could overturn mayor's veto of NBR economic development

7 months 2 weeks 1 day ago April 26, 2016 Apr 26, 2016 Tuesday, April 26 2016 April 26, 2016 10:35 PM in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The Metro Council will vote Wednesday to possibly override Mayor-President Kip Holden's veto for a proposal to create an economic development district in north Baton Rouge.

Holden denied the request last week, after the Metro Council unanimously approved the district, sponsored by council member John Delgado. The district, encompassing an area north of Florida Blvd. within the city limits, would provide tax incentives for people to establish businesses.

The council needs eight votes to override the veto.

Council members Tara Wicker and Delgado were on Alfreda Tillman Bester's WTQT show "Perspective" Tuesday afternoon drumming up support.

"Doesn't necessarily cure all of the defects, there's a lot of things that we need to do in north Baton Rouge, but it's a first step," Delgado said.

The hope of the ordinance is to redevelop blighted properties, bring new business and new jobs to north Baton Rouge.

Wicker supports the growth and development of north Baton Rouge but is looking to amend the ordinance and put stricter qualifications into place.

"People want to make sure that at the end of the day those benefits go to the north Baton Rouge community and they're utilized to advance the purposes and the economic development for that community," she said.

Council members say developers have already expressed interest in building and redeveloping in the north Baton Rouge economic development district.

Council member Donna Collins-Lewis says she supports the override and says the council still maintains the final approval, for any business seeking to build.

"Every business that wants to do something in north baton rouge, will still have to come before the council for approval, for any rebate,"  Collins-Lewis explains.

In a WBRZ poll Tuesday night, Delgado, Collins-Lewis, Chauna Banks and Erika Green all say they will support the north Baton Rouge economic development district. Joel Boe said he agrees with the mayor's veto. Wicker hasn't decided yet. The other five Metro Councilmembers did not return our calls.

News 2 reached out to Holden for comment on our initial story about the veto on April 20th and again on Tuesday. Each time we were told that he was not available for comment.

The Metro Council meets Wednesday, April 27 at 4 p.m. on the ninth floor of city hall.

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