Posted: Feb 4, 2014 5:05 PM by Jason Newton
Updated: Feb 4, 2014 11:08 PM
BATON ROUGE - Looking to counter the petition efforts of those in favor of creating a new city in the St. George area, an opposition group called Better Together Baton Rouge met for the first time at St. Patrick Catholic Church Tuesday night.
About two hundred people attended.
Organizers said they want to educate and inform people in the unincorporated areas and in East Baton Rouge Parish as to what may be in store if St. George becomes a separate city.
"We don't question their motives or have anything against them personally," said Susan Nelson, spokesperson for Better Together BR. "We just think, here in unincorporated areas, and me personally, is that this is not the most prudent idea for our city."
They created a Facebook page in November and now have several thousand followers.
"We started getting more and more concerned about this effort and it has ballooned out to over 3,000 'likes' on our Facebook page," Nelson said.
Pointing to a study done by LSU economists, Nelson said the financial impact to Baton Rouge would be drastic.
"Economic indicators are that it's going to cause a great deal of economic strife in Baton Rouge," Nelson said.
Supporters of creating a new city in the southern portion of East Baton Rouge Parish disagree.
"There's no reason why this would raise taxes on anybody that lives in the St. George area," said Lionel Rainey III, spokesperson for the Committee to Incorporate St. George. "It's not going to be detrimental financially to East Baton Rouge Parish or Baton Rouge."
St. George organizers want the issue to go to a vote. They hope to get enough signatures to have it on the ballot for November.
"All this is about allowing people to go to polls and use their Constitutional right to vote on it and determine their own destiny," Rainey III said.
St. George supporters need at least 18,000 signatures to bring the issue to a vote. They told News 2 previously that they have at least half of that total.