Posted: Dec 12, 2013 4:06 PM by Jason Newton
Updated: Dec 12, 2013 7:05 PM
BATON ROUGE - A proposal by some EBR Metro Council members that would force parish workers to live in the city limits of Baton Rouge or unincorporated parts of the parish is drawing strong response from Mayor Kip Holden.
He spoke out Thursday against any rules requiring future city-parish workers to live within any defined boundaries.
"It's a bad idea," Holden said. "We should be at a time now where we're trying to get and stay together, instead of separating each other."
Several council members made the proposal at Wednesday night's council meeting. It would require future workers such as fire, police and public works employees to live in either the city or unincorporated parts of the parish.
Holden called it divisive politics that would invite retaliation.
"We have people from other cities working here, yes," Holden said. "But we also have people living here that work in other cities. That's a war we don't need to start."
Councilwoman Tara Wicker disagrees.
"There are many other cities and towns that in order for you to work there -- especially for their police department -- you have to live in the city," Wicker said.
She said this is an old idea, given new life by the threat of the breakaway city of St. George. Major tax revenue would leave if the area of East Baton Rouge Parish which is in the proposed city's limits incorporates. Wicker said workers who live in Baton Rouge make Baton Rouge a better place overall.
The residency requirement will come up for discussion again at next month's Metro Council meeting.