Report says annexations put St. George in the red
BATON ROUGE - A budget analysis for the proposed city of St. George commissioned by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and Chamber says recent annexations have taken a $30 million chunk out of the proposed city's plans.
The analysis from accounting firm Faulk and Winkler said they were asked to look at an operating budget proposed by St. George organizers along with the cost of starting and running an independent school district. Supporters said that's the primary reason for their efforts to form a new city in the southeast portion of the parish.
The firm's analysis found the initial expectation of $80.8 million in revenues would actually result in $51.2 million, due to a $29.6 million revenue loss from the annexations of L'Auberge Casino, the Mall of Louisiana, and other properties into the city of Baton Rouge. That would put the city's projected $20.5 million surplus at a $9 million deficit, according to the firm.
The firm concluded the St. George government would need to raise property taxes by 20.5 mills in order to cover the budget and pay for the construction of a new school. For a $350,000 home the firm's report said that would increase their property taxes by $720 per year, after a homestead exemption.
St. George supporters criticized the annexations as attempts by Baton Rouge leaders to scuttle the proposed city. The Registrar of Voters is working to certify signatures collected to put the St. George proposal on the spring ballot.
You can view the accounting firm's report by clicking here.