St. George signature count ramping up
BATON ROUGE - The Registrar of Voters said Monday they're still working to tally up the thousands of signatures submitted for a petition to create the city of St. George in East Baton Rouge Parish.
A spokesperson said there are more than a dozen staff now working to validate the roughly 18,000 signatures turned in to put the issue up for a vote. They said they're hoping to get faster as the days go on.
The petition was submitted by St. George supporters in October, which was too late to make it onto the November ballot. Due to runoff elections the registrar said they were unable to start certifying the petition until Dec. 17, and that it could take about a month to complete.
St. George supporters seek to create a new city in the southeastern part of East Baton Rouge Parish. The proposed boundaries would stretch from the southwest corner of the parish east and up into the Shenandoah area between I-10 and I-12. Supporters said their motivation is to create a better school system for families living in the area, while critics say doing so would greatly harm the parish school district.
A number of business and property owners within the proposed boundaries have annexed their land into Baton Rouge since the St. George movement began, including Lauberge Casino and land around the Mall of Louisiana. A recent study also found the proposed city's budget would take a nearly $30 million hit from losing those revenue generators, and may have to hike property taxes to make up the difference.
St. George supporters criticized those annexations as political ploys by Baton Rouge city leadership meant to derail their efforts.