Posted: May 15, 2014 5:46 PM by Troy Gaulden
Updated: May 15, 2014 6:48 PM
BATON ROUGE - Backers of the proposed city of St. George said Wednesday night's Metro Council meeting motivated them to collect the remaining signatures needed to put the St. George issue to a vote in November.
On Thursday, a handful of people signed the petition at one of seven permanent signing locations. Some, like Metro Councilman John Delgado, question the petition's validity after the annexation of parts of the Mall of Louisiana and other businesses.
"The boundaries, which is one of the legal requirements of any petition for incorporation, the boundaries of that petition are incorrect now, in that they do not include the mall. They do not include any of the areas that were annexed at last night's meeting," he said.
With the loss of the sales tax revenue that comes from parts of the Mall of Louisiana, St. George leaders say they are recalculating finances for the proposed budget. Supporters we spoke with say the petition is right on track, even though Baton Rouge expanded last night.
"I do think the petition will survive, I think it's all the more important now just because of the tactics they've used to try and stop us that we go forward," said Dwight Hudson.
Supporters say more Baton Rouge attempts at annexation will not deter their efforts to incorporate.
"Them continuing to annex things wouldn't surprise me at all. I mean it's sort of par for the course. We've seen from John Delgado to the mayor, but we have to stay focused on what we're doing, and that is making a great community for the people of St. George. So we're going to keep on keeping on," said Hudson.
However, Delgado feels that more businesses will join Baton Rouge as the petition to incorporate St. George continues.
"I think as long as they're trying to collect signatures, more and more businesses and property owners are going to move into the city of Baton Rouge, because they don't want to subject themselves to the uncertainty and risks that are inherent with this St. George experiment. So I see them gathering signatures as a way to bring more businesses into the city of Baton Rouge," he said.
St. George organizers have until mid-July to collect the 18,000 signatures needed for the incorporation to be put to a vote on the November ballot.