Posted: Feb 7, 2013 6:10 PM by Adrian Pittman
Updated: Feb 7, 2013 7:09 PM
WATSON - A citizens group is pushing to make Watson a city.
"We have great schools, we have low crime rates, we have a model community that cares about each other," said Gene Baker with Neighbors in Action.
If successful Watson will become the largest city in Livingston Parish, and it is already the fastest-growing area in the parish. Neighbors in Action organized more than a year ago to help make that happen.
"We're a very dense, populated area. We have 22,000 people in the geographical area," said Baker.
This is the second time the community has tried to establish itself as a city.
"A parish-wide government is not going to totally represent this area as it's changed with all the growth we've had," Baker said.
If incorporated, Watson would have to have a mayor, police chief and aldermen. Their salaries would be paid for through franchise fees negotiated with utility companies. Neighbors In Action estimated it would raise between $650,000 to $700,000.
The community of Central in East Baton Rouge Parish collects fees in this way.
"We dedicate that in a special revenue fund that goes towards capitol improvement projects such as roads, streets, and drainage," said Central chief administrator, David Barrow.
As much as Watson is growing now, Baker said a lot more is riding on this incorporation.
"The growth is going to bring the businesses and so it's much easier for them to justify coming into an incorporated area that an unincorporated area," Baker said.