Withdraws, elections slow down St. George petition
BATON ROUGE - The Registrar of Voters said they won't be able to finish work verifying and finalizing signatures on a petition to form a new city in the south part of East Baton Rouge Parish for at least another week.
The office said this weekend's election required their attention, and a recent push among some residents to withdraw their signatures delayed their work.
The petition to form a new city named St. George has been sitting in the EBR Registrar's office since October as voting officials comb through its roughly 18,000 signatures. March's election will be the fourth that has passed since the petition was submitted. The registrar originally estimated in October it would take a month to go through all the signatures.
Supporters of the movement said they're pushing for a separate city from the city-parish so they can build a better school district for children in that area, following the example of Central, Zachary, and Baker. Critics say the new city would require property taxes to rise in order to cover its costs, especially after several high-value properties were annexed into the city of Baton Rouge.
The registrar said they anticipate finalizing work on the petition next week. They recently estimated around 17 percent of the signatures would be disqualified, and the petition needs 17,746 signatures in order to make it onto a future ballot. If the count falls short, organizers of the petition will have 60 days to come up with the rest.