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Annex St. George?

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BATON ROUGE - There is talk of annexing the area planned to be the City of St. George, an area of the parish being discussed for possible incorporation after a break-away school district push failed.

"Everybody in the core of Baton Rouge should be screaming 'wait a minute,'" East Baton Rouge Metro Councilwoman Denise Marcelle said.

Her district is not in the proposed city, but believes if St. George does form it would put Baton Rouge at a financial crossroads.

"I don't think it would be a good thing," she said. "I think it would significantly diminish our tax base."

She's wants Baton Rouge to annex the St. George area before incorporation could take away the city-parish's tax revenue.

"I don't think we need to be picking things apart; I think we need to be bringing things together," Marcelle said.

"I think any effort to annex would seem as a money grab by the city-parish," St. George incorporation leader Dustin Yates said.

He feels this discussion of annexation is a move by the city-parish to protect its own self-interest.

Mayor-President Kip Holden told News 2 the incorporation of St. George "will be a failed movement" in a previous interview.

"Why would the mayor come out and say that this is a failed movement by a group of disillusioned residents when there next outward action is apparently the thought of trying to annex unincorporated parts of the city parish?" he asked.

To annex unincorporated areas, 50 percent of parish residents in the specific unincorporated must petition the council to do so. Yates does not think that will happen.

"I don't know why businessmen would agree to be in the City of Baton Rouge when it's going to cost them more money," Yates said.

But St. George needs to be annexed as well as other incorporated areas, Marcelle said.

"Let's look at annexing not only that portion of the city but other portions where there are pockets that really don't make sense," she said.

Incorporation supporters must collect more than 18,000 signatures for residents to vote whether they want to create a new city.

So far, they have collected a little more than 3,000 signatures.



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