Council's thoughts on annexation
BATON ROUGE - Metro council members want the attorney general to take a look requests to annex the Mall of Louisiana and Baton Rouge General request before they make their decision.
Also, the council is split on if they even want the annexation to begin with.
Monday, executives at the mall and hospital petitioned to join Baton Rouge city limits because they do not want their facilities in the proposed city of St. George.
Baton Rouge city leaders courted the two businesses after talks about incorporating St. George started.
If the businesses are annexed, it would stop the St. George effort in its tracks because it would change the legal boundaries currently drawn on the petition to form the city.
"No one is getting a sweetheart deal," Metro Councilmen John Delgado said.
According to him, the businesses were not given incentives or tax breaks to join the city.
"The mall, the other properties, they will be paying the same taxes they would otherwise pay in the city of Baton Rouge," Delgado said.
Metro Council will decide the businesses' fate at an upcoming meeting. But, a poll of city leaders found bringing the businesses inside city might not be so easy.
Along with Delgado, members Chauna Banks-Daniel, C. Denise Marcelle and Tara Wicker are for annexing the mall and hospital.
Council members Chandler Loupe, Buddy Amoroso and Joel Boe are against annexing the businesses if it hinders the incorporation of St. George.
Members Trae Welch, Scott Wilson, Donna Collins-Lewis and Ryan Heck are undecided.
Councilwoman Ronnie Edwards could not be reached.
There must be a majority vote to pass the annexation measure, it appears the undecided votes have the power if the mall and hospital will join Baton Rouge.
"It's unfortunate those two big entities interjected themselves in the democratic process," Senator Bodi White said.
White's led the charge for St. George incorporation, and he feels this annexation move was just a way to stop the effort.
The Attorney General's input on the debate may not come back for another month or more, according to Boe. It is very possible the annexation measure could be tabled at the May 14th council meeting and decided at a later date.
The mayor's office could not be reached for comment on this issue.