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Crunching the numbers on proposed EBR city's budget

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BATON ROUGE - Organizers of the proposed City of St. George said taxpayers living within the boundaries account for 2/3 of the East Baton Rouge Parish tax base yet receive only 1/3 of the benefits.

Multiple petitions are circulating to incorporate the south eastern part of the parish

Organizers estimate 18 thousand signatures are needed to get on a ballot. If all signatures are verified, those living in the proposed boundaries would vote on becoming a new city.

Dustin Yates, a chairperson for the incorporation, said taxes would not have to go up unless those living in the proposed boundaries vote to do so.

"This area is more than capable of being self sustaining and could continue to fund its share of East Baton Rouge Parish," Yates said. 

Yates explained the plan is not to leave the parish or breakaway from the city of Baton Rouge (the proposed area isn't in the city limits), it's to create a new city. 

"The proposed city of St. George produces the lion share of all of the money generated in the unincorporated portion of the parish," Yates explained. 

A dozen entities within city-parish government are funded exclusively by taxpayers and businesses within the St. George proposed boundaries, Yates said.

The Local Services Agreement in the 2013 city-parish budget spells out which organizations are paid for by either the city or the parish funds.

For example, Baton Rouge city taxpayers foot 100 percent of the bill for CATS, Baton Rouge Police and Baton Rouge Fire while those living in the unincorporated area of the parish pay for things like the District Attorney's Office, District, Family and Juvenile Court.

City and parish taxes pay for most of the budget entities in a 60/40 agreement.

Yates said if St. George were to become its own city, it would continue to pay for parish programs.

"We know that the revenue stream is here, and we have the full intention of being a viable financial partner in East Baton Rouge Parish. That means keeping all of these constitutional offices whole," Yates said.

 

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