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St. George Aldermen speak to public for first time Tuesday

5 days 23 hours 9 minutes ago Tuesday, June 11 2024 Jun 11, 2024 June 11, 2024 7:18 PM June 11, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

ST. GEORGE - Three new St. George Aldermen spoke to a room full of their would-be citizens Tuesday, making it clear that they have a blank slate to work with as the city develops. 

"We're at the beginning stages. In a track meet, the starting gun is about to go off and we're about to get running. We're excited about that and we're super-excited about getting to work," St. George Alderman At-Large Richie Edmonds said.

Five years after voters adopted a plan put forth by an incorporation petition, the new council says they plan on holding its first meeting either next week or within the next few weeks. The meeting will be at the St. George Fire Department.

At these meetings, the Aldermen will be tasked with forming their own government. Just some of their work in the next few weeks includes adopting policies, procedures, rules and regulations on how the city will function.

St. George leaders say it's going to take a large amount of work over the next couple of months as they get everything ready, but are confident in their ability to build a functioning city with the goal of keeping and bringing more people to East Baton Rouge Parish. 

"Now that we're able to create our city and move forward, I think that some of the dreams, and some of the things that are, really like our founders have pushed this petition through we can really see fit. So I mean I think we have a great opportunity to have a wonderful city," Edmonds says.

Despite all this, some in Baton Rouge argue that St. George is still not a city. Even though the Louisiana Supreme Court voted in favor of incorporating the city in April, the legal battle is still not finalized.

Baton Rouge Mayor Pro-Tem Lamont Cole filed a request for a rehearing last month. One of his attorney's, Mary Olive Pierson, spoke to WBRZ and said St. George should not be moving forward with the city's plans until the legal battle is finished. 

"It's on an application for rehearing. The judgment is not final. I don't know how many times I got to say that?" Pierson said.

The rehearing request argues that the Supreme Court didn't determine the official date of incorporation or city boundaries for the city, which are required by state law.

"If they spend one penny of taxpayer dollars on the salaries for those people that they've now sworn in to a non-existent city, they run the risk of going to jail." Pierson said.

St. George leaders argue this stance, saying that the city's incorporation date was laid out with the boundaries in the petition that was ratified by voters in 2019.

The Louisiana Supreme Court has not yet said if it will hold a new hearing.

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