With next court date looming, St. George leaders working on framework for new city
BATON ROUGE - In the three months since Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and three citizens filed a lawsuit challenging the incorporation of St. George, leaders of the proposed city are attempting to get the ball rolling.
"Meeting with some stakeholders and different groups that may have an interest in helping us move forward with St. George," spokesman Andrew Murrell said. "Whether it be from a services standpoint or more or less what ideas do they have to make our community better."
Murrell says a framework is coming together slowly but surely and some key topics relevant to forming a new city are being addressed.
"It could be anything as simple as permitting," Murrell said. "A better way to permit than we do currently in Baton Rouge. Basic ideas about how they want the city to run. Ideas about zoning. Ideas about drainage. This is everything from civic groups, to groups we'd speak to on a regular basis to a concerned citizen who just emails or calls and wants to talk about it."
But while the legal battle is ongoing, there are some things St. George leaders can't start.
"From an obvious standpoint, we haven't put out bids and contract out for services," Murrell said. "We don't have authorization to do that kind of thing."
St. George proponents are hoping to have the lawsuit, filed against organizers Chris Rials and Norman Browning, thrown out at the Feb. 24 hearing. On the city's Facebook page Thursday, supporters were encouraged to show up to court.
"We want the court and we want the city-parish to understand that those two individuals are not the reason St. George got created," Murrell said. "They are a large part of creating the effort, but the city of St. George was created by the citizens of St. George. A lot of citizens in St. George."
In a phone call Thursday, Mary Olive Pierson, the lead attorney for Broome and the three citizens that originally filed the lawsuit, told WBRZ she believes St. George's exceptions will be denied and the case will move on towards trial.
The mayor's office referred any questions regarding the lawsuit to Pierson.
The next hearing is set for Feb. 24 at 11 a.m. before Judge William Morvant at the 19 Judicial District courthouse.