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BRAC board opposes formation of City of St. George

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BATON ROUGE- The Baton Rouge Area Chamber board of directors has decided to oppose the formation of the City of St. George.

In a news release, BRAC spokeswoman Kelly Bienn said the board evaluated the new proposal for a city covering much of the unincorporated area of southern East Baton Rouge Parish completely separately from its previous analysis of the 2015 effort that had different boundaries.

"However, BRAC has determined that all of the concerns spurred by the original proposal remain in the 2018 version of St. George," Bienn said in the release.

The board "determined that the proposed city's negatives outweigh any positives," the release said.

A spokesperson for the St. George incorporation effort did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

BRAC's board said members understand why potential St. George residents are frustrated about education and government spending.

However, what BRAC cites as a $20 million error in St. George proposers estimate of $53.4 million in sales tax revenue, "calls into question the reliability of the budget plan prepared for the incorporation," the release said.

For any policies it considers, BRAC evaluates through a frame of impact on economic development, and the region’s and parish’s business climate, according to a release.

During the first St. George incorporation effort, BRAC raised concerns about the city-parish and the school district losing critical tax revenue, which could damage not only the schools, but also the police and fire departments and the agencies that handle public works, the release said.

BRAC also pointed out that the St. George effort appears to involve some of the parish's wealthier residents walling themselves off from the city-parish. The median household income for the parish is $49,188. The median household income for St. George would be $88,061.


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