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St. George Transition District requests sales taxes from City-Parish after swearing in ceremony

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ST. GEORGE - In a packed room, five people were sworn into the St. George Transition District on Monday night. 

After the swearing in, the board proposed a money-making measure for city. The newly sworn in transition district members voted and approved a request to transfer revenue raised under a 2 percent sales tax from East Baton Rouge Parish to St. George.

The new leaders, Chairman Andrew Murrell, Vice Chairman Norman Browning, Treasurer Chris Rials, Secretary William Potter and Jim Talbot were selected for the district.  were sworn in, and later some were nominated and accepted positions on the board.

“We may be the fifth-largest city in Louisiana, but moving forward, we’re going to be the best city in Louisiana,” Vice Chairman Norman Browning said.

The transition districts first order of business was requesting a sales tax transfer from business that were in East Baton Rouge Parish but are now in St. George. Treasurer Chris Rials says once the transfer happens, the St. George economy will be able to grow. He emphasized the tax is not a new charge for those living in the municipality.

“We need to start getting some revenue for our new city,” Rials said. “It allows the taxing district to collect the 2 cents sales tax and not let it expire, until it’s actually voted on by the people in the next election.”

If East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council approves the transfer, St. George could end up with about $50 million in sales tax over the course of a year.

Metro Council member Dwight Hudson says the transfer is likely. Hudson says the majority of his district is in St. George. He says if passed, the City-Parish could lose revenue, but could also pay less for services overall.

”It will certainly have an impact on City-Parish fisc, but at the end of the day folks have to remember we have vacancies at the City-Parish that have been unfilled for years,” Hudson said. “Some of these cuts will be absorbed through that.”

It’s also unclear when EBR Metro Council will take up the measure.

Next March St. George voters will get to vote on renewing or changing the sales tax and decide on mayor and councilmembers.

The set date for district meetings has not been set, but the board is expected to vote on a city seal next.

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