Election Day is October 12 - Early Vote Begins September 28
Get the facts about St. George
Why do we need a newly incorporated city?

We do not need a new city. Some residents of St. George want a new city in order to get a new school district. Breaking up the parish in further chunks will only harm all residents and will cause taxes to go up within the City of St. George to pay for services and the proposed new schools. Adding layers of government and bureaucracy doesn’t make things more efficient, in fact it’s quite the opposite.

Why didn’t Baton Rouge annex in the unincorporated area?

That’s not how annexations work. Annexation requests must come from the property owners. Any property owner adjacent to current city limits can request to be annexed in. The request for annexation must be submitted to the Metro Council. Several business owners, including Lauberge, Mall of Louisiana, Costco, Celtic Studios, Siegen Lane Marketplace, and residential neighborhood Legacy Court, have all successfully annexed into city limits.

Why shouldn’t we have a new city?

We already have Baker, Central and Zachary. The City of St. George is 8 times the original size of Central. It is a massive land mass and citizenship cannot be compared to Baker and Zachary that have been in existence for decades, before the parish moved to a City-Parish consolidated form of government.

If St. George becomes a city, do I stop paying for parish-wide taxes like BREC and the Library?

NO. There are no taxes that would be removed from the rolls for the city of St. George residents should the city become a reality. BREC, Library Tax, CATS, and Council on Aging will all still be collected and due by residents. No taxes will come off of resident’s rolls.

Who gets to vote?

Only voters within the new boundaries drawn by the organizers of St. George get to vote on October 12.

What are the differences in the old map vs new map?

The organizers of St. George are able to define the boundaries of their proposed city. Every boundary was specifically designed and chosen by St. George organizers. The new map in 2019 is dramatically different from the previous map in 2015, specifically eliminating dozens of apartment complexes previously included. They’ve reduced their population by tens of thousands of people since 2015.

What’s the racial makeup of the proposed city?

The current voter registration statistics show a racial demography of 12.5% African American and 77.5% white/other. In 2015, the percentage of African American registered voters was 20%. In 2019, the new proposed city is only 12% African American after St. George organizers eliminated those voters in the new drawing of their city map.

I’m against St. George, how can I help?

You can go to onebtr.com or nocityofstgeorge.com and fill out the contact form. You can let your neighbors know about the election and remind them to go vote on October 12.

I’m tired of paying taxes for services I don’t use.

Parish-wide tax dollars are used to enhance the quality of life for every citizen in the parish and this means some dollars go to downtown development, creating new roads in Southeast Baton Rouge, or addressing drainage issues in North Baton Rouge that affect residents in South Baton Rouge. If you use the airport in Baton Rouge parish tax dollars go to pay for roads and infrastructure in that area so everyone in the parish benefits from the economic development this brings to the parish. Having a new city of a large area and residents will pit city versus city and no resident will win that battle.

The St. George organizers have created a budget. Isn’t that enough?

No. Simply creating a budget doesn’t mean it is viable. The organizers of St. George have not requested real tax data from the City-Parish in the creation of their budget. Their budget does not stand up to comparisons to other cities of like size anywhere in Louisiana or in the South. To simply say or state a city can perform services at a small cost does not actually make it true. The budget numbers presented by St. George will not stand up to reality and will produce a deficit and require higher taxes to fulfill.

How did they come up with their budget?

They’ve stated that the population of St. George is 19% of EBRP, so they’ve taken the EBRP budget and taken 19% of certain line items from the city-parish budget. They’ve not included money for a police department or for a school district.

Didn’t the St. George area flood? They say they’re going to fix the drainage problems.

A vast majority of flood victims from the 2016 flooding live in the proposed breakaway area. “St. George” occupies lower elevations in the parish. Therefore, costs of drainage and flood control are likely to be greater than in the higher elevations. St. George’s budget for public works is based on its approximate percentage of the population of the parish as a whole (19%). Given the topography of the “St. George” area, that is unrealistic. Moreover, flood control requires regional authority, and the multiplication of governmental bodies works against this.

Their budget lists a chart of other cities paying much less for the same services so why would my taxes go up?

The chart in their budget is factually inaccurate. The cities listed in their chart all have their budgets publicly available online. While St. George’s budget inaccurately states the average per capita of those 8 cities is only $463, the actual city data shows the per capita to be an average of over $1,600. St. George claims they will only have a per capita of $394, despite no city of their size runs on such a low per capita.

City-Parish government is bloated and inefficient. Why wouldn’t I support more localized government that I have more control of?

Adding additional levels of government–like a new city or a new school district–will actually decrease efficiency and detrimentally affect the entire parish by pitting city against city and duplicating services already being provided. At no time does additional bureaucracy increase efficiency, and less efficient processes will cost citizens more.

What’s the real reason for St. George?

St. George organizers originally attempted to form a new school district at the legislature, and failed to do so twice in 2012 and 2013. They then tried to form a new city, and they failed to collect enough signatures to do so in June of 2015. They are back at a second attempt to form a new city, they say as an avenue to form a school district. By dramatically changing the boundaries of their new map, they were able to collect signatures easier and have made it to an election. The formation of a new school district will always require a return to the legislature and it must then go to a state-wide vote. That vote must pass both at the state level and in East Baton Rouge Parish. Additionally, a new school system must be paid for by raising taxes.

Why is there a land grab that connects into the City of Central?

The new City of St. George proposed boundaries now connect through a strip of land to Central City. There has been no reason given for this by organizers other than a comment which suggested they would be sharing some services or could share some future services.

I don’t mind paying higher taxes if it means I don’t have to pay for private schools.

And you will pay higher taxes for a new school district in St. George. Central added a 2% sales tax and a 38.5 mill property tax to fund their schools in 2007. The additional issue is lack of “seats” in schools currently in St. George to accommodate students in St. George. There are simply not enough seats or space at the current schools to accommodate all students. Without question, however, is that taxes will be raised to fund the new school district and to pay for services St. George will have to provide citizens.

Can a new school district be created without raising my taxes?

No. Technically, a new school district can be created but it cannot be fully funded without funding and new taxes just like Central did in 2007. As stated above, there will have to be an agreement between the EBR school system who owns the schools and the new district. Like Central, the new school district will have to be funded with new taxes to pay for the operation.

When would 3,000 students be displaced if St. George is incorporated?

The actual number is closer to 3,800 and this would not occur unless and until a new school system was created – something that the organizers of St. George have stated is their main and ultimate goal. The organizers have not disclosed their plans or timetable or how high taxes would have to be raised to fund the new school system.

How many schools are there in “St. George”? How many students can they house?

There are 6 schools in the proposed area: Jefferson Terrace Elementary, Shenandoah Elementary, Westminster Elementary, Woodland Elementary, Woodlawn Middle, and Woodland High. Currently, all students in the proposed area can go to any school within the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. If St. George were to get their own district, no student living in St. George could attend any school outside of St. George. Thousands of students and families would be immediately displaced from their chosen schools and could only attend one of these six schools.

How many schools do they need to build? What will that cost?

Approximately 1,300 students currently attend the six schools listed above. If St. George were to get their own school district, an additional 2,400 students would be forcibly removed from their schools in EBRPSS and must attend schools in “St. George”. There are not enough seats in these 6 schools to house those additional students. It’s approximated that at least 6 new schools will need to be built, which can only be paid for with increased taxes.

Can my child still go to their magnet school in Baton Rouge if I live in St. George?

No. If St. George gets their own school district, students living in that district must attend schools in that district. That means 2,400 students would be forcibly removed from their schools (including gifted, magnet, talented, special services) in Baton Rouge and must attend schools in “St. George”.

Why isn’t the mayor-president speaking out against St. George? What is her position on it?

The Mayor-President has spoken out from the beginning with her opposition to the incorporation including speaking publicly and testifying at the State Legislature in opposition and appearing at multiple public venues. The Mayor-President opposes the incorporation because she understands the negative impact it will have on all citizens in East Baton Rouge Parish – citizens which she represents.

Weren’t the LSU professors who conducted an “independent” study paid for by One Baton Rouge?

The LSU professors conducted an independent study that was paid for by the non-profit group One Baton Rouge. This study was not altered nor were the findings discussed beforehand and Dr. James Richardson is a highly recognized and honored economist.

How many public meetings have been held by the St. George organizers in order to educate citizens about their plan?

Because they do not share their agenda with us this is hard to compute. However, there has been only 1 meeting in the past year to discuss their plans. When a public debate was scheduled to be hosted by the Greater Baton Rouge Federation of Civic Associations, the organizers of St. George backed out of their appearance.

What changes on 10/13 if they pass?

If the City of St. George receives 50% of the vote on October 12, the Governor will appoint a government of a Mayor and council. This new appointed body will call an election within 6 months to have voters choose their new Mayor and Council.

How long will it take to be a new city if it passes?

Basically, immediately they will become a new city. However, negotiations about property, services and taxes will have to be worked out between the City Parish and the new City of St. George and this could take years.

How will it affect the rest of the city-parish?

The mayor has asked departments to prepare for a 20% budget reduction, causing massive cuts to vital city services parish-wide.

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