BATON ROUGE, LA — May 8, 2019 — Today, the City-Parish released a study outlining the projected impact of a City of St. George incorporation on the City-Parish’s annual operating budget on the residents outside the City of St. George who are not allowed, by current statute, to vote on the issue. The analysis was prepared by Richard CPAS at the request of the City-Parish Finance Department.
The analysis shows that the estimated annual revenue reduction to the City-Parish’s budget would be $48.3 million, annually.
“This analysis shows the devastating effect an incorporation would have on the remaining residents of the City-Parish who, currently, are not allowed to vote on the issue,” said Mayor Broome. “Given that budgeted amounts for debt service and constitutional mandates cannot be reduced, these numbers reveal that every City-Parish department and agency would need to be cut by a minimum of 18% across the board. If we protect public safety from the cuts – our police and fire fighters – the budgets for all remaining City-Parish departments and agencies would need to be reduced by a minimum of 45%. Residents in and outside of the proposed city need to understand the grave reality of the situation and the impact this will have on services previously provided by the City-Parish.”
Broome cited the dire numbers as one of the reasons she is supportive of Senate Bill 63 by Senator Yvonne Colomb. “I was elected in a parish-wide vote to represent all of the people in this parish,” said Broome. “SB 63 would authorize all qualified voters in East Baton Rouge to vote for a proposed incorporation effort as opposed to only those in the proposed city limits of St. George.”
“I wholeheartedly support this legislation. Each and every resident of East Baton Rouge Parish would be negatively affected by the breakaway and deserve an opportunity to weigh-in on the final decision,” said Broome. “A budget reduction of the magnitude described in the study would equate to cuts to City-Parish services as well as sweeping cuts to all agencies that receive local government support.”
For planning purposes, Broome is requiring all departments and agencies to submit a continuation budget request for the 2020 operating year as well as a budget at 80% of current funding levels. Departments and agencies will be required to outline service impacts associated with the reduced funding level.
“Several essential services are listed in the new petition as items which the new city “may” provide, such as drainage and street maintenance, depending on the ability of funds,” said Broome. “In other words, there is no guarantee to the residents of the proposed St. George area that these services will be provided at all. This means that there will be a 100% cut to those services if the government of St. George decides not to provide them or fails to collect enough tax money to afford them.”
“It is my job to look after all residents of this parish and to protect their interests to the best of my ability. Everything must be examined in light of the whole and without showing favoritism toward one segment of the parish — especially when it involves doing damage to another segment of the parish. The proponents of St. George have steered away from discussing the reality of tax hikes in their district and the devastating impact of tax cuts on the remainder of our parish. I will continue to provide factual data and fight for what I know is best for our community as a whole.”