Three days after filing paperwork to launch a petition drive to create a separate city of St. George and independent school district in an unincorporated portion of southeast East Baton Rouge Parish, organizers of the effort have released a budget and accompanying CPA report showing the new city would operate with a surplus in its first year and wouldn’t result in higher taxes for residents of the area.
According to the budget, prepared by Metairie CPA firm Carr, Riggs & Ingram, the city of St. George would have a nearly $25 million operating surplus in its first year—the difference between its $58.4 million in revenues and $34 million in expenses.
“No new taxes needed,” St. George organizers posted on the group’s Facebook page today. “The city of St. George would operate with a surplus and would not have to raise taxes.”
The bulk of St. George’s $58.4 million in revenues—$53.3 million—would come from sales taxes. The rest would come from occupational licenses taxes, gross receipts business taxes and other business taxes, and licenses and permits.
The nearly $34 million in expenditures would cover the cost of services either provided by the new city government, East Baton Rouge Parish government under a contractual agreement, or a private, third party firm.
Significantly, the report estimates the financial impact of St. George on the East Baton Rouge Parish general fund to be some $29 million less than has been previously estimated by the city-parish.
“The impact to the general fund would be manageable and not catastrophic, despite comments made by the mayor’s office,” St. George organizers say on their Facebook page.
The group has declined to make public comments but is communicating, instead, via social media posts.
The proposed city of St. George has a smaller footprint than the originally proposed city, with fewer residents and 25 square miles less area. Its proposed budget is also more than $22 million less than the proposed budget in 2014.