The St. George incorporation petition currently has “well in excess” of 10,000 signatures, organizers said at Monday’s Press Club of Baton Rouge gathering.
With less than six months left to gather the 13,000 signatures needed to get the proposition on the ballot, Andrew Murrell, attorney and spokesman for the incorporation effort, says those with the campaign will continue to gather names until they exceed the required number.
“When you’re tired of taxes, tired of terrible taxes and tired of high crime, all of a sudden, magically, money shows up,” Murrell says.
If successful, the city would elect a mayor and five-member council. The city government would have five employees: chief of police, treasurer, clerk, attorney and a managing contractor, says Chris Rials, co-chairman of the St. George effort.
The city of some 86,000 residents would be modeled after Sandy Springs, Georgia, which incorporated near Atlanta in 2005 and has an estimated population of more than 100,000. The city uses private-public partnerships for city services.
Murrell and Rials accused the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of not being able to read a spreadsheet and using incorrect numbers when coming up with its projections of sales tax revenues for St. George, which was released last month in opposition of the incorporation effort.
Although insisting the proposed city’s intent is to never raise taxes, officials say a tax hike may be necessary to establish a new school district.