Threat of lawsuit caused Freiberg to cast deciding vote on EBR Council on Aging tax
Metro Councilwoman Barbara Freiberg says it was the threat of a lawsuit that caused her to come off the fence at Wednesday’s meeting and cast the deciding vote to levy a dedicated 2.25-mill property tax that voters approved roughly seven months ago.
Freiberg, a Republican representing areas south of LSU, had abstained from several votes on the COA, citing concerns over the agency’s leadership and seemingly endless series of controversies. But after the Parish Attorney Lea Anne Batson warned council members the city-parish could be sued if they delayed levying the tax again, Freiberg cast the seventh ‘yes’ vote required for the measure to pass.
“It was a very very hard vote,” Freiberg says. “When it was confirmed that we would be sued if we didn’t take an action to levy something, and we had three minutes left, I felt that was the route I needed to take.”
Seniors once again packed the council chambers—a recurring tactic of the nonprofit—and delivered impassioned statements in support of COA leadership. Debate over the agency’s tax, contract with the city-parish and planned new headquarters ate up the bulk of the Metro Council meeting, continuing until minutes before the meeting had to end at 8 p.m.