Metro Council to take up St. George pension debt, two ITEP requests tonight

    It should be a busy night for the Metro Council. In addition to other agenda items tonight, like selecting a new parish attorney and discussing changes to the plan of government, the Council will also consider a proposal that would require St. George to pay off its share of city-parish pension debt should the incorporation effort succeed.

    The retirement system, CPERS, requested the pension debt proposal, which doesn’t outline how much St. George would have to pay, but does say the amount would be determined by CPERS’ actuary—not the newly incorporated city.

    St. George organizers are requesting the council defer the item at tonight’s meeting, says spokesman Andrew Murrell. 

    When a St. George transition district bill was proposed in the Legislature earlier this year, which the governor ultimately vetoed, Murrell notes that Mayor Sharon Weston Broome called the effort “premature,” as the Oct. 12 election has yet to happen.

    “If that was premature, why wouldn’t we call this premature?” he asks. 

    St. George organizers are willing to sit down and work out the pension debt details, Murrell says, but the city-parish has not agreed to meet with them yet. There’s also the possibility the matter will be addressed in the Legislature next year if St. George organizers propose another transition district bill.

    In other news, the Metro Council will also consider and vote on two Industrial Tax Exemption Program requests tonight.

    One of the tax break requests is from the Stupp Corporation for a $22 million upgrade to its two steel pipe manufacturing plants in north Baton Rouge, which, according to its application, will result in 128 new jobs added to its existing 338-person workforce. If approved by the council, Stupp will be eligible for a $2.5 million property tax exemption over 10 years. 

    The other ITEP request is for a $93,126 investment at Mezzo Technologies for new manufacturing equipment to increase efficiency and capacity. The investment will retain the company’s existing 42 jobs and add two new jobs. If approved, Mezzo will be eligible for a total property tax exemption of $13,000 over 10 years. 

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