Community meeting

Baton Rouge residents slam new stormwater utility fee proposal at community meeting

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) — A new plan to impose a stormwater fee in East Baton Rouge Parish was met with stiff opposition from residents on Thursday, October 13.

“People don’t appreciate the way they were treated there tonight,” said worried resident Joy Womack.

City and parish officials held the first of several public meetings to discuss and explain the proposed fee.

Congressman Garret Graves criticizes the nondisclosure agreement officials had to sign as part of the proposed stormwater fee for EBR residents.

The Mayor’s Office Stormwater Service Fee Proposal is for all property owners, including business and industry. The goal is to help fund long-term drainage and water quality maintenance strategies. Officials say it will also help the parish town avoid federal enforcement action.

The monthly rate should be $1.36 per billing unit. It will be calculated by the square footage of impervious surfaces, and the first charge will be on your 2023 tax bill.

“Revenues must be sufficient to do the work, and they must be resilient. What do I mean by that? This means that it must be dedicated to work so that it cannot be taken away and used for other purposes, and again we find ourselves stuck with not enough money to do what needs to be done in our parish. “, Kelvin Hill, said the assistant general manager of the EBR.

Part of the meeting was spent explaining the new fees, usage and how much residents can expect to pay.

The rest of the time was spent answering questions from people who said they left the meeting with more questions than answers.

“We are taxed and we feed more and more, to receive less and less,” laments Pennie May Landry, a worried resident.

Dozens of residents criticized the plan, as many called it a “tax” rather than a fee.

“If they said these fees are fixed, they’re fixed for 50 years, people might be a little more open to that, but they wouldn’t be able to answer those questions,” Landry said.

The Metro Council will vote on the measure at a meeting on October 26, but some felt any vote should fall into the hands of taxpayers.

“The voters should be the ones, given that we’re going to be the ones paying the fees, that we should be able to vote on this,” Landry said.

The next meeting will be Monday, October 17 at the Pride-Chaneyville Branch Library at 6:30 p.m. For a complete list of dates and times for other meetings, click here.

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