Baton Rouge Is Broke

September 28, 2008

In a recent meeting of the Sewer Oversight Committee, the head accountant for the City of Baton Rouge, Mark LeBlanc, was questioned by members of the committee. Metro Councilman Wayne Carter chaired the meeting and Dr. Dan Kyle, who has a degree in accounting and business administration, led the questioning. The meeting was taped so there could be no misunderstanding. Mr. LeBlanc said the city would not be able to meet our financial obligations required by the federal mandate, which states that East Baton Rouge Parish must have its sewer system in compliance by 2014. The means each household in East Baton Rouge Parish will be paying an average of $1050.00 a year. Dr. Kyle asked if the city is broke. LeBlanc said, “Yes, we can’t meet our financial obligations.”

Still Stuck In Traffic

Cars to the left of me, cars to the right, and here I am stuck in the middle with you. Does this remind you of an oldie, but a goodie? At election time, politicians tell us they are going to fix the traffic problem; this is another oldie but, not a goodie. The greater Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce reported the cost of living in Baton Rouge ranks among the highest in the nation. I’ll bet most of this cost is for gas while you’re sitting in traffic. Statistics show young educated citizens are leaving East Baton Rouge Parish. Maybe they are leaving because they are well educated. So what has been done about traffic over the past four years? A new road was built through the middle of your wallet. The budget has increased from $500 million to over $700 million. Garbage fees, sewer user and impact fees, building permits, etc. have increased.

I almost forgot, only 18% of the voters participated in a special election and passed 690 million in new property taxes on our homes and small businesses. I reviewed the precincts where the tax passed. These precincts were mostly in areas who property is not taxed due to homestead exemption.

Guess what they did with the money? They created a bond issue that will take us thirty years to pay off. They call it the “Green Light Program.” You got it, a road through your wallet with a green light and they are speeding through. They spent millions conducting a study, then a few more million studying the study. They purchased signs that say, “Your tax dollars at work.” The signs are easy to read while you’re sitting by them in traffic. Oh! It finally dawned on me. Thre street overlay is taking place during peak traffic at the busiest intersection in the city and there it is, another sign, “RE-ELECT_____________” I had a weird dream that I dreamed they were working on the roads at night while we were sleeping. It was a good dream.


In November, we get to vote on whether or not we want to raise our property and sales taxes again. Some areas of East Baton Rouge Parish could be paying 10.5$ sales tax. Isn’t that exciting? But this time the price tag will be one billion dollars. There has been a reincarnation; Pat Screen and Monsour are back. They want to spend 300 million of taxpayer’s money to build another Catfish Town. Private Investors won’t touch it because the definition of stupidity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. They are telling us this time it will be different. They are going to put wild animals in as an attration. Is that new? Wild animals is the reason Catfish Town closed the first time. Don’t they read their own statistics? Crime is out of control. They have tried to combat crime, they hired six new police officers and they work as private body guards for Mayor Holden, costing over $1 million with overtime. They are a special unit, “The 10 till 2 am squad.”


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