The Baton Rouge Metro Council has approved the annexation of Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, Baton Rouge General Hospital, and the Mall of Louisiana.
To get the issue on the November ballot, supporters have been gathering signatures on a petition to incorporate the city of St. George ahead of a July deadline.
The boundary lines for the would-be city will now have to be redrawn. It’s not yet clear whether that will invalidate the petition.
Nonetheless, at the hearing Wednesday, St. George supporters like Carolyn Watson called the timing of the annexations suspect.
“If the petition is thrown out, and we have to start again, what businesses are you going to go after next to stop us again? It would be a never-ending battle," Watson told the Metro Council.
The St. George effort came in the wake of failed attempts to form an independent school district in southeast Baton Rouge. But opponent William Sanner said the annexation of the hospitals and the mall, which is a key tax generator for the parish, is a business decision.
“I am for annexation to help reduce the likelihood of bankruptcy of the city of Baton Rouge in the future. If the city of Baton Rouge goes bankrupt, the home values will decrease, the crime will increase," Sanner said.
The Metro Council approved the annexations on a 9 to 3 vote.