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The two big issues for the May 8 Council Meeting were Costco and the dog tethering ordinance.
For Costco to come to Baton Rouge the City-Parish had to make improvements to Airline Highway and to help with the cost of the demolition of the old Coca Cola building. The estimated cost to the City-Parish was just under $8 million dollars.
What is unique about this deal is that Costco is going to lend the needed funds to the City-Parish, which will be repaid by future sales tax receipts. The loan will be paid for in about 4 years, and once it is paid back the City-Parish will receive 100% of their portion of the sales tax.
I typically do not like this type of economic development deal, but this case is a little different. The City-Parish is not out any money – Costco is fronting 100% of the funds – and if Costco closes its doors and leaves Baton Rouge the loan is forgiven.
Costco will bring over 200 new good jobs to Baton Rouge at an average salary of over $20.00 hour with full benefits.
If Baton Rouge did not make this deal with Costco, Livingston or Ascension would, which would take sales tax away from Baton Rouge just like Bass Pro and Cabela’s.
I truly believe that Baton Rouge is going to benefit with Costco in our city.
Dog Tethering was deferred for 60 days. This is a very emotional issue and hopefully we will be able to form a committee representing all of the various groups, including the LSU vet school, and come up with a proposal with which all can agree.
One side note at the May 8 meeting - the Council paid out $466,182 for automobile accidents. This is why I introduced an ordinance requiring all city employees who drive a city car to take a defensive driving class. I am trying to save the tax payers money and make the roads safer.
Thank you all of your emails and phone calls.
My goal is to make sure that you stay informed with what’s going on in local government. To that end, here are the highlights from last night’s Metro Council meeting:
The more controversial items such as limiting police cars to East Baton Rouge Parish and changing the way that airport commissioners are selected was deferred or dropped from the agenda.
Former Mayor Pro Tem Mike Walker was honored for his 12 years of service on the Metro Council and four years of leadership as Pro Tem. His portrait will join other portraits of former Mayor Pro Tems on the wall of the Council Chambers.
The big item on the agenda was approving the IBM agreement. I struggled on this vote, because I am fundamentally opposed to offering incentives to businesses to come to our city.
The City-Parish is contributing $4.5 million dollars over the next three years for IBM to come to Baton Rouge. IBM is promising to hire 800 new jobs in Baton Rouge. If IBM does not meet these goals they would have to pay the money back to the City-Parish.
I voted YES for this agreement because (1) the promise of 800 jobs and (2) IBM is already in Baton Rouge recruiting. In the very near future, IBM will be the largest private employer in our City-Parish. I am excited by all of the possible small business spinoffs we could see as a result of Big Blue coming to Baton Rouge.
I feel that with IBM coming into our community we will all be winners.
Join with me welcoming Big Blue to Baton Rouge – maybe one day they will change their colors to purple and gold!
As an avid cyclist, I was excited to take part in Baton Rouge’s “Bike to Work Week” by riding to the Metro Council meeting yesterday. I had some help from Bruce Wickert, a Baton Rouge Bike Club board member, who made the 40 mile round trip with me. Take a look at some of the pictures below.
Recently, I hosted my first annual golf tournament at the Oaks at Sherwood. The weather was absolutely perfect, and we had a great turnout.
I’ve included some pictures from the tournament below. Many thanks to my good friend Layne McDaniel and his team at the Oaks at Sherwood for all of the work they did to make the event a success. And congratulations to the winning teams!
I am humbled and very thankful to the people of District 8 for their vote of confidence in me to allow me to serve as their Council Person.
District 8 has a rich tradition of great leadership with leaders such as Linda Imes, Mike Futrell and Mike Walker. With the help of God, and the voters of District 8 I will strive to follow in that great tradition of leadership to serve the citizens of District 8 and of our Parish.
I would like to thank my family for the sacrifices they have made so that I could run for public office and the sacrifices they will be making. I would also like to thank all of my friends, supporters and all who have helped me to make this victory possible and Mike Walker for believing in me and endorsing me.
I would ask the voters of District 8 and my family and friends to pray for me that I might be the best possible Metro Council member that I can be.
Again thank you!
Baton Rouge is a beautiful city with great people. I enjoy riding my bike in the downtown area on the weekends, visiting the farmer’s market, and riding down the river levy bike path.
Today I had to go to the East Baton Rouge Governmental Building to take care of business. After reading the article in The Advocate where it was reported that Councilman Mike Walker wants to privatize the Baton Rouge Parking garage because it is dirty and dingy, I tried to look at the entire governmental complex as if it was the first time I had visited our city.
By the time I got out of my car and reached the elevator all objectivity was gone and the only adjective to describe the parking garage and governmental complex that came to my mind was “gross.”
Before Baton Rouge can be the next great city it must be a clean city. To clean up Baton Rouge it will take the efforts og government and private citizens determined that we want a clean city. “Don’t Mess Baton Rouge” – throw away your litter and cigarette butts!