Celtic, Costco Were Never Within City of St. George
Metro Councilman John Delgado and some Baton Rouge media outlets have been pushing the story that businesses in the unincorporated areas of the parish are lining up to be annexed into the City of Baton Rouge.
The message is that business is unhappy with being part of the proposed City of St. George and is voting with their feet. The problem is, it simply hasn’happened! There have actually been no major annexations to the City of Baton Rouge since the St. George incorporation movement began.
The only exceptions were the recent annexations of Celtic Studios and Costco. But those had nothing whatsoever to do with St. George and in fact were never within the boundaries of the proposed City of St. George. The annexations of Celtic and Costco have been in the works for years. Part of Celtic is inside the city limits and part of it is outside. The company has wanted to be entirely in the City of Baton Rouge.
Because the organizers of St. George knew the annexation was already in the works, the proposed boundaries of St. George excluded Celtic.
Similarly, Costco has a Tax Incremental Financing deal with the City of Baton Rouge and it has always been destined to be inside the city limits. Therefore, the boundaries of the proposed City of St. George also excluded Costco.
One of the factors any business would have to consider before being annexed is whether they would pay more taxes by being inside the city limits of Baton Rouge.
In general, property taxes in the unincorporated areas of the parish are lower than in the City of Baton Rouge, at least in part because of the 10.6-mill CATS property tax.
Annexation can be a slow process, because all annexations have to be adjacent to the city limits.
For example, if the Mall of Louisiana desired to be annexed into Baton Rouge, it could only do so if Baton Rouge General Hospital also desired to be annexed, because the Mall does not border on the city. However, if the hospital were annexed, the Mall would then be adjacent to the city.
Certain unincorporated areas of South Baton Rouge cannot be part of St. George because they are surrounded by the City of Baton Rouge
and not adjacent to St. George.