Riverbend Subdivision voters to decide on crime prevention fees _lowres

 

Some residents across Baton Rouge have opted to institute a mandatory fee for an off-duty sheriff’s deputy to patrol their neighborhoods, and Riverbend Subdivision may vote to do the same Nov. 21.

While Riverbend Subdivision Homeowners’ Association has tried to pay for patrolling through voluntary dues, the funds collected have not been enough for additional security measures.

Now, the president of the association says creating a crime prevention district to collect a mandatory tax from Riverbend residents is the last resort.

Adrienne Bowser said the crime prevention district would protect the neighborhood from rising crime nearby in Tigerland, a popular strip of bars near LSU.

Bowser said the neighborhood can only afford a patrol officer for nine hours per month right now.

Bowser said members of the association want more security, but they don’t want to foot the bill alone.

“Members were getting very tired of paying for amenities that others are taking advantage of,” Bowser said. “This is the only way we could get the whole subdivision on board. It’s very scary living right next to Tigerland, and you hear about all the things going on. Naturally, it will spill over, and by the time it spills over, it’s too late. It’s a reaction to the unknown.”

Riverbend consists of 474 lots, including 472 houses, and the initial fee would run $150 a year per lot, Bowser said. The initial collection is expected to pull in $71,400, according to the proposition.

The majority of the funds will go toward security, she said, including paying an off-duty sheriff’s deputy to patrol more often and possibly buying cameras. The fees will also cover beautification costs such as grass-cutting, maintaining street lights and giving the neighborhood’s front entrance a face lift.

“It was a very exclusive neighborhood, very close to downtown, and close to LSU. A lot of our people are state workers, coaches and your professors at LSU, so we’ve got an array of people,” Bowser said.

“We’re just making sure we can keep that status up.”

The district will be managed by a seven-member board of four residents nominated by local legislators including the senator and the district representative. The remaining will be filled by Homeowners’ Association members or residents they appoint. All those running the district must reside in the subdivision.

Bowser said Riverbend Lakes, a nearby subdivision, showed interest in joining if the district has a successful test run, but at this point the district will only include Riverbend Subdivision.

Follow Danielle Maddox Kinchen on Twitter, @Dani_Maddox4.