The state Bond Commission cleared the way Thursday for some Baton Rouge homeowners to vote on proposed property fees.
Voters in Broadmoor and Jefferson Place-Bocage now will vote Nov. 19 on whether to tack mandatory neighborhood dues onto their annual property tax bills to pay for security patrols and other expenses.
The dues would be:
- $100 a year per parcel of property in the Broadmoor neighborhood, located off Airline Highway and Florida Boulevard.
- $500 a year per parcel of property in Jefferson Place-Bocage neighborhood, which is off Jefferson Highway between Corporate Boulevard and Essen Lane.
Crime districts are allowed to levy parcel fees with the approval of neighborhood residents.
Often, the districts are created because few residents are voluntarily paying neighborhood association dues.
The authority to levy the fees must go before at least the State Bond Commission before appearing on the ballot.
Currently, there are eight crime prevention districts in East Baton Rouge Parish.
The State Bond Commission considered the Broadmoor and Jefferson Place-Bocage districts in a batch of more than a dozen election items. The districts were not individually discussed.
Broadmoor Homeowners’ Association President Gary Littlefield said less than 24 percent of the neighborhood’s 20,000 homeowners pay voluntary dues.
He said the dues collected only pay for three hours of security patrols a day. He said he and other neighborhood leaders want to increase the patrols to at least 12 hours a day and install security cameras.
“It’s a big subdivision,” Littlefield said. “It’s literally miles and miles of streets.”
He said the new parcel fee would pay for increased security patrols, zoning enforcement and beautification.
Littlefield said making the fee payment mandatory would allow the neighborhood to buy abandoned or foreclosed property and resell it to eliminate blight.
He said he is aware of only one resident complaining about the proposed fee.
Jefferson Place-Bocage Property Association President Neil Buckingham said his area’s parcel fee would not kick in until 2013.
“Everyone will have to pay,” he said.
Buckingham said at least 75 percent of homeowners currently pay the voluntary $540 annual fee that funds security and other expenses.
He said the goal of the new $500 parcel fee — which would replace the $540 fee — is to create a reliable source of revenue. The proceeds, Buckingham said, would be used to pay for security.
“Like any of the other neighborhoods, there are small things that are going on,” Buckingham said. “Crime is up in the whole area.”
The State Bond Commission also agreed to put a proposed $32 annual service charge on the November ballot for residents in Alsen/St. Irma Lee Fire Protection District No. 9.
The expense is a 10-year renewal of a fee already charged to residents for fire protection.