I have questions about some recent things that have happened in Baton Rouge.

The first concerns the apparent trade of bridge repair funds for the new downtown stage canopy.

The mayor-president said more funds were needed for bridge repair during the push for the most-recent large tax proposition. So bridge repair evidently was something the mayor wanted. Then the mayor apparently wanted the $900,000 stage canopy.

It sounds to me like the mayor negotiated for something he now wants in trade for something he already previously wanted. Not a bad trade for the mayor, in my opinion.

In addition, the original news story I read about this deal indicated that about $1.5 million in general funds would be available for bridge repair. Now it appears to me that we have gotten a dollar-for-dollar trade of $900,000 for bridge repair in exchange for about $900,000 for the stage canopy. What happened to the other $600,000 for bridge repair? Will it be used as another negotiating tool in the future?

By the way, guess whose money is being used in all of this horse-trading? What happened to the issue with the way the contract was awarded and negotiated for the stage canopy?

I also see that the mayor-president has appointed his own handpicked team to implement the new $1.9 million FutureBR plan. In my opinion, a couple of the people in this new group are the same old people who have been wasting tax funds in this parish for a good while.

During this time of recent debate about the BREC and library boards, I think it is ironic (and sad) that a new team (board, commission?) will be appointed just by the mayor. In addition, I understand another possibly high-paid employee will be hired to lead the new team. No bridge repair money is available, but apparently there is enough money to hire new, expensive people etc.?

We seem to be adding more and more special districts, appointed boards, TIF districts, nonprofits that receive tax funds, planning etc., with very little control by taxpayers.

If you do not like what is happening downtown with tax funds, I have a feeling we are getting ready to see more of the same for the entire parish now.

While I am here, why does the amount for sewer repair seem to go up every time I see a new figure?

Add it all together, and I really think Baton Rouge needs a change in leadership.

Phillip Lillard

self-employed telephone consultant

Baton Rouge