QUESTION: In regard to the election for the incorporation of the city of St. George, why isn’t the entire city of Baton Rouge allowed to vote on the incorporation instead of only the area asking to be incorporated as the new city of St. George? This incorporation would affect all residents of the city of Baton Rouge. If passed, in all likelihood both cities will need to increase taxes to fund police and fire departments, schools and other required necessities of each city.

ANSWER: Only the registered voters in the proposed boundaries of an area up for incorporation get to vote. The applicable state law, R.S. 33:3, notes that once the required signatures are verified and an election is called: “All qualified electors residing within the area proposed for incorporation shall be entitled to vote in the special election.”

Nevertheless, the costs of the special election shall be borne by the parish in which the area proposed for incorporation is located, in this case East Baton Rouge. If the voters defeat the incorporation proposition, no petition for incorporation of all or a part of that area in the election defeat may be circulated for the next two years.

Some opponents of the St. George effort have argued the whole parish should be allowed to vote on the incorporation, if it makes it to the ballot. But doing so might take a legal challenge on the constitutionality of the law.

QUESTION: I am a regular commuter on Claycut Road between Foster Drive and Acadian Thruway. I was wondering when the bridge over Wards Creek would be open? Also why does it keep getting shut down every couple of months? This time they shut it down without warning.

ANSWER: Engineer Joseph O. Young, deputy program manager-project delivery with CH2M HILL, says the current closure on Claycut Road is due to work with the East Baton Rouge Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) Program. This project involves installing sewer main in the shoulder of the road, but the work entails a deep trench that requires working area for the equipment, thereby requiring the road closure. The sewer main will tie into the pump station adjacent to Wards Creek and will increase capacity of the sewer system in the area. The road is scheduled to remain closed for this work until March 27.

There have been two previous closures on Claycut Road, one was for emergency bridge repairs and the other for work with the pump station. The bridge repair was not associated with the SSO Program, but the pump station work was.

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