Livingston Parish felt removed from the decision making process.
And they were, so-to-speak, when it came to a specialty development on Buddy Ellis Road dubbed 'Lakes at Juban Crossing,' which would be a low-to-moderate income development proposed strictly for the elderly.
The approval of the development itself rested with the parish council, but through a specific state law the development would get property tax exempt status through a vote of the East Baton Rouge Parish Council, not the board in Livingston. That law designated the Capital Area Finance Authority (CAFA) jurisdiction over specific, property tax exempt developments in the nine-parish area.
CAFA is run by the EBR council.
However, all three major property tax districts in Livingston Parish - the parish itself, school board, and sheriff - sent resolutions to the EBR council, via parish councilman Garry 'Frog' Talbert (District 2), asking that the EBR council not grant the property tax exemption as the parish needed 'every penny' to run government operations.
The EBR council did one better, dropping the item off the agenda completely Wednesday afternoon and deferring to a piece of legislation currently presented by Rep. Buddy Mincey Jr. (District 71 - Denham Springs). In that law, tax exemptions can only be granted within the parish to which they affect, similar to the recent changes in ITEP.
The resolutions, combined with Mincey's legislation, were enough for the EBR council to drop the issue.
"We won a major victory tonight at the EBR Metro Council," Talbert posted on Facebook after the meeting. "I was proud to lead the fight to stop the council from extended a tax break to a housing development in Livingston Parish against the will of our parish council. After numerous meetings with EBR metro-council members, tonight they removed the item from their agenda.
"No parish should be allowed to give tax breaks to businesses in another parish," Talbert continued. "That just doesn’t make sense. I’ll be working with Rep. Buddy Mincey to pass legislation to ensure this does not happen again."