Residents start petition against EBR storm water utility fee

PRIDE-CHANEYVILLE, La. (BRPROUD)-More than 120 people from the Pride- Chaneyville area packed their local library Monday (October 17) night.

The residents came prepared with questions about the city-parish’s new proposed storm water fee.

The citizens started a petition against the fee, and were able to garner more than 300 signatures.

“We don’t have a voice on this and I think it’s absolutely wrong,” said Robert Wallace, a resident of Pride-Chaneyville. “I just think taxation without representation is wrong.”

The stormwater utility fee is appears on resident’s property tax bills. Some property owners feel it’s more like a tax. Councilman Brandon Noel says he agrees.

“If it looks like a tax, it smells like a tax. Doesn’t matter what you call this money coming out of people’s pockets,” said Councilman Brandon Noel, district 1.

The fee comes as East Baton Rouge Parish faces pressure from state and federal regulators to fix flood risk and improve water quality. Mayor President Sharon Weston Broome says the fee will fund millions to take care of drainage and maintenance.

During Monday’s meeting, city-parish spokesperson Mark Armstrong addressed concerns from the public, explaining why this is a fee is not a tax.

“It’s just a fee for a couple of reasons. Of course, it’s charging for a service in this case.

The fee would be assessed to the usage of the storm water system,” said Armstrong.

Residents in district one say they don’t deal with the same drainage issues. Some say