I have been approached on many occasions relative to annexation of the unincorporated areas into the Town. When the City of Port Allen indicated an interest in annexing property south of the Intracoastal, the interest level increased enough to make a serious look a reality. In an effort to provide everyone with the accurate information necessary to make an informed decision, I formed an “Annexation Work Group.” That group met several times to identify the topics that needed clarification, to research those items and to summarize their conclusions. The work group prepared the information below. Our goals did not include a recommendation either for or against annexation. That is an individual decision to be decided by the citizens in the unincorporated areas and the Town Council. I hope the information provided clarifies this subject for you. If it doesn’t, please call one of the work group members or me and we will try to help.
We all owe a debt of gratitude to the work group members who provided a diverse perspective on the issues involved. The members included Joanne Bourgeois, Phillip Bourgoyne, Lorraine Couvillion, Felton Crockett, Leo Fontenot, Henry Henderson, Edmond Jordan, Jason Manola, Butch Plauche, Blaine Rabalais, Jim Safford, Jamie Whaley. Marianne Berthelot was Recording Secretary for the group.
Proposed Annexation to the Town of Brusly
The method proposed for annexation will be “Petition to annex territory by Ordinance” into the corporate limits of the Town of Brusly. The petition must be signed by a majority (50% +1) of the registered voters and a majority in number (50% +1) of the resident property owners as well as 25% in value of the property of the resident property owners within the proposed area. All signatures will be certified by the parish Assessor and parish Registrar of Voters. The petition will be presented to the Council with an ordinance to vote on its adoption.
Two petitions will be circulated for signatures. Area #1 will include all property between the South line of the Intracoastal Canal and the North town limits and the Parish Canal on the West. Area #2 will include all property from the South town limits to the Addis city limits and the Parish Canal on the West.
Effect on schools
School attendance zones are set by a desegregation court order and are not affected by annexation. City, Town or Village lines do not have any bearing on where the school attendance zones are located.
Effect on Postal Addresses
Postal patrons within the annexed area may experience an address change. The addresses currently in the Brusly zip code (70719) would not change. The addresses inside the annexed area that have a Port Allen zip code (70767) may be changed only AFTER annexation takes place. This change is done by the US Postal Service on a district level not a local level. The time frame on this process could be up to 1 year after annexation is complete.
Effect on Property Taxes
Homesteads – In addition to the Parish Property Taxes, Brusly currently has a tax of 2.16 mills on all property in the town limits. Homestead exemption does not apply to local taxes so the tax is calculated on 10% of the property value for homesteads.
Example: Assessed value of residence: $105,500
10% of Assessed Value $10,550
Brusly Taxes: 2.16 mills = $22.79
Businesses – Businesses in the town of Brusly receive two tax bills from the town. One for the value of the business (real estate and improvements) and one for personal property. The 2.16 mills tax would be applied to 10% of the assessed real estate value, 15% of the commercial improvements to the real estate. A second and separate bill for 15% of the assessed value of personal property.
Assessed Real Estate Value: $68,000
Improvements: $240,000 15%= $36,000
Personal Property: $ 2,000 15%= $300
Total $43,100 Brusly Taxes: 2.16 mills of $43,100 = $93.10
Impact of Annexation on Revenue
The proposed area for annexation presently has an estimated population of 3,700. The major revenue source that will be impacted is the sales tax. Sales Taxes are shared between the Parish Council, the City of Port Allen, and the Towns of Addis and Brusly. It is dispersed by percentage of population. About 17% or approximately $1.3 million in sales tax dollars would be shifted from the Parish to the Town of Brusly annually and would equate into a similar reduction in operating expenses and capital outlay for the parish.
Effect on Utilities
The Town of Brusly’s only utility is the sewer system. The charge for sewer service is $18 per month for residential customers. The Parish provides gas and garbage collection, the Water District provides water, and Entergy provides electricity.
If the unincorporated areas are annexed into the Town, it is unlikely that the gas, garbage, water or electricity providers will change. The rates for those providers would be variable depending on factors unrelated to annexation. Sewer, however, may be greatly affected. The Parish now operates eight individual sewer plants inside the proposed annexation boundaries. It is likely that those plants would become the responsibility of the Town. In that case, the Town would have to increase staffing and the resulting maintenance costs are likely to increase significantly since those plants are mechanical plants with high maintenance costs. In addition, there are many areas such as Emily Drive, American Way, the West Side of Lukeville, Red Eye, Red Hat, Cinclare and other areas where sewer is not presently available. Expansion into those areas, whether voluntary or mandated, will cost several million dollars and will surely require significant bond indebtedness to finance those upgrades.
Upon annexation of unincorporated areas, the Town would incur immediate costs. Since the additional revenue generated as the result of annexation would lag behind the actual expenditures, the Town would have to find the money necessary to fund these costs from existing or borrowed funds.
At the onset of annexation, the Town would immediately assume the responsibility for police protection, maintenance and other services. It is estimated that the combination of those services will create an immediate need for approximately $2,000,000 (Note: the Town presently has approximately $1,250,000 in reserve). This does not include assuming the responsibility for the sewer systems presently operated by the Parish. If those systems become the responsibility of the Town, the startup costs would be significantly larger.
In order to meet guidelines for providing police protection to the proposed annexed area, personnel would increase by one secretary and ten officers. This would result in a substantial increase in the department’s current budget of $400,000 to provide for the additional salaries, vehicles and equipment and additional office space that will be needed.
The Fire District is its own entity and is funded by a ½ Cent Sales Tax based on population. The area between Beaulieu Lane and the Intracoastal Canal is presently in the Port Allen Fire Sub District. The remainder of the proposed annexation area is already in the Brusly Fire Sub District. Insurance premium costs for homeowners/businesses are based on rating classification. Brusly Fire Sub District is currently a Class 3. Annexing the area North of Beaulieu Lane will require a capital outlay in order to maintain the present rating.
The Town presently maintains 47,500 feet of roadway and upon annexation the roadway footage would increase by another 89,443 feet.
Effect on Form of Government
A Mayor and five Council Members presently govern the Town. The Council Members are all elected at-large.
Should the Town annex the unincorporated areas, it is likely that the Council will increase to seven members and those members would be divided into districts. In that instance, the Town would be divided into seven geographical districts with the voters only voting on the Council race in the district in which they reside. The Mayor would continue to be elected at-large.
Planning & Zoning Regulations and Ordinances
An initial review of the zoning texts and accompanying maps for Brusly and West Baton Rouge Parish indicates similar classifications in terms of adjusting the proposed new zones if the municipality annexes the area both north and south of the current city corporate limits. LA 1 adjacent land is currently zoned commercial on both the west and east sides except for developed entrances to residential subdivisions in the unincorporated areas. The same is true for the incorporated areas adjacent to LA 1 in Brusly, which conform to the adopted land use principles in the Brusly codes.
In regards to locating mobile homes on individual lots the parish does not distinguish between mobile homes and conventional single-family construction. In Brusly, to locate a mobile home on an individual lot requires a petition of no objection of 75% of the surrounding property owners. However for a minimum of 6 months after annexation, (RS 33:4725.1) the parish classification would remain in effect for any zoning classification changed by the new jurisdiction.
For both planning and zoning changes, the Brusly Planning and Zoning Commission would develop the proposals, hold public hearings and make recommendations to the Council prior to any adoption.
Where to Sign Petitions
Petitions will be available for registered voters in the unincorporated area to sign at:
Brusly Wireless, 4263 Highway 1 South, Brusly, Monday-Friday 9-6 and Saturday 10-3;
Brusly Town Hall, 601 N. Vaughan Street, Monday-Friday from 8:30-4:30.