BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome delivered the annual State of the City Address Wednesday where she outlined this year’s plans for the city of Baton Rouge.
In last year’s address, she addressed crime, economic development, drainage, and American Rescue Plan dollars.
This year, the mayor shared her appreciation for city-parish employees, reflected on Baton Rouge’s population and economic growth, and discussed crime and drainage.
Pay increases for Baton Rouge police and city-parish employees went into effect in September after Metro Council approval. It was the first pay increase for city employees since 2015. The mayor hopes that pay increases will help draw more hires to the police department.
Mayor Broome noted the positive net migration Baton Rouge is seeing. About 9,000 more people moved to the city, according to a report from the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.
“In order to be a city that’s on the rise, that people want to continue to migrate to, that businesses are attracted to, we have to be a safe city,” said Mayor Broome.
When discussing crime in Baton Rouge, Mayor Broome talked about initiatives and funding for police officer hiring and crime-fighting technology. In November, local leaders outlined a plan to combat gun violence in Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish. Officials will focus on four primary goals: community engagement, prioritizing gun crimes and high-risk offenses, blight clean up, and proactive policing.
“The fact is that Baton Rouge will not tolerate crime of any magnitude,” said Mayor Broome. “When people say we can do more, I say, ‘Yes, we can do more.’ And we will always continue to do more to reduce crime in our community. However, what I think we are not doing enough of is working together in the same direction.”
Mayor Broome said $56 million dollars in American Rescue Plan funding has been used for drainage in Baton Rouge. She said 23 million pounds of debris has been cleaned from storm drains.
A stormwater advisory committee made of community stakeholders will be working together to solve drainage issues, Mayor Broome said. An official announcement about the committee will be released in February.
Confusion emerged over a non-disclosure agreement and a proposed stormwater utility fee in the fall. The proposed fee was ultimately killed and council members agreed to go back to the drawing board.
In her final remarks, she said she looks toward the future of Baton Rouge as the city grows in different areas economically.
To read the State of the City report, click here.