BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – The Metro Council voted unanimously at a meeting on Wednesday, October 26, to scrap the controversial stormwater utility fee proposal and reject the plan.
The original plan was created to pay for community-wide stormwater drainage improvements, but the proposal came under public scrutiny due to an alleged misunderstanding regarding a non-disclosure agreement associated with the plan.
Mayor Sharon Weston-Broome stressed at the meeting that she was not trying to mislead anyone.
“There was never any attempt to deceive or do anything that was unethical. We were just trying to stick to it,” Broome said.
The mayor’s office blamed the confusion on prosecutor Andy Dotson and his office, but he denied any wrongdoing.
“I think you guys took all the information, or someone took any information and started talking to other people. We cannot be held responsible for this. The moment I felt something was being indirectly disseminated out there, my office went to work to make sure we had to correct it,” Dotson said.
The WAFB tried questioning Dotson about the debacle for more clarity, but the only response he gave was “no comment.”
Dotson’s future was also in question at the meeting after councilman Cleve Dunn called an emergency to discuss removing the township attorney from his post, but the motion was blocked by other councilors.
Dunn declined to comment after the meeting, but his colleagues explained why they felt Dotson’s firing was premature at the time.
“We don’t have to jump too fast with the weapon. We have yet to gather all the facts and information,” Councilman Aaron Moak said.
Council members we spoke to described the meeting as a success, but felt that there are still many questions that need to be answered.
“Let’s involve our federal partners. We have good partners, good relationships there, let’s involve them, let’s come together as a group and find a way to address this issue,” Councilman Dwight Hudson said.
“We cannot turn back time. There have been many missteps, but at the end of the day I think we can move forward,” said Councilwoman Chauna Banks.
“I still think we have a few more of these meetings, what we’re doing as a council, and I think there’s more questions from other people under the mayor and under the municipal attorney,” Moak said.
Dunn has confirmed to WAFB that he reintroduced the item to address the future of the municipal attorney for the next Metro Council meeting.
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