Baton Rouge council kills sewer buyout

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A deal to relocate at least 44 Scotlandville families living next to a foul-smelling sewage treatment plant has been rejected.

The Advocate reports the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council failed Wednesday to muster the seven votes required for approval.

Outgoing Councilman Ulysses Addison, who represents University Place residents affected by the sewage plant and who also resides in the same subdivision, was among the three council members who voted against the deal to relocate residents at an estimated cost of $6 million.

In April 2011, Addison initiated the council action asking the city-parish to craft a buyout plan for residents. But on Wednesday, at Addison's last meeting as a council member, he said he couldn't support the plan because, once it was approved, residents would be forced to relocate even if they wanted to stay.

"My vote was based on what I hear from my community," he said. "If I thought it was in their best interest, I'd be the first to vote for it. No one wants them out of this condition more than I do."

At the end of the meeting, Addison ended up in a heated verbal argument with a handful of his constituents who were upset about his vote.

"Why would you bring it up if you were going to vote against it?" asked Shontelle Mitchell, a University Place resident, who accused Addison of "playing politics."

"Well I'm not your councilman anymore," Addison responded.

In addition to Addison, council members Joel Boà and Scott Wilson voted against the buyout proposal. Council members Trae Welch, Mike Walker, Ronnie Edwards, Alison Gary, Rodney Bourgeois and Tara Wicker supported the deal. Council members Chandler Loupe, Donna Collins-Lewis and C. Denise Marcelle were absent from the meeting.

An item requires seven votes on the 12-member council to pass.

After the deal failed, an attempt to defer the item for 60 days also failed by again falling one vote short. Addison abstained on that vote instead of voting no.

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