Baton Rouge Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden will ask the combined parish-city government’s Metro Council to set a November election on a bond package similar to a $989 million proposal narrowly rejected by voters last year.
Holden said he will ask the council to call an election for Nov. 14. He declined to outline any changes in the original list of projects to be financed by the bonds.
“We expect it to be a hard-fought but successful battle,” Holden told directors of the Baton Rouge Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. He said the bond projects would allow the city to compete for large conventions and other events.
Voters in November 2008 turned down the request for bonds supported by a 0.5% sales tax increase, which would have raised the overall sales tax in the parish to 5%, and a 9.9 mill increase in the property tax. The measure lost with 90,464 opposed and 87,393 in favor.
The failed 2008 bond package included a $248 million nature-themed attraction operated by the Audubon Nature Institute, $208 million of drainage and bridge projects, a $145 million expansion of the city-owned convention center, and a new $135 million parish prison.
The parish’s sales tax bonds have underlying ratings of A2 from Moody’s Investors Service, and A-plus from Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.