Gonzales leaders one step closer to passing a budget

GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - The Gonzales City Council voted to introduce a $14 million general fund budget Monday night, but it remains unclear if the plan will be approved in the near future.

"Essentially it's the same budget I guess you would say. I did meet with all five councilmen,  but three of them didn't sound like they were getting off the $800,000," said Mayor Barney Arceneaux.

The $800,000 is what Council Members Gary Lacombe, Terance Irvin, and Timothy Vessel have publicly proposed to go towards the study of building a service road between the Highway 30 and Highway 44 exits along Interstate 10. In order to fund that study, the three men recently voted to cut half of the Gonzales Fire Department's budget and over 40 percent of the police department's funds. Arceneaux's new budget puts those funds back into each department. Lacombe and Vessel declined to address the new budget after the meeting and Irvin was tight-lipped as well.

"We have some more discussions to do," said Irvin when approached. "Let us continue working for the city of Gonzales."

Arceneaux says he is open for talks on this new version of the budget which includes no funds for the proposed service road, but adds he is not willing to budge on what he says is needed  to protect public safety.

"I'm not interested in taking money from police or fire service to put on a road that we're not really sure where it's going to go, what's it's going to do and you know, we're not ready for that." said Arceneaux.

Councilman Kenneth Matassa agrees with Arceneaux, but admits he doesn't think an approved budget is coming to the city anytime soon.

"I've never dealt with people like this and it seems like we are going to dig in for the long haul if they don't want to do what's right for the people," said Matassa.

Arceneaux's budget received a motion and a second meaning it will be on the agenda for public discussion and vote when the council meets again in two weeks.

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