GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Tension in the city of Gonzales seems to have risen even more as the ongoing dispute between the mayor and three of the five council members continues to build steam and the power struggle means the city still does not have a budget.
The Gonzales City Council did not override two ordinances Monday that would reduce funding to the Gonzales Police Department and Ascension Economic Development Corporation. The city remains without an approved budget more than two months after the new fiscal year began.
The meeting also included a debate between Councilman Timothy Vessel Jr. and City Attorney Ryland Percy over what Vessel claims was Percy's financial backing of the campaign to recall from office Vessel and fellow Councilman Gary Lacombe.
“I said I’d like to get your support in 2012 and that's all I asked you for and you know what you did?” Vessel asked. “You turned your face to me.”
“I guess he turned you down if he turned around,” Arceneaux answered.
Attempts were made to talk to LaCombe and Vessel after the meeting, but once again, the two refused to comment.
“If we can convince the mayor to stop holding the budget hostage, to contribute to the campaign of the recall and try to remove Councilman Vessel and Councilman LaCombe and concentrate on the future of Gonzales, we can move forward,” Councilman Terance Irvin said.
“He's saying I’m holding it hostage,” Arceneaux said. “I’d have to turn it around and say the same identical thing, among other things they're doing, but that's something that, again, we will have to take a look at it and whether I do it again? It's something in the next few days I’ll have a decision.”
The Gonzales City Council was also served with a lawsuit filed by 23rd District Judge Alvin Turner, who owns property within city limits. The complaint was issued after the council voted to deny Turner a zoning request for his property.
If the budget is to be addressed, it will have to be introduced first at the next meeting, which is scheduled for August 25 and means the earliest the city could have an approved budget would be mid-September.