Gonzales City Council members set to discuss ongoing budget battle

Gonzales City Council members set to discuss ongoing budget battle

GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Members of the Gonzales City Council are scheduled to meet Monday to discuss a back and forth budget battle that has stretched over several months.

The council will vote on whether or not it wants to override Mayor Barney Arceneaux's veto of the capital outlay budget.

Arceneaux has been at odds with several council members over that part of the budget, specifically funding for the Gonzales Police Department and Ascension Economic Development Corporation.

Councilmen Gary Lacombe, Timothy Vessel and Terance Irvin voted to strip the capital outlay budget of money for nine new police cars.

"I'm a big proponent of public safety and I'm continuing to believe that public safety is number one, and so, it wasn't really a hard decision for me," Arceneaux said Wednesday. "I think that we certainly need those police cars."

Police Chief Sherman Jackson stood behind Arceneaux during the news conference.

"The equipment that I'm asking for isn't out of the blue," Jackson said. "It's historically met as a need that we just have to have. That's our first line of transportation is our units. I think I've got plenty more fight left in me and my job is to represent the people. The people put me here. It's my job to let them know, 'Hey, we need our cars to do our jobs.'"

Arceneaux added he hopes to eventually restore funding that will now be cut from the Ascension Economic Development Corporation.

"I've talked to the director. The director totally understands what we're doing and why we're doing it, and, of course, he's in hopes that later down the line, we can just bring the budget back and we can get some more funding for those folks as well," Arceneaux explained.

The mayor decided last week to move ahead with the general fund budget, which means a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for all city government workers.

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