- Associated Press - Sunday, August 10, 2014

GONZALES, La. (AP) - A new round in the City Council’s budget impasse with Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux is set for Monday when council members are expected to vote on overriding the mayor’s second veto.

The Advocate reported (https://bit.ly/1okiWHe) that if the council overrides the mayor’s latest veto, the matter ends with the council budget going into effect.

If the override fails, Arceneaux said he plans to reintroduce a budget that earlier was cut by the council.

Arceneaux won’t say whether he would issue a third veto if the council acts to again cut his proposal.

The council’s cuts are primarily in funding for the Police Department and an economic development organization, and led to Arceneaux’s vetoes in May and on Aug. 5.

Arceneaux said he plans to ask the council for the full $437,000 for the Police Department and for $75,000 for the Ascension Economic Development Corp.

The council previously countered with about $100,000 less for the Police Department and $25,000 less for the development group.

The mayor said he remains committed to the higher funding levels, despite repeated efforts by three members of the council - Gary Lacombe, Terance Irvin and Timothy Vessel - to cut funding.

“Everyone I’ve spoken to is in agreement with what I’m doing,” Arceneaux said. “They’re concerned about public safety, and when you’re talking about the Ascension Economic Development Corp., they’ve proven to us over the years that they’ve brought in business.”

Despite the impasse, city operations have not yet been greatly affected, City Clerk Clay Stafford said. The city is operating with a budget half the size of the previous year, as required by state law under such circumstances.

Last fiscal year’s general fund budget was $13.6 million, so Gonzales can now spend half, or $6.8 million, without a new budget in place. Since June, the city has spent $2.5 million, Stafford said.

The city’s capital outlay budget last year was $7.4 million, so it can spend $3.7 million. Since June, the city has spent $275,000, Stafford said.

“We’re being very careful,” he said.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com


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