Gonzales mayor submits budget without the road service study he vetoed in May

— Taking a second go at the budget process, Mayor Barney Arceneaux on Monday once again introduced budgets for the city’s new fiscal year after his May veto of major parts of an amended budget.

Arceneaux said then he primarily objected to an $800,000 study of an Interstate 10 service road, proposed last month as an amendment by Councilman Gary Lacombe.

The mayor did not include funding for that road study in the budget he proposed on Monday.

However, there were some changes from the original proposed general fund and capital outlay budgets.

One change in particular — regarding funding of the Ascension Economic Development Corp. — was a compromise to try to help get the budgets approved, Arceneaux said after the meeting.

Councilmen Lacombe, Terance Irvin and Timothy Vessel carried the vote in April to drastically cut funding from $100,000 to $25,000 to the nonprofit AEDC, which helps bring in new businesses and expand existing ones.

In his new proposed general fund budget, Arceneaux cut funding to the organization by 25 percent, from $100,000 to $75,000.

He also included $5,000 for the Ascension Community Theatre and $10,000 for the Ascension Balloon Festival.

The total proposed general fund budget now stands at approximately $14 million.

In the capital outlay budget that Arceneaux proposed Monday, the $2 million for capital road improvement projects does not include $800,000 for an I-10 service road study.

However, Arceneaux took out of the proposed capital outlay budget $175,000 for a dog park he’s been wanting for the city for three years, he said after the meeting.

The new proposed capital outlay fund budget stands at approximately $5.6 million.

No amendments to either the general fund or the capital outlay budgets were offered at Monday’s meeting.

The controversy over the budgets and the vetoes has delayed a 2 percent raise for all full-time city employees, which is included in the general fund budget.

Arceneaux said after the meeting that he has met in small, nonquorum work sessions with Lacombe, Vessel and Irvin, and they are continuing to support an $800,000 I-10 road study.

Arceneaux said he hasn’t received information on the study and also said he “has a great concern” about the ethics of it.

Irvin’s father, the late Melvin Irvin Jr., owned, either individually or through companies, property in the general area of the proposed road study, according to Assessor’s Office records.

Arceneaux said after Monday’s meeting that he’s prepared to veto the budgets again over such a proposed road study.

The vote on the budgets comes up at the City Council’s next meeting on July 14.