GONZALES — During a brief meeting Thursday, Mayor Barney Arceneaux said he intends to move as quickly as possible to introduce a new operating budget that would include a proposed 2 percent pay raise across the board to city employees.
Tuesday’s meeting came in the wake of Arceneaux’s May 21 veto of the major parts of the city’s proposed 2014-15 budget, a move the council on Wednesday did not attempt to override.
The veto means a new budget must be introduced and advertised. Without a budget in place by June 1, the city would operate at 50 percent of last year’s budget until a new plan is adopted.
Arceneaux has said he objected to proposed cuts in funding for the police and fire departments and the Ascension Economic Development Corp. for the purpose of allocating $800,000 for the study of a new service road along Interstate 10.
Those cuts were supported by Councilmen Gary Lacombe, Terance Irvin and Timothy Vessel.
On Thursday, Lacombe said he supported AEDC’s efforts but questioned the city budgeting $100,000 annually for the economic development group.
Irvin said the line item was meant to reduce to $25,000 once AEDC found funding to become more self-sustaining.
Councilman Kenny Matassa spoke in support of the AEDC appropriation, noting “they were giving us regular reports and we had a councilman on their board.”
Matassa took exception to the $800,000 proposed for the service road project, saying he would “never agree to that.”