Police and fire department budgets cut to fund study
GONZALES - A city is divided over budget cuts that left the fire and police departments high and dry.
Several 2014-2015 fiscal year budget amendments passed at the Gonzales City Council Monday night.
Councilmen Gary Lacombe, Timothy Vessel and Terance Irvin moved money away from city projects and departments to fund an $800,000 I-10 service road study.
"It doesn't make any sense," Police Chief Sherman Jackson said. "They took away basically five or six cars and a motorcycle."
The trio took $168,429 from the police department budgets and $124,000 from the fire department budget to help fund the road study.
"I don't think we are [headed] in the right direction," Jackson said.
"The two chiefs would have never put that in if they didn't feel they needed that equipment," Gonzales Mayor Buddy Arceneaux said Tuesday, a day after the changes were made.
Arceneaux sat frustrated at Monday's meeting while the council passed amendments in a 3-2 vote to take away $51,000 from streets & drainage, $60,000 from the water department, $170,000 from recreation and $75,000 from economic development.
The mayor believes the service road study is a good idea but questions the timing.
"I'm not going to take money from these people that has to go out every single day and do the work for our citizens in Gonzales to put on this. No sir not right now," Arceneaux said.
Lacombe and Irvin did not return calls for comment. Vessel hung up the phone when asked to talk about the budget.