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Shouting, shoving mar special budget meeting

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GONZALES - An angry mayor and evasive council members lent fireworks to an already-heated budget showdown in Gonzales Wednesday night.

The city council held a special meeting to hash out differences over the budget. At issue is $110,000 requested for new police cars, which the mayor and chief say are needed but have been blocked by three council members: Terance Irvin, Timothy Vessel and Gary Lacombe.

At Wednesday's meeting Lacombe, who called the special meeting, said he only learned Monday that Gonzales Police had a dire need of new units to replace their aging fleet. That's despite repeated pleas for funding from the chief since May, and several reports highlighting the need from News 2.

Lacombe claimed the department could have used money from their operating budget to get the cars. Traditionally the money is appropriated through the capital outlay budget, which Mayor Barney Arceneaux has vetoed three times in the fight to get funding for the cruisers.

Mayor Arceneaux criticized Lacombe's actions immediately following the meeting. He also instructed police to remove Vessel if the council member interrupted him again during a back-and-forth disagreement about who had the floor to speak.

Lacombe evaded questions posed by News 2 about his actions, saying only to "Look it up." Vessel shoved reporter Rob Krieger out of the way as he left the meeting, also refusing to answer questions.

The council approved a motion Wednesday to introduce the funding for police cars only into the general fund budget, though it is an unorthodox method for the spending.



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