The Gonzales City Council, after months of discussion finally passed the Resolution to bring to a vote of the people a half-cent sales tax increase for the purpose of maintaining a strong fire and police force.
This was done in front of a packed house at City Hall on Irma Blvd on Monday, May 8. The regular meeting was the first held back at City Hall since the August flood.
Since it was passed, now the tax increase will be brought to a vote of the people on October 14, 2017. If it is what the public deems necessary, then it will go into effect January 1, 2018.
Gonzales Fire Chief Tracey Normand is a proponent of the tax. Since there are realistic projections of population growth in the city, he has expressed the need that the fire department be able to respond accordingly.
Police Chief Sherman Jackson said after the meeting he understands that people don't like new taxes and said he needs time to study the issue more before making a clear statement.
But what was discussed in past weeks past contained a clear focus on fire and police. What was written into the final resolution by the council includes construction, operation and maintenance of a new Civic Center and apparently a second Community Outreach Building.
The council has been discussing for some time the back-and-forth about whether or not Gonzales was going to get the millions of dollars needed to spend on Civic Center improvements. Perhaps this is a clear indicator that the money for repairs and maintenance is going to have to come from the people, period.
The public in attendance showed little opposition. A TV news crew from Baton Rouge was also present to cover the issue. But by the looks of things, it almost seems like the right move.