Council hears concerns over new tax, basketball league

Greg Fischer Editor-in-chief
gfischer@weeklycitizen.com

An otherwise routine program was made more interesting when a resident of Gonzales voiced concern with the proposed half-cent fire and police tax at the Gonzales City Council meeting on Monday, April 10.

In response to a quote from the city that stated the city's Class 2 fire rating helps keep insurance premiums low, the man claimed to have done further research.

"The difference of Class 1, Class 2 or Class 3 in this area will have zero impact on [insurance] premiums charged by State Farm in this area," the man said. "Let me be clear, I support public safety, but I believe public safety has several elements other than police and fire."

He brought up that the city's highways are not safe for bicycle riders and pedestrians. This is something the city intends to improve upon.

The next oddity of the meeting was the city's basketball league. Several coaches and fathers appeared to challenge none other than Wade Petite, operator of the Pelican Post, and Jeff Pettit whose grandchildren play in the league.

Petite approached the council to ask where the money for the league is going. Advocates for the league claim the money is going into the children, mentioning things like food and shoes.

"I stirred all this up," Petite said. "If you really want to know what's going on in the parish, read www.pelicanpost.com."

Agenda news included first minutes read by City Clerk Clay Stafford regarding two previous council meetings and minutes taken by the Zoning Commission. Next, Darryl Hambrick semi-jokingly asked for donations for the African American Museum Gospel in the Park fundraiser, to be held May 13, 2017 at Jambalaya Park from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Some promising news was read next by Ascension Economic Development Corp. (AEDC) President and CEO Kate MacArthur. MacArthur stated that nearly $13 billion dollars and 734 new jobs are in the works for Ascension Parish, with another $18 billion and 4,000 new jobs potentially coming in.

The council then passed a ratification of Bryce Broussard to take the place of Darren Cagnolatti as the Fire Department representative on the Fire and Police Civil Service Board. Finally, the Sprayground appears to be ready to open on April 14, 2017.

More information on the meeting can be found in the official minutes.