Gonzales City Council approves budget amendment

Staff Report

The Gonzales City Council approved an amendment to the 2020-2021 city budget that includes a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for all city employees.

City of Gonzales

"In February of this year, when we developed our first budget, we had included a cost-of-living increase because the economy was rip-roaring," said Scot Byrd, chief administrative officer for the City of Gonzales. "The COVID happened. We retraced our steps. We decided we were not going to give employees the cost of living increase, with the thought that if things got better during the course of the year.

"We've got some really good employees. We wanted to give them a raise, but we couldn't do it. We waited these six months. We've had good results on our sales tax revenues, and now we want to reward our people."

In separate ordinances, the council approved 4 percent raised for Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux and Chief of Police Sherman Jackson. Arceneaux said during the meeting that the mayor and police chief are the only two city employees whose salary must be approved specifically by the council.

Arceneaux's salary will increase from $134,950.40 to $140,816 a year, effective Dec. 23. Jackson's salary will increase from $122,408 to $127670.40 a year, also effective Dec. 23.

Council members also introduced an ordinance that would raise sewer rates. The increase would generate the funds necessary to repay $15 million in loans to improve the water treatment system, Byrd said. The proposal would raise residential rates to a minimum of $19.50. Commercial rates would increase to a minimum of $30. The proposed ordinance will include a sewer use charge of $4 per 1,000 gallons for each 1,000 gallons of water used.

The council also granted final approval to a series of changes to Chapter 22 of the Code of Ordinance. The changes will require developers to present a drainage impact study when a preliminary plat is introduced.

In other zoning issues, the council:

  • Approved an ordinance to rezone the 102 acres of Heritage Crossing to Traditional Neighborhood Development Zoning.
  • Approved rezoning 1.161 acres of the Patricia Bruno property from C-2 Zoning to R-3-E Zoning.
  • Approved rezoning 5.39 acres at the intersection of Veterans Avenue and Orice Roth Road from C-1 to R-3-E Zoning.

The council also approved annexing two tracts of land owned by Expert Maintenance into the City of Gonzales.

Another ordinance approved Monday night would make it easier for the city to recoup the cost of mowing properties.

In other business, the city council:

  • Agreed to donate $6,000 to support the Southeast Louisiana High School Roder Event, which will be March 12-14, 2021.
  • Approved the purchase by retired Assistant Chief of Police Dowell Brenn of his service weapon.
  • Denied a special event permit for a food truck donation event that was planned for Dec. 5.
  • Approved Dec. 30, 2021, as an administrative day off for city employees.