GONZALES — City Councilman Gary Lacombe on Monday took issue with a recent stand by the Gonzales Planning and Zoning Commission against an Interstate 10 service road study he wants funded.
At its June 2 meeting, the commission went on record opposing the $800,000 service road study that Lacombe proposed last month as an amendment to the general fund budget.
The proposed study derailed the budget, with Mayor Barney Arceneaux vetoing the budget last month.
“There’s a motion (by the Planning and Zoning Commission) to reject a project study, but we don’t even understand what the project is going to be yet,” Lacombe said at Monday’s City Council meeting.
Frank Cagnolatti, president of the commission, told the City Council that any new road or road improvement must first go through the Planning and Zoning Commission, to be followed by a public hearing.
Nothing was submitted to the commission in the case of the I-10 service road study, Cagnolatti said.
“You never came to us, but yet you turned around to put $800,000 on the budget,” Planning and Zoning Commissioner Terry Richey told Lacombe.
“All you have right now is an idea,” Richey said.
Richey said after the meeting that the commission wanted to “make a statement,” in the event Lacombe reintroduces the amendment for the road study, as the city works on a new budget.
Councilman Terance Irvin, who voted for Lacombe’s road-study budget amendment, argued at the City Council meeting that a service road for the Cabela’s store, off La. 30, had been funded by the city.
However, City Attorney Ryland Percy said the developer of Cabela’s had paid for the planning and infrastructure for the store and had approached the city after the project was viable, with the possibility of the city investing, which it did, with the input of the nonprofit Ascension Economic Development Corp.
“What you’re suggesting is backward to the way it’s normally done,” Percy said.
The study funding still could play a role in the budget process.
Mayor Arceneaux said after Monday’s meeting he plans to resubmit the original budget, without the study amendment, at the June 23 city council meeting.
Arceneaux said he met privately with the five councilmen, individually or in pairs, and that Lacombe was unable at that time to tell him how he arrived at the $800,000 figure for the study he’s seeking.
“Tonight, here he wants to argue about something else and he still can’t” explain the figure he proposed, Arceneaux said.
“He has yet to bring us some paperwork. It may be $800,000 … $500,000 … $300,000. We don’t know, so naturally I have a problem with that,” Arceneaux said.