GONZALES — The Gonzales City Council on Monday approved a 2 percent pay raise for city employees in the next fiscal year’s budget, to offset health insurance premium increases for its 145 full-time employees.
At the council meeting and public hearing on the city’s budget for the fiscal year beginning June 1, the council amended the raise from a pay increase originally proposed at 1 percent.
“At 2 percent, nobody takes an effective pay cut,” City Clerk Clay Stafford said.
Employees’ monthly health insurance premiums will increase by $50 per month in the new fiscal year.
The City Council also unanimously approved its proposed $15.2 million general fund budget, which comes in about 3 percent higher than last year’s.
The budget pays for personnel and the operations of the Fire Department, Police Department, sanitation, streets and drainage and recreation facilities.
The city’s proposed capital outlay budget of $8.8 million, down from $10.6 million last year, also won unanimous approval.
The budget includes $3.5 million in wastewater projects, $2.4 million in road projects and $850,000 in water and gas projects.
Top-ticket capital outlay items for the Gonzales Police Department are a $110,000 storage building and two Dodge Charger police units, at approximately $59,600 each.
The biggest capital outlay item on the Fire Department’s budget is $70,000 for an oxygen generator system that creates medical oxygen. The department also will be getting two vehicles at $40,000 each.
The City Council also unanimously approved a new zoning code for the city on Monday.
The new code was adopted to complement the city’s new master plan that the City Council approved last August.
The new zoning code maintains the city’s original zoning categories and adds six more: parks and open space; agriculture and detached family living; mixed use; retail and personal services; commercial and employment uses; and multifamily living, with up to 25 units per acre.
Both the new master plan and the zoning code were developed by the nonprofit Center for Planning Excellence, headquartered in Baton Rouge.
Zoning for existing businesses will be grandfathered in, city officials said.