Gonzales budget unveiled for 2022-23 fiscal year

Mayor Barney Arceneaux introduced the 2022-23 budget for the City of Gonzales at Monday’s meeting of the City Council in a 67-page document.  “The administration projects that the city will collect $17,380,000 in sales tax” in the coming fiscal year, a 10% increase from the preceding 12-month period.  It is the largest percentage increase in sales tax collection since 2010, following a major uptick last year after two lackluster years mired in the depths of COVID-19 mask mandates and lockdowns.

Mayor Arceneaux’s budget summary also anticipates “permitting of new sales tax generating facilities” while citing the “benefits from the state’s Sales and Use Tax Commission for Remote Sellers in recapturing previously lost online sales taxes” for the robust increase.  Arceneaux’s tenure stretches back to 2009 when the disastrous effects of the 2008 financial crisis were settling in, derailing the big plans for development of Edenborne Parkway which had been recently annexed into the city limits.

Gonzales’ sales tax collection ramped up in 2012-2013 when 5.6% growth was achieved, followed by two more years (successive years of 4.9% and 6.9%  increased sales tax generation) of an expanding retail tax base.  The next six (2016-2021) years saw modest expansion, even contracting by 1.3% during the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Emerging from the other side of gubernatorial Emergency Declarations, the City of Gonzales reported a 6% increase in sales tax generation this year, anticipating even greater gains for 2022-23.  Gonzales is growing, undeniably expanding economically as well as demographically.

Gonzales’ annexed significant acreage along Hwy 44, south of I-10 over the last two decades.

A 25% population increase, according to the last two decennial censuses, pales in comparison to the city’s economic expansion with a corresponding spike in public services delivered to citizens new and old.  According to the 2020 census numbers Gonzales’ population was 12,231 (up from 9,781 in 2010).

Sales tax generation over the last decade rose from $12,198,208 to next year’s projected $17,380,000 (a 42.8% increase), attributable to thriving commercial corridors along Airline Hwy and Hwy 30.  Thousands of daily commuters traverse those roadways, often leaving discretionary dollars inside Gonzales’ burgeoning retail outlets.  Hwy 44 has been targeted for the next retail boom in the city.

 

Every revenue source has witnessed similar spikes.  The budget projects $1.7 million in property tax revenue for 2022-23, more than a 50% increase from a decade earlier.  Anticipating $1,513,000 paid for permits and licenses this coming year, that is a 63.2% increase since 2012-13 evidencing the spectacular retail-sector growth along with new residential housing developments.

The city’s delivery of services has more than kept pace, particularly in the Public Safety departments.

Gonzales Police Department’s 2012-2013 budget totaled $4,538,220.  The budget introduced on Monday will, assuming its adoption by the City Council, appropriate $7,028,000 for GPD (a 54.9% increase in a decade’s time).

The Fire Department/EMS Division benefited from a 46.8% funding bump since 2012-13 when the budget allocated $2,635,877.  The pending budget’s Fire Department appropriation is $4,042,500 (the first time exceeding the 4 million mark and worth every penny in this citizen’s opinion).

Mayor Arcenaux has also presented an ambitious Capital Outlay Budget, calling for $23,705,964 in expenditures.

 

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