My Fellow Gonzales Citizens:
Today we find ourselves in a struggle. Throughout this campaign regarding the roll back of the city’s tax rate, I have been frustrated by the infighting and accusations among our citizens. There are claims of illegal activity and violating first amendment rights, and that appropriate processes were not followed. And whereas it is common to quickly take up sides, I think it is more important that we take pause to understand the facts and the issues.
Here is what I know. The city’s tax rate declined significantly from 2011 until 2016, at which point it was set at $.1595 per $100 of property valuation. As a side note, the tax rate in 2000 was $.3377. In 2017, with the addition of new council members, the new council recognized the deteriorating financial position of the City. They now had a choice. Let the city’s financial position continue to decline further or make the hard choice of raising taxes? The City could also reduce expenses, which it did. But how much more can you reduce expenses when you are already routinely criticized for continued lack of service and infrastructure?
There are claims the City has not followed the proper process to raise taxes. I have reviewed this, and in my opinion, there were no laws that were intentionally violated. The City did not act in bad faith in an effort to change the tax rate. Were mistakes made? Yes. Because mistakes were made, should we punish the city while putting us in even greater financial peril? No. That kind of punishment would starve the city even further. What good will that do you as citizens of Gonzales? What good will that do for the businesses of Gonzales? The tourism industry of Gonzales? What good does that do for any prospect of economic development? My view is that by starving the city further, we are only harming ourselves.
As the General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of GVEC, I am very concerned about the impact this roll back election will have on our community, if it passes. The City of Gonzales has served as GVEC’s headquarters location since the 1940’s when it moved from Cost. As a major employer and property tax payer, GVEC has a vested interest in the success of its hometown. We need a town with attractive squares and parks and a vibrant and renovated downtown. A town that shows pride in itself by investing and maintaining its streets, sidewalks and utility infrastructure. A town where we can be proud to bring industry representatives and other guests. And yes, a town where our current and future employees can be proud to call home.
This is what is at stake in this roll back election this Saturday. Either we will stand up and vote AGAINST the reduced tax rate and provide the City the resources it needs or we will starve it into greater financial peril. The choice is ours. I encourage you to vote AGAINST the roll back.
General Manager & CEO