Our city is at a crossroads. We can vote to help fix our city or watch it continue to struggle.
Deficit spending has brought our city to the brink of bankruptcy. Our General Fund savings were down by 95 percent between fiscal years 2012 and 2017. While our savings were being wiped away, our city council lowered taxes to some of the lowest rates in the state.
Fortunately, the problem was identified before it was too late. The city manager responsible for allowing this catastrophe was dismissed and the new council began the difficult task of fixing the mess it inherited. The current council cut budgets, didn’t replace people who quit, and sold off unused assets. However, we still have a long way to go. Our reserves are still dangerously low and our neglected infrastructure is crumbling.
Low reserves pose several dangers for our city. If we have a catastrophic event such as the flood of ’98, a tornado like the one that hit Alabama this past weekend, or a hurricane, we will not have money for repairs. Our bond rating may suffer substantially, making it difficult and expensive, if not impossible, to borrow money to get back on our feet.
Along with low reserves, our city also suffers from years and years of deferred maintenance. Our infrastructure (streets, sewer system, water system, electric system) has been neglected. Rupturing water mains, leaning and cracked utility poles, black specks in our water, and rough streets all indicate that we simply have not been maintaining our city. Most of our sewer system is over 80 years old when the expected life is only 50 years. The only way to get back on track is to raise the money necessary for repairs
The current tax rate is 40 percent below the state average. Gonzales is above average in history, but below average in financial health and maintenance. Don’t let it go even further.
When the roll back election was called, a group of business and community leaders formed Citizens Supporting Gonzales to campaign against the roll back initiative. As concerned citizens, these people understand the condition our city is in. They are major taxpayers who were alarmed at what might happen. They banded together with their skills, reputation, and personal money (political contributions are not tax deductible) to help guide this election and our city into the direction of prosperity, not disparity.
The members of Citizens Supporting Gonzales boldly and proudly sign their names when asking you to vote against the roll back. Please join them in making Gonzales a great place to live.