Discussions on possibly bringing a YMCA to Gonzales have begun. During a Gonzales Independent School District (GISD) board meeting Monday, Aug. 12, Gonzales Mayor Connie Kacir gave a presentation on bringing a YMCA to the community to the board. Kacir noted she was speaking on behalf of the office of the mayor, not as the city council as a whole.
“Nine years ago, I made my first call to the Y and I explored this opportunity and I was told in order to bring a Y to your community you had to have a YMCA sponsor you,” Kacir said. “Nine years later, we have the first door open to us. It’s a huge opportunity, and I’d love to see Gonzales have this opportunity. It will not compete with other fitness centers and workout centers. We’re looking at an after-school mentoring program and youth sports.”
Her presentation explained the benefits the YMCA would have on not only the school district, but the county overall.
“The YMCA is a Christian-based program,” she said. “It provides for youth sports leagues and it includes after school tutoring program to promote academic excellence. The Y is not replacing our school, obviously, but it’s working with you and through you to see our youth through. It works with the district and the community in grades 1-12. The program works. The program is 175 years and it has strong statistical data supporting community revitalization. The YMCA supports Gonzales achieving all of these areas and more.”
“What I would ask,” Kacir said later in the meeting, “is that our superintendent of schools works together with the YMCA administration in Victoria and begin a taskforce to outline what this program may look like, how can it benefit our district, how can it benefit our city and our county and then bring back to you a proposal for a full and thorough evaluation.”
Bud Oliver, the CEO of the YMCA of the Golden Crescent, was also in attendance at the meeting Monday. Oliver spoke with the Inquirer about the initial steps needed to proceed with bringing the Y to Gonzales.
“For us, the first phase is that community-needs assessment,” he said. “We have that survey that’s live and ready to go.”
The survey can be found at ymcavictoria.org or click here. Once the surveys come back, a decision will be made whether or not it’s feasible to bring a YMCA to Gonzales.
“We need 340 for it to be a valid survey,” Oliver added. “That’ll give us an idea of OK what do the people of Gonzales really want. And then we can say, here’s what the Y can offer. That’s where we’re at.”
As of press time, there haven’t been any decisions made on what a Gonzales YMCA would look like or where it would be located.
“The YMCA is in the very early and formative stages,” Kacir told the Inquirer after the meeting. “Focus groups will be formed and developments will be reported as made available.”
Gonzales ISD proposes lower tax rate
In new business, GISD board of trustees voted unanimously to set the district’s total tax rate to $1.1404, lower than last year’s rate of $1.18.
“The 2019 legislative session had a large impact on the 2019-20 total tax rate of $1.1404 administration is recommending for adoption,” according to the 2019-20 budget summary that was provided to the board. “House Bill 3 mandated districts compress their maintenance and operations (M&O) tax rates as a means of lowering the dependency on local property taxes for financing public education. As a result, the maximum M&O rate Gonzales ISD can adopt is $1.0440. Administration recommends adopting the maximum M&O tax rate allowed by law with the primary reason being that deeper changes to tax rate structure can be anticipated for the 2020-21 year due to Senate Bill 2 including a property tax revenue cap. As we currently understand SB 2 (takes effect in 2020-21), property tax revenue growth will be capped at 10% of the prior year’s value. Much more on that to come next year. For 2019-20, multiple agencies have recommended districts adopt their maximum allowable M&O rate.”