Tax increases not expected
The Bridge City City Council Tuesday adopted its 2009-10 budget, which saw a slight increase from last year’s $5.9 million.
It now stands at $6.2 million. 

Council also approved, on first reading, an ad valorem a tax rate of .48700 per 100 valuation. 

City manager Jerry Jones said that, since property values are down 48 percent from last year, mostly because of Hurricane Ike, the tax rate never changed. 

“The simplest way to explain it – is that when your property goes down 48 percent, your taxes will be down 48 percent,” Jones said. “Everybody should expect to pay the same as what they paid last year.”

Jones said the roughly $300,000 in budget increases covered a 3-percent raise in city salaries, cost of a new police car and a ditch-digging machine called a grade-all. 

City water / sewer / garbage service rates will remain the same as before the hurricane, Jones said.

Also Tuesday, Richard Solomon, chairman of the Sept. 13 “We Remember” committee, gave an update on plans to mark the anniversary of Ike in city park – which include concerts by the Bridge City High School Band, Jackie Caillier and Chris Ardoin.
“All systems are go,” Solomon said. “All we have to do is cross the ‘T’s’ and dot the ‘I’s.’ 

He said it might be appropriate in the future for  the city to also celebrate the Bridge City boys’ All-Stars, 2009 Texas East state champions.

There are at least three Bridge City church celebrations also planned for Sept. 13, he said, adding, “I don’t think anybody’s going to conflict with anybody.”

In other business, Jones discussed plans to change policy regarding the community and senior centers, including new prices and new rules. A workshop has been slated for the next council meeting.
“One of the things we would like to change is that – instead of having a clean-up deposit, we would have a clean-up fee,” Jones said. “We’d also like to have a Bridge City / Orangefield user fee and an out-of-towners’ fee. That way the facility will be available to our citizens if they need it, but we don’t want to have it just for that.”

The changes will help increase the value of the buildings, which saw heavy use after Ike as a headquarters for volunteers, or as a supply storage area or temporary meeting place for the city council and other organizations.