The city of Bridge City just got a little bigger after Tuesday night’s city council meeting.

The council approved a proposed annexation plan for the city that will extend two fingers toward the Rainbow Bridge, according to City Manager Jerry Jones. The new city limits will be where the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction now lies- to an island in the middle of the Sabine River near the Rainbow Bridge. A strip of land on FM 1442 will also be annexed.

Jones said there’s a total of 1,022 acres that can possibly be annexed by the city.

“There’s a lot of area we could annex if we wanted to,” he said.

Councilman Danny Cole asked why the city was annexing marshland. Jones answered there were many problems when the city of Port Arthur annexed the then Gulf States Utilities power plant in the past. The state made Port Arthur pull their boundaries back to the middle of the river.

Bridge City officials want to get to the point so Port Arthur won’t annex that property again.

“It (Bridge City city limits) butts up against Port Arthur,” Jones said.

He added annexation is a very extensive time line to follow and the city has 90 days to complete.

The council also approved an ordinance regulating peddlers, itinerant vendors, hawkers, solicitors and canvassers and establishing registration requirements.

Jones said his officer receives a lot of calls about solicitors.

City Attorney Paul Fukuda said the ordinance tries to strike a balance in the right to solicit, but to be regulated albeit not to an excessive degree.

Civic organizations will be able to use large stores, such as Market Basket, Walgreen’s and Walmart, parking lots and children under the age of 18 may still go door to door for nonprofit reasons.

Other exemptions are businesses who set up shop for 45 days or less, those operating less than six hours a day and 5013c nonprofit organizations.

Peddlers must obtain a license for a $100 fee and pay for a $2,000 bond. Temporary vendors may get a license for $20 a day or $100 for the entire year.

Solicitors and canvassers need not pay a fee because they are considered a matter of free speech, protected under the U.S. Constitution.

Mayor Kirk Roccaforte asked if Faith-Based Organizations going door to door would be affected. Fukuda said the ordinance doesn’t affect them.

A no contact list will be maintained at city hall for those who already are or wish to placed on the list.

Cole asked if anyone has ever paid the $2,000 bond. Roccaforte said home alarm companies did following Hurricane Ike.

One resident in the audience asked if his ice cream truck will be affected by the ordinance. Fukuda said it doesn’t apply to him since he operates on public streets and doesn’t go door to door.

Cole asked if it would be possible for the solicitors to obtain a tag from the city showing they are registered with the city.
Councilman Eric Andrus, who is in the printing business, said a tag could easily be reproduced. Special equipment that creates hologram decals would be needed and that would be costly.

In other city business, Hilton Bacon resides on Sudduth Drive and spoke about oil coming from the street onto his driveway.
Bacon said the city’s contractor laid a cheap street. He said the oil has completely covered his driveway all the way up to the garage doors.

Drivers think they have a flat tire because some of the street residue sticks to the tires. Residents can’t walk to their mailboxes because of the oil and Bacon can’t weed eat his ditch because there are rocks from the street and she will sling rocks and possibly break a neighbor’s window.

“This depreciates our homes. Somebody needs to clean my driveway and fix it,” he said. “It’s a mess and it will get worse as the heat goes on.”

Roccaforte said he agrees with Bacon there is a problem and something will be done to correct the problem.

Jones said he will meet with the street contractor on Thursday and the street will be redone.

“There’s two or three possibilities that could had happened,” Jones said. “The application rate was too hight and there was too much asphalt, or the temperature could had fallen below 45 degrees after it was laid. It’s not acceptable and the contractor will probably redo the whole thing. We have a one-year warranty on this. We’ll fix the driveways too.”

Bacon, however, was informed he will have to clean his driveway.

Also related to streets, resident Mark Philpott resides in the Scofield Addition. He said FEMA equipment broke some curbage after Hurricane Ike and the curbs have not been repaired six years later.

He said the chunks are small at first and then get much larger. Dirt washes out when it rains and children kick the curb chunks into the street.