David Ball – For The Record

It was the Bridge City City Council’s turn to adopt a proposed 2015-2016 budget and ad valorem tax rate at their regular meeting on the evening of August 18.

The council first held a public hearing on the budget and on the proposed budget and ad valorem tax rate.

It was worded: “This budget will raise more total revenue from property taxes than last year’s budget by an amount of $158,633, which is a 11.15 percent increase from last year’s budget. The property tax revenue to be raised from new property added to the tax roll this year is $12,678.”

Likewise, “City Council to hear and consider public comment regarding the proposed ad valorem tax rate for the 2015 tax year for the city of Bridge City, Texas, levied as follows”:

$.22640 per $100 valuation- Interest and Sinking Fund

$.27280 per $100 valuation- Maintenance and Operation Fund

$.49920 per $100 valuation- Total Tax Rate

No residents addressed the council during the public hearing.

During the reports session of the meeting, Mayor Kirk Roccaforte said the property behind Bridge City State Bank owned by Dr. David Olson at FM 1442 and Ferry Road, was just being cleaned and leveled out.

“I think it’s looking really nice,” he said. “There’s nothing in the works. I’m hoping there’s something nice coming in. We’re not hiding anything from the public.”

City Manager Jerry Jones reported plans for the new police station behind the Raceway filling station are still not in and the city is waiting on that before proceeding.

The water pressure tank for the Waterwood Estates system has been ordered.

The city of Bridge City has withdrawn its support for the Orange County Economic Development Corporation. Other government entities in the county have also withdrawn their support.

“We will follow suit,” Jones said. “The county said they will explore alternate ways to use the EDC. Right now we’re in a holding pattern.”

A slab was poured in back of the city hall building for the new records storage building.

Bids will be advertised for the lift stations in the city and plans are being finalized on the water filtration system.

Twenty fire plugs to be installed have been ordered and a gear box for the sewer system has been removed and sent off for repairs.

An ordinance setting forth the administrative procedures, standards and enforcement remedies used by the city in meeting the requirements of the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Phase II Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System General Permit  was approved.

Jones said this will be a “huge difference” for Bridge City.

The EPA has dictated to government entities to come up with plans, etc. to deal with storm water. A coalition was formed implementing the ordinance several years ago.

He said the city is finally in compliance with the EPA on storm water.

A firm in Beaumont has been doing most of the work. The city will actually have to write the permits and they will be required prior to construction. The permits will cost $45 each.

Jones said the city will have to educate all area builders on this, though most already know about it if they work in Orange County or in Mid-County.

A contract was awarded for a Proposed Asphalt Road Repair to Allco LLC for $739,928 in connection with the Texas Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program between the city and the Texas General Land Office. The second bidder was APAC-TEXAS, Inc.

Related to the bid was a resolution pertaining to the DRCBDG.

Jones explained $620,912 is from the Texas Department of Rural Affairs that is left over from Rounds I, II and III of disaster recovery grants. Jones said the price of materials has gone up.

There are three things the city can do: reject the bids, come up with alternates but the city can’t negotiate with the bidders, or make up the difference in funds with state money.

Louise Street is the only street along FM 408 that wasn’t worked on as the other streets were. Glynn Street, off of Texas Avenue, is in “really bad” condition and the Hamburger Depot is coming in on that street. The two street bids were for $111,143.

If $119,015 is added, the total would be $230,159. The city has that much in their account and the amount they would pay for the difference. Also, there is enough money in the account to do some more curb work.

The resolution approved is the difference between the two contracts for Allco and APAC-TEXAS, Inc.