Tommy Mann Jr. – For The Record

Property taxes could be on the rise for local property owners.

The City of Bridge City held its regularly scheduled city council meeting this past Tuesday evening and voted to approve action to consider accepting the proposed ad valorem tax rate of $0.52000 per $100 valuation at its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20, following two public hearings.

This total tax rate consists of $0.22025 for Interest and Sinking Fund and $0.22975 for the Maintenance and Operation Fund.

The proposed tax rate of $0.52000 is an increase of more than two-cents over the current tax rate of $0.49920 per $100 valuation, which was an increase slightly more than two-cents over the ad valorem tax rate in 2014.

“It’s a very small increase and basically covers the cost of doing business,” said Jerry Jones, city manager of Bridge City. “It is still below the other municipalities in the county and most in the area.”

According to Jones, based on a home valued at approximately $100,000, taxes would increase approximately $16 per year on average. Although the proposed tax rate is a slight increase to most residents, it will not impact those who are ages 65 and older as tax rates are frozen for those individuals.

The proposed ad valorem tax rate for the city is still less than the rollback tax rate of $0.53386 per $100 valuation. In order to surpass that rate, a city would have to call for a rollback election, but Jones said there are no such plans to do so.

The City of Bridge City’s proposed budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year is slightly more than $8,934,000 which is an increase of $136,012 over the previous year’s budget.

This year’s budget includes includes the typical increases to services which consist of electricity, fuel and insurance costs for the city’s employees. It will also help the city to cover a three percent salary increase for all city employees.

“There are no increases to water, sewer or garbage,” he added. “There is actually very little change to the city budget this year compared to last year as most of the line items are the same.”

The main reasons for the budget increase are because the city needs to purchase two new vehicles for the Bridge City Police Department, two new pickup trucks for the city’s other departments and a trailer-mounted excavation unit.

The first of two public hearings on the proposed new tax rate will be held at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 16, at City Hall, which is located at 260 Rachal in Bridge City. A second public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 6 at City Hall.

A public hearing on the proposed 2016-2017 city budget will be held at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 16 at City Hall.

“The valuations were a little lower than anticipated for the coming year in Bridge City,” said Jerry Jones, city manager of Bridge City. “But the tax rate is roughly the same, and it’s still below the rollback rate of $0.50013 cents. We are trying to keep it as low as we can.”

Jones said the budget increase will cover the typical increases to services such as electricity, fuel and insurance costs to the city for its employees. Also, the slight increase will help cover a 3 percent increase in salaries for all city employees.

“The only capital purchase we have budgeted is one police car,” Jones added. “There are no capital outlay items. We just need to increase the general fund and the reserves for the city. It really is a bare bones budget.”