David Ball

For The Record

Waste service fees in Bridge City will be going up.

The Bridge City City Council approved increasing the sewer rate by $1.50 on minimum usage and a 4 percent increase in the garbage rate at their regular meeting on Tuesday night.

Councilman Carl Harbert asked if the increase was due to improvements made at the sewer plant. City Manager Jerry Jones said the work at the sewer plant was covered by a bond issue.

“The budget last year was water. This year the budget is about sewer,” Jones said.

He added that it’s been a few years since the city increased rates. Garbage rates increased because collection companies charge a percentage for pickup. On the sewer side, the rate increased because of the amount of testing occurring that made costs rise. Jones said this increase won’t even cover the costs of testing.

The Council also approved an interlocal agreement between Bridge City and Orange County for the joint procurement of goods and services.

Jones said this is for debris pickup from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey so the county can get their money back.

“FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) accepts a bid for the entire county,” he said. “We’re responsible for the part we picked up in Bridge CIty and we can piggyback on that. They will reimburse back to Bridge City and reimburse back to Orange County.”

Councilwoman Lucy Fields asked if the interlocal agreement was budgeted. Jones said things like this can’t be budgeted in advance of a storm.

In other Council business, Jones said the sewer line project in the city has been delayed because of excessive rainfall.

The city has been receiving information about a Harvey home buyout program “in bits and pieces.” He will meet with the buyout administrator on Wednesday to gather more information and report back to the Council on how they would like to put it together.

Jones said he’s still waiting to hear back from Action Engineering of Port Arthur on a drainage study for the city.

Harbert asked if there’s a list of streets to be repaired. Jones said the city will tie in with the federal portion of the project because the city will get better prices.

Mayor David Rutledge said the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is conduction a nationwide health survey and Orange County was selected to participate. Surveyors will be going door to door in the community.

Lastly, Jason Withers, who sits with the Bridge City City Council as the  Bridge City High School student council representative, said they’ve been combatting social isolation at school and finding ways to be inclusive and reach out to students who may not be “preppies or jocks.”