David Ball

For The Record

A property owner who wanted to leave the city limits of Bridge City will have to stick around.

The Bridge City City Council denied a request from James Chatlosh who wanted to disannex his 6230 W. Roundbunch Road property from the city at their regular meeting Tuesday night.

During discussion of the matter, Councilwoman Lucy Fields asked if this were approved would it open other properties outside the city limits to be disannexed. Mayor David Rutledge answered yes, and it would have a domino effect in the city.

City Attorney Paul Fukuda said there was no legal reason why the property should be disannexed.

At the Sept. 18, 2018 meeting of the City Council, James and Melissa Chatlosh requested their property near Bessie Heights Road be disannexed from the city of Bridge City.

James said they have to get utility services from either the Orangefield Water Supply Corporation or services from Orange County and they get no services from Bridge City. He added that he wants to build a commercial metal building on his property, but he doesn’t want any conflicts between Bridge City and the county.

City Manager Jerry Jones said at the Tuesday night meeting all other city services are provided.

Furthermore, James said when he calls the Bridge City Police Department to his property, “they look at you funny when they come out.” He explained Bridge City police officers will say his property is in the county. Orange County deputy sheriffs will say his property is in the BCPD’s jurisdiction. He said for insurance purposes, he needs to show the property is covered by police, fire and ambulance for insurance purposes.

Jerry Jones, Bridge City city manager, said OWSC has the utilities certification and Bridge City can’t go into there. On the other hand, building permits are issued from the city of Bridge City.

In other Council business, the city will implement Incode Interactive Voice Response Module which will enable residents to pay their water utility bills by telephone.

Residents will type in their account number, the amount they are going to pay and their credit card number. There will be a $1.25 fee for the software.

Jones said this gives residents another avenue to pay their bills.

A presentation was given by Jones in regard to the Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey acquisition project to purchase low to moderate income residents’ homes. The South East Texas Regional Planning Commission has $1.577 million for the project.

A list is made from those who are interested and call in about the program. Letters are mailed out and information is posted in the newspaper about the program. Not only low to moderate residents must qualify for the program, but low to moderate landlords as well. Applications will be collected to get back with the City Council.

Homes will be bought at current value, an appraisal done by an independent appraiser and the value of the home determined. The house will then be torn down, the lot leveled, and the lot placed back on the market to sell.

“This is a good program for a lot of people,” Jones said.

A similar program if the public works project.

The SETRPC has $2.073 million for the project based on a 70/30 match for low to moderate income residents. The projects must fit the program’s criteria.

“There’s a lot of money delegating real soon,” he said.

Jones said some infrastructure projects that come to mind are the sewer plant, sewer lines, hazardous mitigation, replacing manhole covers and refurbishing lift stations and the acquisition program.

The Council received a presentation on the Elsie Street Drainage Project from Jones. He said the city will replace pipes stopping up the ditch in the subdivision that is going to the marsh.

The project has $221,000 earmarked and is still in the study phase. A bid sheet must be created and a contractor hired.

A joint public hearing with the Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled at 6 p.m. for Monday, November 26 to hear public comments on a proposed zone change from Single FAmily Residential to Second Commercial District.

The request if from owner Juan Ceja. The property is located on FM 408 in Orangefield Farms to build duplexes.