Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

From the Desk of Mayor David Rutledge

Summer is starting to wind down, seems as if everyone is getting ready for school to start. A week from today it’s going to officially open up for the fall semester. This is always an exciting time for students, teachers, administrators, and parents. For everyone who drives our streets and highways, we need to be aware of school buses running their routes, of children waiting at bus stops, of the increase in traffic during the morning and afternoon “drive times”. And please, everyone remember that when that school bus is stopped and picking up or dropping off our children, for goodness sakes, STOP in both directions. In case you have forgotten, anytime a school bus is stopped and has its lights flashing, the law says you must stop from both directions and wait. Many people don’t know or never realized that this even applies to Texas Avenue (Highway 87) and West Roundbunch. They are not considered divided roadways, and therefore you MUST stop. And a big no-no is texting or using your phone in a school zone. The law is not flexible on that law, and it will be strictly enforced in Bridge City. Please keep our children in mind as you drive around town.

Speaking of West Roundbunch and traffic, with the increased traffic during the school drop off and pickup hours, it may be a little more difficult to get around that area during those hours. The project to widen that road is starting to pick up speed. As you’re driving down FM 1442, please be mindful of the folks working on that job, slow down as you approach a work zone, pay attention to the flaggers, follow their instructions, take a few minutes extra time to give them the space they need to do their work. A number of road construction workers have been killed and injured recently because of people speeding through work zones, people not paying attention to what’s going on. For everyone’s safety, don’t text and drive, especially in construction zones. Leave a couple extra minutes early if you’re going through this area. It will save you some tense moments, and it may save someone’s life.

Like the county, the school districts and other cities in the area, it’s municipal budget time in Bridge City. Your City Council and City Staff are hard at work on next year’s budget. We’re working, as always, with an eye toward providing the services our citizens want and need while keeping our tax rate down. This past year we’ve experienced some serious threats to our current budget in the form of higher fuel and other prices. This trend is expected to continue into the next fiscal year, and we’re having to factor that into our budget numbers. With all the growth the City experienced last year and that we expect will continue this year, our tax base (and population) has grown. This is good news for taxpayers in that our city tax rate will be lower this year than last year. We’re firming up the numbers now, but they’re looking pretty favorable for about a five percent decrease in the rate this year over last. Of the two factors that go into how much ad valorem taxes that a property owner pays, namely property value and tax rate, the City only controls the tax rate. The other component, property value, is set by the Orange County Appraisal District with guidelines from the State Comptroller’s office. We can’t do anything about that, but we are working hard to make sure the factor we CAN control is as low is we can make it and still maintain services that you, the citizens want.

That’s about it for now. See you around town. Take good care of “Bridge City, the Gateway to Lake Sabine.”


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