Mayor Rutledge Seeks Re-election

 

Last updated 4/16/2024 at 9:29pm

My name is David Rutledge, and for the past 8 years it has been my privilege to serve as your Bridge City Mayor. My family moved to Bridge City in 1960, I attended school here and graduated from BCHS in 1971. In 1973 I married my high school sweetheart, Rebecca (“Bear” Hall), and we raised our family here. Our three daughters all graduated from BCHS and have blessed us with five grandchildren. You could say we all bleed Cardinal red. I graduated from Lamar University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and began my career with Dupont’s Sabine River Works in Orange, retiring in 2013. I then worked for Neches Engineers in Beaumont for seven years, retiring “for good” in 2020.

As a proud citizen of Bridge City, I wanted to give back to the community. In the mid-1990’s, I became a member of the Park Committee and helped start our City Park. While serving on the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission, we drafted and adopted the Unified Code of Ordinances for our city. In 2005 I was appointed to fill a vacancy on City Council and served in Place 4 until term-limiting in 2010. In 2015, my desire to serve compelled me to run for City Council Place 1 and was successful. In 2016, Mayor Roccaforte reached his term limit, I threw my hat in the ring for that job and was elected.

Over the last 8 years, our city has faced numerous challenges. When I came into office, we were challenged by water quality issues. These were successfully resolved with the installation of new filtration and other equipment. In 2017, Tropical Storm Harvey came to town. Although not as catastrophic as Hurricane Ike, it still brought significant damage to our homes and our city. One of the greatest challenges during this time was the fact that Bridge City was isolated and essentially “on our own” for a number of days. Through my leadership and with the work of a great team, we were successful in not only our response during the event, but importantly during our subsequent recovery efforts.

Over the past few years, we’ve have made progress and continue to work on improving our drainage, both inside the city and at our outfalls. We have been working with the Drainage District and others to complete projects that will enhance outflow. Like all other cities and counties in this region, we continually work on drainage as it is not a “one and done” issue. The same can be applied to our city streets. In the last several years we have engaged an engineering firm to assess the condition and prioritize the repairs/repaving of our streets. With this process in place, we’re improving our streets in a planned and cost-effective way.

Fiscal responsibility is also high on our list of important considerations as we move forward. We work in partnership with a professional firm to seek out and apply for as many grants as feasible in order to maintain the lowest cost to our citizens for capital improvements. Numerous state and federal agencies offer these grants, and we’re poised to qualify and apply for them. Our new water well is just one recent project where we saved our citizens considerable funds using grants. Speaking of fiscal matters, since I became mayor in 2016, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the overall price you pay for goods and services, has increased over 27% nationwide. However, the ad valorem tax rate on our homes has actually decreased over 7% during this same time period. We are extremely proud of holding the line on taxes and spending and still meeting the needs of our citizens.

Last year I had the privilege of being elected President of the Texas Municipal League, an association of Texas cities, elected officials and city staff. The League serves 1200 cities and over 13,000 members statewide, with programs on governance, economic development, revenue and taxation issues and other topics of interest to municipalities. The League also advocates for legislation at the State level that preserves the citizens’ right and ability to govern themselves locally.

I recently started a Community Leaders Forum, consisting of a cross-section of people across the city that are interested in promoting economic development, recreational opportunities, and quality of life possibilities. We have identified about a dozen projects to pursue and are focusing in on four of them to start.

We’ve accomplished a lot since 2016, and even greater things are on the horizon. Watch the Penny Record and other media for upcoming events and activities this year. I would say it’s a great year to be a Cardinal!

Please remember early voting is April 22-26 from 8:00-5:00, April 29-30 from 7:00-7:00 at the Orange County Airport or on Election Day May 4 from 7:00-7:00 at the BC Knights of Columbus Hall or the Airport.

Thank you for your time, thank you for being part of what I’d call the best city in Texas, and thank you for the honor of allowing me to serve you.

 

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