Bridge City looks to fit budget with long-term plan
Published 12:18 am Wednesday, August 3, 2022
BRIDGE CITY — City officials have been workshopping the budget for the upcoming fiscal year as they enter the early stages of Bridge City’s comprehensive plan, which includes a long-term look at roads and water infrastructure among other items.
“It will be updateable, but it has never been done here before,” City Manager Brent Walker said of the 10-year plan. “We are going to start there. We are looking at road maintenance, because we have a certain dollar amount we can budget in there. We can do an assessment of all of the roads in the city and get the priorities.”
The city is interested in contracting a company that will take a van through every road in Bridge City and assess condition, along with core samples. City officials would use that data to create a plan for which roads receive immediate attention.
“In a, let’s say, an eight-year period, we will have touched all of the roads and then start over,” Walker said.
The data collection would also help the city apply for grants in the event another tropical storm hits the area. Walker said the city can use the current data to show how much the storm impacted the streets’ conditions.
Bridge City is also looking to elevate water storage. Walker said the funding could make the budget, but is not guaranteed for the upcoming fiscal year.
“We are also going to review all of the water lines,” he said. “We have reviewed some of them already, some of the older lines and major lines that are going to be due for replacement. That goes for water and waste water.”
Councilmembers and other officials predicted the city would grow by 200-300 residents over the next three years, which would be a continuation of a trend over the past decade.
In 2010 the U.S. Census calculated Bridge City’s population at just under 8,000 residents. In a decade since, the number shot up to 9,500. With more growth on the way, the city has to be proactive in upgrading its infrastructure.
“We know what our capacities and limitations are,” Walker said. “Our engineers are telling us the waste water plant can only do so much. When our water is in the highest demand, which is right now, we are already pushing the peak. We are about to put in Sunnyside water well, which will help in help in water volume.”
Many cities have had to adjust the current budgets due to inflation. Many municipalities spent a year’s worth of gas budget in the first half of the year as fuel prices doubled from 2021.
Walker and Mayor David Rutledge said the city council and staff are keeping the current costs in mind as they form the next budget.
“That always factors into it,” Rutledge said. “We keep our taxpayers in mind with an eye towards what we will have available for funds and how we will spend it. We want to make sure we spend the public’s money efficiently and provide the services we need, while keeping an eye open and an ear to the ground on future trends that could affect our budget.”