The City Council in Bridge City unanimously approved a 30-day extension of the Emergency Declaration of Local Disaster concerning the COVID-19 pandemic during its meeting on Tuesday. The council met via a teleconference.
There was some discussion about whether to extend the declaration with the movement nationally, in the state, and in the county to reduce restrictions. Mayor David Rutledge said the declaration keeps Bridge City eligible for any aid or grants that become available because of the pandemic.
City Manager Jerry Jones informed the council that the city has been awarded a Corona Relief Fund. The award includes $434,000 to purchase masks and other items for protection during the pandemic.
The City Hall in Bridge City remains closed to the public. Municipal employees are working and providing services through the internet and the telephone. Mayor Rutledge indicated some precautions are in the works to protect the employees in the city offices when the restrictions for the pandemic are lifted and the City Hall is open to the public again.
Alderman Carl Harbert asked what precautions were being taken for employees in the street and water departments who are working with the public during the pandemic. Jones assured that the city workers are urged to practice social distancing and have been provided with additional masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer. “We’re doing everything we can do to make sure that they’re not exposed either because all it takes is one case and this whole place is shutdown,” Jones stated.
The City Council appointed Lucy Fields to be the Mayor Pro-Tem for the next year. Tammi Fisette was chosen to be the council’s liaison to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
In other business the City Council approved a resolution requesting financial assistance from the Texas Water Development Board for the Sunnyside Water Well in Bridge City. The assistance is not to exceed $2 million.
A contract was awarded to T. Grey Utility & Rehab Company for two FEMA projects. The rehabilitation of fourteen storm drain boxes will cost the city $36,561. The bid was lower than expected according to Jones because a lot of companies need the business with the loosening of restrictions during the pandemic and lowered their prices.
During his update of projects City Manager Jones said work is continuing in Bridge City even during the restrictions for social distancing. Eleven man-holes are completed out of the nineteen being replaced. The contract for replacing fire hydrants in the city is being bid at this time.
The contractor for the Center Street ditch project has completed about 75 percent of the work done and should finish it by the end of May. The first group of ten roadside ditches is about 50 percent complete. Another group of forty streets will which have their roadside ditches cleared and are currently in the bid process.
Public Works Director Mike Lund is expected to start work on the Elsie Street ditch the last week of May. The city is doing line location now.
The grant administrator is working on the acquisition program following Harvey recovery efforts. Jones said that program is coming together for citizens whose homes were flooded.
All the parts are in for the screw press at the city’s sewer plant. The electrical work is almost finished. Assembly of the actual equipment that will hold it together has started.
Work has begun on the $2.99 million Hazard Mitigation Grant study of the outfall ditches around Bridge City. The engineers have also started work on drainage for the marsh adjacent to the city.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-