The price wasn't right for the Bridge City City Council at Tuesday's night regular meeting to support bringing in a new airline to the Jack Brooks Regional Airport in Jefferson County.
The agenda item read for the council members to consider and possibly approve participation in guaranteed funding for the airport as requested by American Airlines. The service would resume from Southeast Texas to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The airport currently does not have airline service. The city council voted unanimously not to financially support the airline service.
City Manager Jerry Jones explained the city's budget is extremely tight at the moment and they can't afford the contribution.
The city, moreover, will contribute to the airline through their funding with the Orange County Economic Corporation.
Mayor Kirk Roccaforte asked before the vote if there was a fee to participate with the other regional entities for the airline.
Jones said Jefferson County now has $1.3 million funding for the airline. They need $1.5 million to pledge and be placed in an escrow account. He added it would be unlikely for the city to get their money back from the escrow account if they contribute.
If the city did decide to contribute to the cause, the funding would had been taken out of the city's reserves.
“I don't think we're in a position to contribute to an airport. We already have our contributions through the (Orange County) EDC,” Roccaforte said.
Outside of a regional effect, there was also a discussion how the airport would benefit the citizens of Bridge City.
The city of Orange has contributed $20,000, the Port of Beaumont $5,000 and the city of Beaumont $120,000 to the airport thus far.
In other council business, it was approved to relocate the polling site for all city elections in May to the Bridge City Independent School District Administration Building at 1031 W. Roundbunch from the current site at Bridge City High School.
Roccaforte believes the new location will be better for voters to have the election in one place and avoid confusion on election day by having voters cast ballots at different locations.
A resolution was approved authorizing the submission of a Texas Community Development Block Grant application to the Texas Department of Agriculture for sewer maintenance and general improvement services.
The total project budget for the city's TXCDBG application is $327,245, based on the budget, the city's population and the match percentages of the city. Bridge City's commitment is to inject $54,545 in matching funds.
-David Ball, for KOGT-