Local bridges see a one million dollar revenue loss

LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - The increasing violence in our sister city is causing a decrease in revenue at our international bridges, something the City of Laredo is hoping to fix with a quick solution.

"We are seeing a decline in bridge revenue," said Councilman Alberto Torres Jr. "There is about a registered one million dollar loss in revenue that we see in Bridge One and Two."

District four Councilman Torres says in a recent City Council meeting, the bridge and budget director told council that since the start of the fiscal year, which is October, they've seen a decrease in people crossing in car and on foot.

Something the councilman says may be due to what's happening across.

"We feel that the violence in Nuevo Laredo is what's attributing to this loss obviously, we run one month behind in our reports to see where we were at. In a worse case scenario we would probably see a two million dollar loss, but we are trying to address that now."

Budget director Gilberto Sanchez says the way they're hoping to remedy the situation is by enforcing a hiring freeze on the 60 vacant positions.

"Each position will be evaluated on a case by case basis, so if a position is critical for the department, we'll be hiring that position."

The bridge funding, which can be upwards of 80 million dollars, helps them balance their general fund and budget.

"Half of it will go to general fund, which is our main fund, which funds police, fire, public works and all that."

Come April the City will be re-evaluating their bridge revenue in order to get a better idea of where they stand. It's the first measure to ensure that money doesn't continue to bleed out of the city's pocket.

Councilman Torres says the low bridge numbers could affect their sales tax, since most of the people crossing are tourists or Mexican shoppers.