On any given day Roma city officials said they had thousands of cars cross the Roma International Bridge. But after violence in Mexico erupted"mostly directly across from Roma in Miguel Aleman"the bridge traffic slowed down.
"Bridge traffic has drastically dropped and the bridge isn't generating a profit bottom line, said Roma City Manager Crisanto (Cris) Salinas. It's just generating enough to cover operating expenses."
Which means the thirty percent Roma would receive from the county, after expenses, is not going to happen this year.
"We never anticipated the bridge revenue as being at zero," said Salinas.
Instead of a $9 million dollar budget the city has to try and work with an $8.8 million dollar budget.
They propose to increase water by $1 dollar, garbage by $2 dollars, and property taxes by five cents---just to name a few. Salinas said, after an audit, Starr County found that they had actually over paid Roma in the past. When they did the audit the figured out they overpaid Roma $200,000 said Salinas. Salinas said, because of this mistake, all city departments will have to keep close tabs on overtime. One of those is the police department.
"If you have your window down and a fight breaks out---you can hear it," said Captain Francisco Garcia.
He is talking about the gun battles happening just across the River.
Garcia said, like any police department along the border, they work overtime trying to keep illegal activity from crossing over.
"This is one of our hot spots for narcotics and illegal TMs, said Garcia.
But with the year TMs proposed budget putting overtime at minimum Chief of Police Jose H. Garcia said it will be tough but they will keep going. "We're going to be 24/7 protecting the citizens of Roma.
At this time there is no shortage of patrolmen---we have the same amount of people patrolling as we have in the last couple of months." As for Salinas"he hopes bridge revenues pick back up so they can once again collect a percentage.
To look at the proposed budget you can go to www.cityofroma.net