The Early City Council agreed on a 1.2 cent property tax rate reduction for fiscal year 2017-18 during its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday evening.
The rate will fall from the current 56.3 cents to 55.1 cents this year pending an Aug. 22 public hearing and a Sept. 12 final vote. Early city administrator Tony Aaron said the rate reduction was made possible because of an increase in taxable property and sales tax revenue in the city.
He said the city will gain about $16,000 in revenue next year despite the reduction.
“We had approximately $6 to 7 million in new property and new personal property added to our taxable value,” Aaron explained. “It’s a healthy budget. We’re conservative with what we’re doing. We are providing the help that the fire department needs … putting over $300,000 into street improvements, and building [the Early Visitors and Events Center].”
The council did discuss the possibility of future action from the Texas legislature, which is considering a 4 percent cap on property tax increases before rollback elections are triggered. Currently the limit is 8 percent.
The roll call vote was unanimous, with one absence in councilman B.J. McCullough.
During the meeting the council also voted to:
• Approve a variance allowing the consumption of alcohol during the Pioneer Days Festival concert at Early City Park. Pioneer Days begins on Sept. 14.
• Approve a variance allowing a fireworks display at Early City Park during Pioneer Days.
• Approve street closures on Trailer Dr. during Pioneer Days.
• Approve the letting of bids for construction of the Visitors and Events Center. The bidding is expected to take about three weeks, and the selected bid may be voted on at next month’s council meeting.
• Convene in executive session to deliberate the sale or exchange of city-owned property on Ross Dr.
Mayor Robert Mangrum also read a proclamation declaring Aug. 13 through 19 National Community Healthcare Week in Brown County. Brownwood Public Library director Becky Isbell was on hand at the beginning of the meeting to hand out special eclipse-viewing glasses to the council members and remind them about the library’s solar eclipse party on Aug. 21 from 12 to 2 p.m.