Brownwood City Council members will have a workshop Tuesday on City Manager Emily Crawford’s proposed $35.44 million budget for the 2018-’19 fiscal year, which is a 3.2 percent increase over the current budget.
The proposed budget does not contain any fee increases, and the current tax rate of 79.46 cents per $100 valuation is projected to remain the same.
The workshop begins at 4 p.m. with a presentation of the budget. If needed, another workshop will be held Thursday.
The city has not received its effective tax rate from the appraisal district, and the budget is based on the existing tax rate, a budget message written by Crawford states.
According to the budget message:
* Total property values increased 1.69 percent. Due to the tax freeze for seniors and the disabled, the city’s tax take on property subject to the freeze will be reduced by $106,526. Of the properties not subject to the freeze, tax revenue will increase $102,949 due to new construction and increase in values.
* The city is budgeting for a 3 percent increase in sales tax revenue, which will increase revenue by $470,000.
* There are no fee increases proposed. Revenue decreases are projected in wastewater treatment, due to the City of Early constructing its own treatment plant, reducing revenue by $258,000. Water revenue is projected to be flat.
* The water district will increase its wholesale treated water rate to the city by .92 percent. The proposed budget does not contain an increase in the retail water rate and will absorb the $14,000 cost.
* The proposed budget contains a 3 percent pay increase for all city employees, adding $429,875 to the budget. There has not been a raise for city employees since the 2016-’17 fiscal year.
Factors affecting expenses, in addition to the proposed pay raise, include:
* The costs for providing medical insurance to city employees increased by 5.9 percent, adding $130,041.
* The proposed budget includes a new approach to acquiring and maintaining vehicles. The city currently has 110 vehicles including 25 in law enforcement. The city has replaced vehicles as it could in the normal budgeting process. The average turnover rate for a vehicle is 17 years, and the fleet has aged to the point that the normal replacement rate of less than seven vehicles per year has become untenable.
The city is proposing to enter a contract with Enterprise Fleet Services to lease vehicles. Under the proposal, the city’s fleet would be reduced to 98 vehicles and would be completely replaced over five years. The Enterprise program includes all routine maintenance. It is anticipated that the annual costs per vehicle will be reduced by $2,150, including depreciation, fuel and maintenance.
* In the police department, costs are down $76,908 primarily due to the elimination of vehicle replacements in the departmental budget.
* In the fire department, costs are up $143,605 due to increases in the cost of safety and medical supplies, payroll and capital costs.
* Street – department costs are up $66,390 primarily due to a transfer of an employee from the Sanitation Fleet to allow the addition of a mechanic to the department.
* Landfill – costs are up $235,845 primarily because of capital replacements and interfund transfers.
A copy of the proposed budget has been placed on file with the city secretary and the Brownwood Public Library.