Brownwood Finance Director Walter Middleton presented the city’s proposed $36.28 million budget for the 2019-’20 fiscal year in a public hearing Tuesday morning.
While it had not been previously scheduled, council members agreed to have an evening public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3.
Middleton noted that the numbers in the budget presented Tuesday had changed slightly from the proposed budget published earlier because council members had made changes in workshops. The budget is 2.66 percent higher than the existing budget and contains small increases in utility rates.
Council members are scheduled to adopt the budget on first reading Sept. 17 and on second and third/final readings Sept. 24.
The council also agreed to have public hearings on the proposed tax rate of 78.69 cents per $100 valuation Sept. 5 and Sept. 10. The council is scheduled to adopt the tax rate on first reading Sept. 17 and second and third/final readings Sept. 24.
In Middleton’s presentation, he highlighted revenue and expense factors.
• Middleton said the 78.69 cent tax rate, while the same as the existing rate, is 3.4 percent higher than the effective tax rate — the rate that would bring in the same amount of revenue in the new fiscal year as in the current year. That tax rate will generate an increase in $298,341 increase in revenue, an increase of 4.4 percent, Middleton said earlier.
• Water rate — an increase of $3 a month in the water base rate for a 3/4-inch meter, with proportional increases in larger meters proposed. The reason for the increase is that water revenue this year has been down 13 percent from last year. The city has not met water consumption revenue due to heavy rainfall.
• Sewer rate — a 3 percent increase is proposed, which would increase the minimum monthly rate by 80 cents, or $9.60 a year. The increase is because of lower water consumption. Sewer revenue is down 8.4 percent from last year.
• Sanitation rate — a 3 percent increase is proposed, which would raise the average monthly residential rate by 65 cents a month, or $7.80 annually. The increase is to cover the cost of service delivery.
• Landfill gate rate — an increase of $2 per ton is proposed.
The total monthly increase for an “average residence” for water, sewer and sanitation rates is $4.45.
• Pay raises — A proposed 2 percent pay raise for non-civil service employees adds $204,290 to the budget.
• Civil service pay increase for fire and police based on Meet and Confer is proposed at a minimum of 2 percent, plus additional raises for a total of $124,170.
• Automated Meter Reading (AMR) — Software and additional meters have been included to begin the first phase of AMR this year, increasing the budget by $80,000.
• Vehicle replacement — Enterprise lease program phase two $74,062; Enterprise lease program, year two of phase one, $66,232.
• Fire — primarily safety related equipment, $115,000.
• Landfill — guaranteed buyback for a D8 dozer of $175,000 in the budget for a dozer that is paying off this year. This amount is offset on the revenue side for the payment from the vendor.
• Potential tax note — The budget included cuts of $1.27 million for facility improvements that were needed and requested by department heads. A tax note will be proposed later to fund all or some of the costs.
Included items are resurfacing the Camp Bowie Aquatic Center pool, remodeling at Fire Station 2 and replacing the HVAC system at the Brownwood Coliseum.
The process of sizing the note will begin in November or December with funding to take place during the 2019-’20 fiscal year and the first payment in the following fiscal year.