Brownwood city officials released City Manager Emily Crawford’s proposed $36.08 million budget for the 2020-’21 fiscal year Friday.
The proposed budget is slightly smaller — .53 percent, or just under $192,000 — than the current budget. A reduction in the property tax rate is proposed, and the budget contains no increases in utility rates or fees.
The proposed No New Revenue tax rate of 74.48 cents per $100 property valuation is a reduction from the current rate of 5.4 percent, or 4.21 cents. If the Brownwood City Council adopts that tax rate, it will be the lowest Brownwood property tax rate since 1996.
No pay raises are budgeted, but there is a $215,000 one-time bonus budgeted to be distributed to all city employees.
Factors affecting the proposed budget include:
The proposed tax rate is the No New Revenue tax rate, formerly known as the effective tax rate. This means the city is not increasing revenue over the previous year and will not be required to hold public hearings on the tax rate.
A residence valued at $108,795 (the average residential value this year) would have the yearly tax bill decreased from $856 to $810.
Because of the uncertainties related to COVID, no increase in sales tax revenue is projected and a small cushion for potential reductions is included.
The proposed budget contains significant changes for the police department from the following year including:
• The bonds on the Joint Law Enforcement Center, which the city co-funded with Brown County, will pay off in September 2020, saving $240,000.
• The contract with Brown County for the funding of the Law Enforcement Center included a provision for the city to provide central dispatching for the county, in return for the county providing jail space for city misdemeanor prisoners. This provision will not be renewed, and the city will pay the county $38,325 a year for dedicated jail space.
• A new central dispatch agreement will provide for a cost sharing arrangement with Brown County, Early and Bangs.
• A major radio infrastructure and capital replacement project added $153,000 to the budget for debt service and service fees. This is a joint venture and shared expense between Brown County, Early and Bangs.
Additionally, the street rehab budget was increased from $240,000 to $300,000.
Council members are scheduled to adopt the budget on Sept. 15.