EARLY — Early City Council members adopted the city’s budget for the 2020-’21 fiscal year and set the tax rate earlier this week.


The budget projects revenue of just under $8.8 million, a 23 percent increase over the current budget. The budget projects expenses at $7.66 million, a 14.50 percent increase.


The council agreed on a tax rate of 53.10 cents, down from the current rate of 54.10 cents.


Early City Administrator Tony Aaron addressed the increases in the revenue and expenses in an earlier budget letter to the council.


"This type of increase (in revenue) is very unusual and is related to overall increase in our sales tax collection as well as a large one-time audit collection," Aaron said in the letter.


"The increase is in no way a result of increases in property taxes or utility rates."


Most of the increase in expenses is attributed to public safety, Aaron said.


"For the first time in the history of Early’s incorporation, the City of Early will be hiring three full-time firefighters," Aaron said. "We will be supplementing those full-time positions with part-time firefighters and our Early Volunteer Fire Department volunteers."


Additionally, the city is entering an agreement with the cities of Brownwood and Bangs, as well as Brown County, to share the cost of dispatch and upgrade the countywide public safety communication system, Aaron said.


"In addition to all new infrastructure, the City of Early will be providing its police and fire departments with the latest in public safety communication radios," Aaron said.


The Brown County Appraisal District has certified total appraised taxable value within the City of Early at $246.35 million, an increase of $18.3 million, Aaron said.


New property value resulting from the new and recent development and construction represents just under $6 million of the growth.