Municipal officials expect between 40 to 80 applications for the position of Brownwood police chief, Brownwood Mayor Bert Massey told members of the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce Friday.

Massey touched on a variety of topics in his remarks at the chamber’s monthly luncheon in a program billed “The State of the City.”

“Your city is in good shape,” Massey said. “We are doing better than most of the rest of the state, and the state is doing better than most of the nation… It is tough, but we’re holding our own better than most.”

Brownwood voters approved a charter amendment in May 2008 changing the elected police chief to a post that is hired by the city manager, Massey said.

“The city will be looking for an individual who can run the department as efficiently and effectively as is possible to be done in the City of Brownwood,” Massey said. Candidates will be expected to have command experience, street experience and supervisory experience, among other traits, and the city will be working with state and local police associations in the process.

The salary is expected to be in the $70,000 to $80,000 range, Massey added.

Brownwood is governed by a city charter, which is the master document for municipal government much as a constitution is for the state and nation, the mayor said. Brownwood has always had an elected police chief, but that will change in May 2010 when the current term of Chief Virgil Cowin ends.

Massey praised the current city council and city manager.

“This is a great city council,” Massey said. “Its members are people who care, who don’t have an ax to grind and each person is there to do the best they can for the city they love. This is a very good city council that you have elected.”

The mayor, who has held the position since 1984, said he believes one of the great accomplishments of the council has been the hiring of Manager Bobby Rountree, Massey described Rountree as being “as fine a city manager as any city has in the state of Texas.”

The mayor also praised the team of 278 full-time city employees, as well as the 38 certified police officers serving Brownwood – the largest police staff the city has ever had. He also applauded the efforts of the fire department, noting that the city’s ISO rating – used to set fire insurance rates – has improved from 5 to 3 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being best.

“We hope that will mean a decrease for fire insurance rates,” Massey said, possibly as much as 6.5 percent for homeowners and 13 percent for commercial property owners.

Meanwhile, the city budget was decreased by one-half of the percent for the year that began Oct. 1, and three full-time positions were eliminated. A fourth has been dropped since October.

He praised the foresight of past community leaders who created with their own money the community’s industry park in Camp Bowie by establishing the Brownwood Industrial Foundation, an arm of the chamber.

The landfill operated by the city is an asset that will help keep sanitation expenses down for residents years after the life spans of people attending the luncheon, Massey added.

He also touched on the ongoing efforts of the city, the county and the water district to influence a FEMA decision that will not only affect the flood plain level around Lake Brownwood, but also in Brownwood. An unfavorable determination could affect development throughout the county, Massey said.

Another ongoing project mentioned is the recreational complex including an aquatic center in Camp Bowie. The pool will replace the one built by the Army during World War II. The project will also provide the senior citizens program – created before Massey’s service as mayor – with a new facility at the coliseum annex, which was built to as city hall after Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall was destroyed by fire in 1961.