Brownwood council holds public hearings on budget, tax rate

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin

Brownwood City Council members moved a step closer Tuesday to adopting the city’s budget and tax rate for the 2021-’22 fiscal year.

Council members are scheduled to give final approval on Sept. 14 to the city’s $36.55 million budget and tax rate of .7317 per $100 value. 

The council held public hearings on the budget and tax rate Tuesday morning, and was scheduled to have additional public hearings late Tuesday afternoon before voting to approve them on first readings.

The proposed budget is 1.3 percent higher than the 2020-’21 budget of $36.08 million.

Finance director Melanie Larose gave council members a budget presentation with highlights including:

Revenue factors

• Tax rate — the proposed rate is a reduction of 1.31 cents, or 1.76 percent, from the 2020-’21 rate.

• Average resident valuation — $118,405, up from last year’s $108,405. The average household will see an increase in its property tax bill of $56 — from $810 to $866.

• Sales tax — the city is budgeting for a 9.3 percent increase.

• Water consumption rate — the city is proposing a 1.3 percent increase in the rate because of the Brown County Water Improvement District’s increase in wholesale rates over the past two years. The average residential customer will see an increase of 30 cents a month.

• The city is proposing an increase to water and sewer tap fees to address the increase cost of meters and supplies.

• No increases are proposed for sanitation or landfill rates.

Expense factors

• A merit-based pay raise for non-civil service employees is budgeted at 3 percent of total payroll and benefits.

• Civil service pay adjustments are based on getting Brownwood employees to the average pay of comparable cities. For the fire department, the increase will range from 0 to 3 percent, along with the addition of a new firefighter. For police, the pay increase will be 3.5 percent.

• A new fire engine costing $550,000 will replace a 21-year-old engine. The fire department’s ladder truck will be paid off in 2021, and the net effect of these two items will be a decrease of $99,866 in fire department capital from last year.

• Park and downtown improvements include refurbishment of the Wiggins Park swimming pool for $150,000; two new backstops at locations to be determined; a multipurpose wall for Wiggins Park; a merry-go-round for Trigg Park; and downtown improvements including streetscaping. lighting, landscaping and public art totaling $18,000.

• Fleet replacement — Phase 4 of a fleet replacement program added $95,000 to the budget.