Brownwood City Council members got their first look in a Thursday workshop at City Manager Emily Crawford’s proposed $36.23 million budget for the 2019-’20 fiscal year, and will meet for a second budget workshop at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
The proposed budget is 2.5 percent larger than the current budget and contains small increases in utility rates. The budget is based on the existing tax rate of 78.69 cents per $100 valuation.
Based on proposed utility rate increases, the “average residential customer” will see a $4.45 increase per month on utility bills or $53.40 annually, budget documents state.
City Finance Director Walter Middleton gave council members a presentation on factors affecting revenue including:
• 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 is 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 to increase 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.
• Sales tax — A 3 percent increase is projected.
Also at Tuesday’s budget workshop, council members will be presented with the topic of a potential tax note to fund facility improvements.
The proposed budget included cuts of $1.17 million for facility improvements requested by department heads. A tax note will be proposed in the upcoming year to fund some or all of the costs, which include resurfacing the Camp Bowie Aquatic Center pool, remodeling at Fire Station 2, replacement of the HVAC system at the coliseum and replacement of concrete piers at the Adams Street Community Center.
If council members are willing to consider a tax note to fund the improvements, the proposed budget can go forward. If not, the budget will have to have modifications because some of the items cannot wait, a budget document states.