The Brownfield City Council took time out Tuesday night August 3, 2021 to begin the budget sessions for the upcoming 2021-2022 fiscal year. According to the City Charter, the Council and City Manager must have a balanced budget set in place by October 1 of each year. According to City Manager Jeff Davis the preliminary proposed budget for 2021-2022 is $21,860,000.00.
During the three hour long meeting, department heads shared their capital improvements, plus began to to make plans for the next five years. Davis said, “There are many needs this coming year at the same time we have to drawdown to what is needed verses what we want.” From the police department to parks and recreation, the capital improvement plan for the next five years is estimated at $7,687,101. However none of the capital projects were determined in last nights meeting.
“What we did tonight was go through the capital items and visit with the department heads about each item. The next few meeting we will begin to whittle down the exact items.” Davis said. The council did approve a few capital expenses such as new portable radios for the police and fire departments, a new street sweeper, new “outdoor” warning signal, sports complex storage building, city RV park upgrades, 3 phase vaccuum breakers or re-closers, and other items needed for this next year.
According to Electric Superintendent Cat Gonzales, the city needs to replace these re-closers due to the high strain of electricity flowing to one side of town, which has caused several outages to a neighborhood on the east side of the city. Gonzales said,”With the new high school being built, we’ll need more energy to go to the north side of town. These re-closers will help keep everything stable on all side of the town.”
Another item during the budget meeting that was discussed was the tax rate. The City Council agreed and voted to keep the same tax rate as last year which was $0.539194 per $100 valuation. With the property value going slightly up, the city will receive $1,377,162.00 in levies, which is $141.00 more than last year. In the Texas 86th Legislation (2019) the lower and upper chambers filed a bill that put a cap on property tax rates. For the county and city, it is 3 1/2% cap and the school districts are capped at 2 1/2%. If the city was to go past the 3 1/2% increase it would trigger an election for the citizens to approve.