The city of Bryan’s property tax rate will remain the same for the 2020 fiscal year, according to the budget proposal currently before the Bryan City Council.

The proposed budget includes $70 million for the forthcoming regional park along Villa Maria Road, to which Bryan Mayor Andrew Nelson referred Tuesday as the anchor of the Midtown development project. 

The city announced that the 2020 budget, if approved, would raise more total property taxes than last year’s budget by $2.34 million, or 6.6%. Of that amount, about $904,000 is tax revenue from new property added to the tax roll this year. 

No rate increases for water, wastewater or solid waste services are proposed. The budget proposal includes funding for seven new positions, including three new police officers.

The city’s proposed tax rate would continue at $0.6299 per $100 valuation, with $0.153 per $100 designated for debt service.

The proposed budget for all funds is $404,047,631, a decrease of 0.3% from the current budget total.

Nelson said Tuesday that the budget proposal reflects the city’s commitment to public safety. The proposed budget includes single-digit percentage funding increases for Bryan’s police and fire departments.

“The recommendation from staff is to keep the tax rate the same, and I certainly will not support a tax rate increase,” Nelson said. “I think we can achieve our goals without raising the tax rate. We’re a fast-growing city.”

Bryan residents will have opportunities to weigh in on the budget proposal and tax rate in the coming weeks. The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

Brazos County Judge Duane Peters unveiled a proposed 2020 county budget last week that includes a 7.44% tax increase for county residents.

City officials expect sales tax revenue to rise by almost 9% and revenue from the hotel occupancy tax to go up by approximately 15%. According to city data, 33.4% of general fund revenue comes from property taxes, with city sales tax accounting for 29.7% of revenue.

According to the proposed budget, fines, forfeitures and penalties are anticipated to total $1,648,000 — or 0.4% — of total revenues for the city. The budget proposal also includes funding for more than a dozen road projects, one new firefighter, an information technology employee and one additional building inspector position.

Nelson said that public-private partnerships have helped to lower the cost of the regional park to the city, and he credited the city’s finance staff with their guidance on how to finance the park. The park will be built on the site of the former Travis B. Bryan Municipal Golf Course.

“The total investment in the park will be much larger than that, but it’s still a large number, and it still requires us to make a long-term decision,” Nelson said. “We will capitalize it as 30-plus years of debt, because it’s a generational-type decision. It makes sense to make that a very long-term loan.”

The multipronged Midtown development project, which residents got opportunities to look at last week, will play a considerable role in future city budgeting processes. Nelson said the park, in his estimation, is an early part of the Midtown process.

“We’ve been working on South College. We’ve been putting money into Midtown, and we’re going to keep putting money into Midtown,” Nelson said. “From Downtown Bryan to Texas A&M is going to be a corridor for renewal. The park is the midpoint anchor, and we are going to continue to make visionary investments to make that a beautiful thoroughfare.”

According to previous reporting from The Eagle, Bryan officials said portions of the large-scale, long-term project could be formally approved in the coming weeks, with some portions being completed by late 2021 and the entire project taking 15 years or more to complete.

The City Council will have a public hearing on the proposed budget at 6 p.m. Aug. 27. It will hold public hearings on the tax rate proposal on Sept. 10 and Sept. 17, both at 6 p.m. 

To view the Bryan budget proposal, visit https://docs.bryantx.gov/fiscal/FY2020ProposedBudget.pdf.

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