Budget, Tax Talks Prevail in College Station

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Budget season is in full swing in the Brazos Valley, and College Station is making some the biggest noise with a loaded proposal. Tuesday marked the second presentation on the budget, and the first of three straight days of meetings.

In addition to talks on the proposal -- which is 20 percent more than last years -- the council also decided to hold public hearings on the rollback tax rate of just over 45 cents, which is up from the current tax rate. That doesn't mean the final rate will be up, just that discussions will begin at that amount.

Public hearings on that rate will be August 31 and September 6.

Councilman Ron Gay voted against the rollback rate, and says the city would benefit from a 10 cent reduction in the tax rate.

"In my view, that type of tax relief then goes into the economy where it is spent many times over, and we could actually have greater revenues," Gay said.

"I'd like to hear from the citizens, and having the two public hearings is going to be vitally important to giving them an opportunity to come and talk to us," said fellow councilman John Happ.

The proposed budget is just under $228 million, which is up more than $38 million from the previous year. The key areas of increase, according to city officials, are on capital expenditures and power purchased by the city.