A look at the City of Bryan’s proposed 2021 budget

On Friday, the City of Bryan will release its formal budget.
Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 6:45 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - On Friday, the City of Bryan will release its formal budget for 2021. It includes spending cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but still sets out new projects with no plans to raise the tax rate.

The proposed budget shows the city is expecting to be operating with 5.3 million dollars less than expected.

“Fortunately we started out the year with a good fund balance. We try to keep about 21 million dollars in reserve funds just as a cushion. We actually started the year with 27 million, so we have something to work with without reducing services to any significant amount,” said Joe Hegwood, the chief financial officer for the city.

Hegwood says Bryan won’t be adding any new staff. In a normal year, they city would likely hire a few new police officers or firefighters.

“This year we are basically filling the open PD positions that we have, but we’re not adding any new ones and then the positions that are not public safety we’re leaving those vacant right now,” said Hegwood.

The proposed budget includes a number of capital improvement projects like Bryan Midtown Park and road improvement projects.

“Capital is really a different funding source. Sales taxes don’t go to that, and we have we borrowed money last year and legally we have to spend that money on construction projects,” explained Hegwood.

BTU is still planning to move forward with their projects as well. Hegwood says they plan on spending a lot of money in the next five years. Next year they’ll be moving power lines along Texas Avenue underground.

“These are things that they haven’t addressed in many decades and it’s just time to do those,” said Hegwood.

Hegwood says the assumption is the city will start recovering from the pandemic in the spring of 2021, but they will continue to evaluate as they go.

“It’s kind of a challenge to put that into dollars, and we will just check and evaluate as we go.”

The tax rates in the proposed budget have stayed the same, but the city says evaluations aren’t finalized yet. There will be a presentation on Aug. 11 with those numbers.

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