Brazos County Commissioners host proposed tax rate meetings

KBTX News 3 at Ten EXTENDED(Recurring)
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 9:57 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -Brazos County Commissioners met on Sept. 20 for their weekly meeting and all five members of the court were present. Although, that wasn’t the case for both of the special meetings regarding the 2022 proposed tax rate.

Precinct 2 County Commissioner Russ Ford and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Steve Aldrich have expressed their doubts about the proposed tax rate of $.48. Instead, they’d like a number around the “no new revenue rate” of $0.4294. Tuesday’s meeting was the first time in two weeks that the two commissioners showed up at the commissioner’s court. That’s because the proposed tax rate was taken off of the agenda. Taking the tax rate off of the agenda allows the court to bypass taking a vote.

The special workshop and public hearing come after weeks of conflicting views on the 2022 proposed tax rate. The reason it was scheduled was to get Ford and Aldrich back in their seats to discuss what’s next for the Brazos County tax rate.

Although, Commissioners Ford and Aldrich didn’t come back to partake in either of the meetings specifically on the tax rate. Commissioner Ford told KBTX he felt like if he showed up, he would be forced to vote on the tax rate with no collaboration between the two sides.

“I was not comfortable going because they did have on the agenda that they could make a decision at the end of the discussion,” Ford said.

Commissioner Ford said he hopes the Judge and two other commissioners come together to give them an exact proposed tax rate offer before it’s too late.

“I mean I’ve talked with another commissioner. We have had a vote on this. It was a 3-2 vote. They told me I’d get an opportunity to vote on it again but with the same outcome. It does me no good to go unless I want the $.4825, a 15% increase,” said Ford. “So until they give an offer, it’s going to be difficult.”

County Judge Duane Peters told KBTX he is disappointed with both Ford and Aldrich’s decision to boycott the meetings on the tax rate.

“We did what they expected, or asked for,” said Judge Peters. “We had the workshop where there is no action taken and then we have to have a public hearing. They didn’t show up for either one of them. That’s what they said in the past, they wanted to come up and make sure no actions were taken.”

Judge Peters said it’s not always easy as far as agreeing on items on the agenda, but this is a different route he didn’t think anyone on his court would ever take.

“To not show up and do your duty, I mean that’s what is expected. That happens all the time. You may be on one side or the other. You may not agree with whatever, but you vote you’re conscious,” Judge Peters said.

A concern for Judge Peters is the future of Brazos County if the “no new revenue rate” would be passed on Sept. 27.

“We’re gonna have to make cuts. You know, how we’ll survive for longer periods of time,” said Judge Peters. “It will be a long hard battle and you may not see it right off the bat, but you’ll see it I promise.”

The next meeting will take place on Sept. 27 to further discuss the proposed tax rate, if it is put back on the commissioner’s court agenda. Although if changes were to be made before then, Judge Peters told us they wouldn’t have to automatically go to the “no new revenue rate”.