Brazos County proposes tax rate for 2023-2024

KBTX News 3 at Six(Recurring)
Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 8:53 PM CDT
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BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas (KBTX) - Brazos County Commissioners proposed a new tax rate on Tuesday for the 2023-2024 year.

In a four-to-one vote county commissioners approved a proposed tax rate of 0.424 which is a slight tax rate reduction of 0.005. Brazos County Commissioner Steve Aldrich was the sole vote against the proposed rate which he said would increase property tax revenue by 14.49 percent. He also argued that it would generate more than the proposed budget for the coming year.

“This will generate $15.5 million, so it’s going to generate $2.6 million more than what’s required to fund the budget,” Aldrich said.

This year the county has had to work with a no-new-revenue rate of .429 which means the county has collected no new tax revenue for 2023. That rate was set last year after Aldrich and former commissioner Russ Ford refused to attend meetings to protest the proposed rate. Without four commissioners present for a vote, the tax rate defaulted to the no-new-revenue rate.

At the meeting, Aldrich expressed the county should once again set the tax rate to no new revenue.

“We didn’t raise property taxes last year we generated a $21-million surplus,” Aldrich said. “The same principle applies if we look at the no new revenue rate this year.”

Despite the surplus, Brazos County Judge Duane Peters said he is cautious about going to a no new revenue rate for two years in a row stating it could cause future difficulties.

“It didn’t seem to impact us as much as we were thinking it might, but it still if you look at projections I think it will impact us over the next few years,” Peters said.

While the county may have not received any new revenue, Peters said commissioners were able to accomplish everything on this year’s budget.

“It did produce plenty of revenue,” Peters said. “I think they said there were 117 positions that are budgeted that aren’t filled, so you have those kinds of places that you may not spend in a particular year even though you planned to spend it, so we had money to get done everything we needed to do.”

Peters said being financially prepared for the future and the unknown is important as Brazos County continues to grow.

“We’re a growing county we almost become a metropolitan county instead of a rural county,” Peters said. “Things like medical examiner’s office, we know that we have to hire staff and that isn’t in the budget to hire staff. If you’re not prepared to do those sorts of things it’s going to impact those future courts.”

Commissioners are expected to officially set the tax rate on September 19th.

“About 70 percent of our budget of property tax goes for maintenance and operations,” Peters said. “Whatever the tax rate turns out to be, we get a lot done with the money that comes in. I think we’re very frugal with that money, we try to make sure it’s spent appropriately and I’m confident that we’ll get that done again.”