Proposed Brazos County budget includes raising taxes

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - Brazos County's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes raising taxes.

The county wants to add $2 million to their budget for a new total of $249.5 million.

County leaders said Monday it's part of meeting the needs of a growing county.

That increase could mean around $15 more a year in taxes for a $100,000 home.

The county is also looking at doing this before new limits are put in place by the state. At the last legislative session a 3.5% cap was approved on revenue for entities including cities and counties.

The new proposed tax rate of $0.4975 per $100 valuation would be about a 7% increase. News many residents don't want to hear.

"It's going to hurt those that really don't have the income to pay for all that," said Delina Benavides who lives in Bryan. She's concerned higher taxes will be passed on to her rent.

"It's {Rent's} been going up. It went up like two years back and if this happens then that means I'll have to do it again so for me it's not good," she said.

Others like Jacob Davis of College Station want the community to be engaged with the process.

"I'm okay with a small increase there. We just hope that it's stewarded well and that they manage it well for our use, for the public's use," said Davis. “Taxes are one of those things that we don’t always want to pay for but we're grateful for the services that our tax money provides," he said.

It's been seven years since the county has raised its rate.

"When you get your tax bill, the county's tax bill is the lowest. It's lower than the school district's and it's lower than both cities so we try to give you bang for the buck," said Brazos County Commissioner Nancy Berry of Precinct 3. She said the costs for things like health insurance are climbing.

They plan to add 21 positions, buy new equipment, fund projects and give raises.

"Well, cost of living. Giving all employees a 3% raise and then the departments have 1% merit that they can hand out to individuals who've gone above and beyond. I think all our county employees go above and beyond. Property tax is the main source of income for the county," said Berry.

"I think it's important for us as a public just to keep our officials accountable and be informed and know really what the money is going to and what they are using it for," said Davis.

And if you want to weigh in about the proposed county budget and tax hike you have several chances.

Public hearings will be held in Commissioner's Court on August 27 at 1:45 p.m. and September 3 at 6 p.m.

The budget and tax rate will be adopted on September 10 at 10 a.m.

All those meetings will happen at 200 South Texas Avenue in Bryan.