This week’s Bryan and College Station city council meetings addressed reduced budgets caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Bryan council on Tuesday voted 6-1 to apply an exception to a new state law capping the limit of new property tax revenue without an election at 3.5 percent. The exception is allowed when the governor or president issues a disaster declaration, which the governor did related to the pandemic. Mayor Andrew Nelson and councilman Buppy Simank were among those supporting city manager Kean Register’s recommendation to provide the option that would allow the city to maintain its current tax rate in the fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget. According to background information given to the Bryan council, staff projects there will be a significant reduction in sales tax revenue due to the pandemic. Register also told the council there has not been a tax rate increase since he has been manager, and he does not plan on a tax rate increase in the FY 2021 budget. Chief financial officer Joe Hegwood says this gives staff flexibility in developing the Bryan city budget later this summer.
Click HERE to read and download background information for the June 9, 2020 Bryan city council meeting.
Click HERE to read and download the resolution approved by the Bryan council on June 9, 2020.
On Thursday, the College Station council supported staff recommendations to make up three to five million dollars in lost revenue through the rest of the current budget year. Councilman Dennis Maloney noted staff was able to cover the shortfall without employee furloughs and using money from the city’s fund balance or reserves.
Finance director Mary Ellen Leonard laid out $5.3 million dollars in what she called “budget mitigation strategies”:
$3.3 million is projected to be saved by a hiring freeze and reducing expenses that began when the pandemic began in mid-March.
$862,000 will be saved by deferring for one year, a payment to the city’s retiree health insurance fund.
$475,000 in street repairs is being moved from the general fund to the roadway maintenance fund.
And $680,000 budgeted for summer parks programs was eliminated.