The Brenham City Council today (Thursday) voted unanimously to adopt an impact fee ordinance. 

City of Brenham Development Services Director
Stephanie Doland gives a presentation to the city
council on Thursday about impact fees. The council
voted unanimously in favor of adopting an impact
fee ordinance for water and wastewater.

The impact fees are levied on developers to generate revenue or make up costs of capital improvements or facility expansions for new development.  They will be used specifically to help fund the city’s planned water/wastewater infrastructure improvements and reduce what existing residents pay toward that by sharing costs associated with the new development.

City of Brenham Development Services Director Stephanie Doland said while setting impact fees for roadways were at one point part of the discussion, members of the Capital Improvements Advisory Committee (CIAC), which was formed to assess the feasibility of impact fees, felt the addition of roadway impact fees would be too costly and might deter growth.

During today’s first reading of the impact fee ordinance, much of the council’s discussion concerned whether to adopt a roadway impact fee of $0, or to not adopt an impact fee for roadways at all.  Adopting a fee of $0 would allow the city to avoid having to go through the public hearing process again should it decide to add a true fee later, but City Attorney Cary Bovey said there could be a loophole where developers argue that they have “paid” the $0 impact fee in order to get out of having to fund any roadway or right-of-way improvements needed for their projects.

The council ultimately chose to not adopt a roadway impact fee.  Some members stated they would prefer not to have future councilmembers make any adjustments without having heard the impact fee presentations, while others said if the city’s capital improvement plans change, those public hearings would be needed anyway.

The city is planning for a 10-year escalated cost of $45.1 million for water facility capital improvement projects, along with a 10-year cost of $24.5 million for wastewater improvements. 

The city is choosing to set the impact fees at 90 percent of the maximum assessable rate for water and 20 percent of the maximum rate for wastewater.  Based on the recommendation of the CIAC, the impact fee per service unit would be $4,794 for water and $620 for wastewater; in practice, the developer of a single-family residence would pay $5,414 in total impact fees for that home.

Doland said there have been 10 different public meetings over the past year and a half regarding impact fees.  She and the council thanked the CIAC for their work and research during this process, with Mayor Atwood Kenjura saying, “I think we’ve taken this item very seriously.”

The ordinance will be effective July 1st.  Doland said this will give city staff additional time to meet with local businesses and address any further questions, as well as more time to adopt a policy on how to implement and administer the fees.

In other business today, the council:

  • Received a work session presentation NewGen Strategies and Solutions, LLC about a water rate study for the city.
  • Approved the purchase of two Ford F-150 responder trucks and four Dodge Durangos for the Brenham Police Department through The Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS).  The purchases amount to $107,922 for the F-150 trucks and $203,415 for the Durangos.
  • Accepted a bid from PVS DX, Inc. for chlorine and sulfur dioxide chemicals used at the water and wastewater treatment plants.  The bid is for $2,208 per ton for chlorine and $2,008 per ton for sulfur dioxide.  Public Works Project Manager Kyle Branham said the city is currently paying $2,375 per ton for chlorine and $2,250 per ton for sulfur dioxide.
  • Rejected all bids submitted in response to the first phase of the Jackson Street substation underground feeder exit relocation project, relating to the installation of 820 feet of conduit.  Deputy General Manager of Public Utilities Alton Sommerfield said the city’s budget for the project was $144,000, but the lowest bid came in at $481,488, so staff will need to reevaluate the size and scope of the project.
  • Held executive session discussion to consult with the city attorney regarding Commonwealth Development, Inc. v. City of Brenham; Fair Housing Case No. 06-22-3294-8.  The case involves the proposed tax-credit housing development on Pecan Street that was rejected by the city council in February 2021.  The council also discussed personnel matters concerning the employment and duties of the city manager.

Click here to view the agenda packet for Thursday's meeting.

What’s your Reaction?


  1. Govt was established to be a service to the people NOT a business. When laws or ordinances are passed to “generate revenue” it goes against every principle the Founding Fathers had

  2. You give tax abatement incentives to developers and take it all away with impact fees. DOES THIS MAKE SENSE?

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