The Brenham City Council will meet tomorrow (Thursday) to possibly adjust the city’s water rates.

The council will discuss an ordinance to amend the rate tariff schedule for the cost of water services. In December of 2018, the city engaged NewGen Strategies and Solutions, LLC to update the city’s water rate model and recommend water rate changes, based on new cost of service projections and consumption estimates.

NewGen initially recommended a 1.3 percent increase in water rates, but their recommendation increased to 4 percent after consumption estimates were lowered to reflect the city’s historical experience.

Under the proposed new rate structure, the average monthly residential water bill on 5,000 consumption gallons would increase 99 cents to $25.78. According to the 2019 Texas Municipal League Survey, the average bill for residences in cities with 15,000 to 20,000 people is $31.40.

The proposed new rates are effective with utility billing occurring on or after October 1st.  The city has not increased its water rates since 2008.

The council will also discuss the creation of a municipal sales and use tax. The current local sales and use tax is 1.5 percent.  Finance Director Carolyn Miller says re-imposing local sales and use taxes on residential electric and gas usage should generate an estimated $97,000 for the general fund, and $32,000 for the Brenham Community Development Corporation.

Also on the agenda, the council will:

  • Hold work session on the potential annexation of various tracts of land into city limits.  City staff are considering annexations of areas in the north, northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest, which would expand the city’s boundaries by roughly 27 percent.  There will also be work session regarding the vehicles-for-hire section of city ordinance, and a possible adoption of the 2015 version of the international building codes with local amendments.
  • Consider adoption of a tax phase-in agreement with Del Sol Food Company, Inc.
  • Discuss approval of the proposed 2019-20 budget for the Washington County Appraisal District, and the retention of funds from 2017-18’s budget.
  • Consider a bid for the Higgins Branch Creek channel restoration.  The low bidder for the project was Lindsey Construction for $664,176
  • Discuss the purchase of equipment for the city’s electric department from Techline, Inc., through the Lower Colorado River Authority material program.

The council will meet tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m., at City Hall.

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