The Brenham City Council has approved the creation of an early retirement program for city employees.

The council at its meeting today (Thursday) approved a resolution amending the city’s human resources policy manual to allow for the implementation of the program.  Human Resources Director Susan Nienstedt said the program is designed to reward employees for their longevity at the city and provide medical insurance for a smoother transition into retirement.

City Manager James Fisher said the program will be offered every five years, with eligible 30-year employees being given the option to exercise the program any year within a certain timeframe.  Eligibility will be defined according to the city’s Texas Municipal Retirement System (TMRS) plan provisions of 20 years of service at any age, or five years of service at age 60.

The program will consist of options that include a combination of buying back a percentage of the employee’s accrued sick leave, and/or providing medical insurance for a time period of either three months, six months, or one year.  Nienstedt said this will not only allow employees to ease into retirement by providing compensation for a percentage of their years of earned sick leave, but also let them choose to continue medical insurance for themselves, and if needed, their dependents.

Fisher believes the program does more to recognize long-standing employees than “the proverbial gold watch”.



Fisher said through this program, the city will put an emphasis on filling any position that comes open with an internal candidate, even if the candidate comes from a separate department.  He said this will be done to help the city’s employees grow from the knowledge of retiring employees and become better qualified for any position that comes open.

The city will hold informational meetings with eligible employees this month to go over the details of the program and answer questions they may have.

Councilmember Susan Cantey said she thinks this is “a fabulous program”, with words of support also given by Councilmembers Clint Kolby and Albert Wright.  Upon passage of the program, Fisher thanked the council on city employees’ behalf.

During Fisher’s COVID-19 update to the council, he stated that, starting tomorrow (Friday), the Blue Bell Aquatic Center’s leisure pool will be opening on weekends to 25 percent capacity and limited hours.  The pool will be open on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.

Fisher also announced the Nancy Carol Roberts Memorial Library will open up on June 23rd to limited occupancy, but only on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Visitors will only be allowed to come in for 30 minutes at a time, and they are strongly encouraged to wear masks.

Fisher also said the city is targeting June 15th as the date when it will reopen playgrounds and sports courts, including putting the nets back up at the sporting areas.  He said the city is planning to install hand sanitizing machines near the play areas, but those details are still being worked out.

Fisher also brought up the city’s seeking of COVID-19 relief funding from the state through the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF).  At the council’s last meeting, it approved the submission of a funding application through the CRF, a program created as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide financial resources to state and local governments.  He said it will be challenging to receive any of the roughly $195,000 it is eligible to receive from the state, and does not believe the city will receive as much as it had hoped for.

Fisher said the city has been approved for a grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to extend the nature trail at Hohlt Park, but due to the TPWD needing to perform various studies, the city will not receive the funding until next spring.

Also at today’s meeting, the council:

  • Accepted the bid of J&D Construction of Bronson for $170,464 for sanitary sewer and gas extension work along Burleson Street.
  • Approved a temporary closure of state right-of-way and a noise variance in connection with the Hot Nights, Cool Tunes summer concert series. Fisher said the city still intends to have the concerts downtown, but is figuring out how to hold them while still maintaining social distancing requirements.
  • Approved a specific use permit request from the Washington County Healthy Living Association to allow additional parking as an accessory use for the Margaret E. Blizzard Senior Activity Center.
  • Approved a zoning change for the Brenham Market Square development on South Market Street from mixed residential use to commercial, research, and technology use.
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  1. My brother retired from the street dept and can barely make ends meet with his city retirement and social security. I retired from Washington County and I am better off. I wish city could have done more five years ago for the retired workers.

  2. Parks may be open most places but you are not correct about Libraries. Most Texas libraries are just now starting to re-open partially and for very limited hours. They are not fully open.
    From Bryan College Station Library: Libraries will open at 50% occupancy for come-and-go activities during limited hours 4 hours per day:
    Curbside service will be available at Mounce and Ringer Libraries and patrons are encouraged to continue placing items on hold and using the curbside and book drop services.
    Computers will be available for use for one hour, with social distancing protocols in place.
    Meeting room spaces are closed during the duration of this phased opening.
    Patrons should conduct in-person business at the libraries as quickly as possible in order to reduce in-person contact with others.
    Brenham Library is doing curbside and allowing people in for computer use 3 days per week. They are opening up more on June 23rd.

  3. Agree Cindy!!
    The state is opening in phases blah blah blah. SO over this! If you are worried about your child or yourself catching something DONT GO!
    The skate park and tennis courts are open, youth practice fields too!! The water bottle filling station is open!! What is the difference between a playground and the above mentioned!?

  4. A quick google search would reveal that almost every city from Bryan, Tx to the coast has opened their library and playgrounds fully as of last week. Is there some financial reason that the City of Brenham is dragging so far behind? If the city budget is being balanced at the expense of our children and residents and the city is using covid as an excuse we will eventually find out and vote accordingly.

    1. Why get on here to complain about what they are offering. Your not gonna make it change. They have their own guidelines they are going by so why can’t you accept that? The Library is an accommodation not a necessity?

      1. When it comes time to vote I hope there is a change. This city and the residents here deserve better. My children ask me every day if the library is open. It’s one of the very few places children can go here in town and just be kids. The love it. Playing puppet show, trains, the computers all of it. I’m tired of them being punished for something that has ended up being very misleading. This whole “pandemic” has been hyped up to be something it just is not. The numbers are not there and as you can see by the empty children’s hospitals kids are not the ones who have it and this nonsense about them being silent carries is just that -nonsense. If they were spreading covid all over they too would be sick. That’s how this works. Their guidelines aren’t fair and they are hurting the children here who have already lost enough. Playgrounds can’t open in 90 degree heat? Covid doesn’t last 90 seconds in that heat but they can’t be on the equipment? Think about how crazy that sounds. You only cited a few libraries operating that way. There are others that are open. No one here thinks what they are doing is right.

  5. My Dad retired from the city of Brenham. My uncle retired from Giddings. Both worked very hard for over twenty years each, both worked outside installing pipe and meters for the water department. My dad worked two more years for Brenham than what my uncle worked for Giddings. My dad!s retirement from Brenham is over $500 a month less than my uncle. Same job was the same pay and my dad worked more time. How can a smaller town have a better retirement?

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