FISHER: KEEPING BRENHAM FINANCIALLY STRONG “REQUIRES A CHANGE IN COURSE”

  

The City of Brenham will need to make significant changes to how it conducts finances in the future, if it wants to stay financially strong.

City Manager James Fisher

That was what City Manager James Fisher had to say to the Brenham City Council at a pre-budget meeting this (Thursday) morning, where officials discussed the city’s current financial state and capital projects, along with future city needs and funding challenges.

Fisher said, while the city is currently in a good spot financially, its present condition is unsustainable as expenses are growing faster than revenues. He said this is causing the city to have to defer the capital spending necessary to maintain what it has.

Fisher said, as it stands, the city needs to work on “charting a new course” in order to stay financially solid.

This new course will require realigning revenues and expenditures; using retail development and sales tax growth for property tax independence; privatizing services done better by the private sector; prudently using debt for major infrastructure; and fairly exchanging services between the city, Washington County, Brenham ISD, and Blinn College.

Back in October, the council met on retreat to discuss the appointment of a Citizen Capital Committee, pending a decision on a bond election within the next few fiscal years. The city intends to give detailed information to citizens, who may be asked to vote on approving debt issuance.  It also plans to ensure that it does not become over leveraged or overburden taxpayers with debt taxes.

Fisher added that an opportunity for a bond election is soon, due to the maturing debt over the next two to three years. He also said, if the city council says so, debt issued for drainage and utility projects will be fee supported, not tax-supported.

The council is scheduled to meet again several times in July to discuss budget proceedings.

You can view Thursday's budget presentation here.

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