Six people spoke during the public hearing on the proposed tax increase by the City of Brenham. Five of the six strongly opposed the proposed $0.517 tax rate which is one cent higher than last year. Property appraisals within the city went up this year by an average of 6 percent. With the 1 cent increase in the rate, the average homeowner in the city will pay 7 percent more in property taxes this year.
Hannah De Bolt Smith, who is battling breast cancer, made a tearful plea to the council not to tax her and her husband Charlie out of Brenham.
Suzzette Moser said that the tax increase would be a burden for retired residents on a fixed income. Sally Clinton said that taxpayers are always having to cut back on their expenses, so the city should also, instead of asking for more money. Local Relator George Dillingham told council that the 7 percent tax increase was not sustainable.
Alicia Carvel stated that most incomes in the city could not support the tax increase. Scott Schaefer from Fayette County explained that municipal budgets are very complex and that the issue need a lot of study, but that he hoped that drainage projects were priority to avoid the flooding that Houston and La Grange received.
The proposed tax increase will now go before council in two votes. The first reading and vote will occur on Monday, September 18th at 8:30 AM. The second is scheduled for the regular City Council meeting on Thursday, September 21st at 1:00 PM. Brenham City Council meets on the second floor of City Hall.