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The no-new-revenue tax rate is official for Brazos County. What happens next?

Debate begins on whether it's prudent to pull from reserve funds.
Posted at 7:50 PM, Oct 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-21 20:50:40-04

BRYAN, Texas — The deadline has officially passed for Brazos County commissioners to determine next year’s property tax rates.

No-new-revenue will be the allotment for 2022-2023. This means an average resident of Brazos County will have a slightly smaller charge on their property taxes next year. It also means the county will receive less revenue than they’d planned for in next year’s budget.

"I think we’ll have to look for efficiencies," said Russ Ford, commissioner for Precinct 2. "Which, historically the county has not had to do that. We’ve always been willing to raise taxes on our citizens, to the point that we’ve got 248 days in reserves.”

Commissioners Russ Ford and Steve Aldrich (Precinct 1) have boycotted several general meetings to ensure the county’s proposed tax rates would not be passed. These commissioners are confident that the budget will be properly funded as planned, stressing it would be okay to pull needed funding from the more than $80 million the county has in reserves from past budgetary surpluses.

“I don’t see the purpose in holding a surplus when the purchasing power of that money is decreasing rapidly, due to the costs of what that money could be used for, [prices] going up as fast as they are," Aldrich said.

Commissioners Nancy Berry (Precinct 3), Irma Cauley (Precinct 4), and Judge Duane Peters suspect that they will need to make cuts from the 2022-2023 budget.

Berry is concerned with the idea of draining the county’s reserves.

“Certainly projects can be postponed," she said. "You can always kick the can down the road, but at some point it explodes, eventually.”

As is Judge Peters.

“You build the reserves, because you’re always looking at projects that need to be done, whether it’s roads or buildings and other kinds of things coming up," he said. "That’s what I’ve always tried to do, is build reserves and spend a portion of that money on those projects that need to be done.”

Starting over the next few weeks, the court may begin deciding if changes to next year’s budget should be made.