During Tuesday morning’s meeting of the Brownwood City Council, a motion to consider an ordinance on second and third/final reading setting charges for fees, rentals, licenses, and permits for the City of Brownwood for the 2023-24 fiscal year was tabled.
Marc Followwell, on behalf of the Brown County Outlaws select baseball organization, spoke out regarding newly proposed fees for travel teams who use the Bert Massey Sports Complex.
Practice fees have not been charged in the past, but will be charged to travel teams going forward, which Followwell conceded. The amount of the fees, however, is what was protested. Followwell stated the Brown County Outlaws organization, which consists of more 12 teams, would owe in excess of $14,000 a year to conduct practices and tournaments under the City’s presented plan.
City of Brownwood Parks and Recreation and Community Facilities Director Roland Soto disputed the price Followwell told the City Council, and added there would be different tier levels which would make the projected fee lower than what Followwell presented. Soto also projected there were at least 35 local travel baseball and softball teams that will use the field in a given year.
Council members Ed McMillian and Melody Nowowiejski spoke regarding their concerns about potentially charging taxpayers of the City of Brownwood so much for the use of the fields, but were in favor of out of town teams paying potentially larger fees to compete in tournaments.
Council member Draco Miller Jr. addressed the fees charged by other nearby cities for the use of their fields, and stated the City of Brownwood also provides maintenance staffs at their tournaments – not common among the other cities. Miller shared the costs those other cities charge their youth teams with Followwell, who asked for additional information regarding the mean household income of the residents of those cities as well.
Discussion then centered around striking the Massey Sports Complex portion of the fees from the ordinance, while approving all others, as the fees will not go into effect until Jan 1, 2024. City Manager Emily Crawford then suggested tabling the motion – to keep the entire ordinance intact, with impending amendments – until the next City Council meeting on Sept. 26.
Followwell voiced support for the idea and suggested select team coaches meet with city officials sometime in the next two weeks to work out a fee arrangement that works best for all parities.
The City Council then presented the motion to table the decision, which passed unanimously.
“The goal of the City is to help manage the conditions of the fields with additional uses with practices, as well as ensuring that we have a good way to schedule those practices with the number of teams that request usage,” Crawford said after the meeting. “What other cities do is set in a fee structure for practices as well as tournaments, so that is one option we are looking at to manage that issue. We are going to continue to work on that and come back to the Council with some alternatives for the next City Council meeting on Sept. 26.”
In other business, following an executive session the City Council amended a purchasing contract of the property at 200 Carnegie to $124,500 to allow for repairs.
“The City Council did take action a few weeks ago to purchase of 200 Carnegie, and since then there has been some further negotiation with the property owner so what the Council did today was approve amending the purchase price for that contract,” Crawford said.
Also Tuesday, the City Council on third/final reading approved the tax rate of $.6659 per $100 valuation and the Brownwood Municipal Development District Budget.
Other items approved Tuesday were:
- A bid in the amount of $61, 607 to Heart of Texas Mechanical for a two-year HVAC Maintenance contract to maintain and conduct routine maintenance on HVAC systems belonging to the City of Brownwood. The price is approximately $19,000 less than the previous contract, according to Public Works Director Henry Wied.
- $10,000 to Greenleaf Cemetery to purchase a new HVAC instead of equipment, and $5,333 for internal street signage. Historically, the City has provided $5,000 in materials for street repair, and the material cost for the signs is $333.
- $246,447 in proceeds from the sale of the former Fire Station No. 1 will be placed in a new Special Purpose Fund for Event Center capital expenses.
- The three-year Meet and Confer Agreement between the City of Brownwood and the Brownwood Municipal Police Association, which calls for a 10% increase in base pay for Year 1, a 4% increase for Year 2 and a 4% increase for Year 3. Also, an increase in education pay will feature a Bachelor degree boost of $25 to $125 a month.
- Authorized the City Manager to sign a Solid Waste Disposal Contract for Waste Connection Lone Star, Inc. to dispose solid waste at 95% of the city scale rate of $49 per ton.
Actions passed in the Consent Agenda include:
- an ordinance on second and third/final reading on a request from Howard Payne University to close and abandon a developed alley that is 20′ wide and 202′ long and located in the McClelland Addition Block 11, 12. The alley is west of E. Lipscomb Street and lies between Center Ave and Clark Street.
- an ordinance on second and third/final reading adopting the 2021 Editions of the International Building Code; International Residential Code; International Property Maintenance Code; International Mechanical Code; International Fuel Gas Code; International Existing Building Code; International Energy Conservation Code; International Plumbing Code; International Fire Code; and the 2020 Edition of the National Electric Code for the City of Brownwood.
- an ordinance on second and third/final reading approving a negotiated settlement between the Atmos Cities Steering Committee and Atmos Energy Corporation regarding the company’s 2023 rate review mechanism filing.
- an ordinance on second and third/final reading setting charges, fees, rates, and deposits for customers on the Brownwood water, sewer, and sanitation system for the 2023-24 fiscal year.