Brentwood to approve funding for new police department, new employees

Six new employees, a new police department headquarters and a flat tax rate are all included in the city of Brentwood’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The city has proposed a $92.2 million budget for fiscal year 2019-20 that includes a $19.1 million increase from the previous year’s budget. About 89% of the increase will be used to build a new police headquarters, according to budget documents. Without that one-time expense and carry-over funds from last year’s street aid fund, the budget would have seen only a $2.1 million increase.

“While it is a significant increase overall, it’s really related to some one-time things and those two funds,” City Manager Kirk Bednar said.

City commissioners held the first public hearing for the FY 2019-20 budget May 28, and the board is expected to approve the budget following a third and final public hearing June 25.

The city’s property tax rate will be 36 cents per $100 valuation, keeping it at the same effective rate for the 29th year in a row, according to city staff. Each cent of the property tax rate generates just over $337,000, which goes into the city’s general fund, according to the budget. Last year, property taxes brought in $14.5 million in revenue.

“When I say effective rate, essentially what happens is whenever we have a property re-evaluation … by law we are not allowed to just generate additional property tax revenue by virtue of property values going up,” Bednar said. “So every time there’s a re-evaluation, which is about every five or six years, the property assessor will give us a new effective tax rate. As property taxes go up, the tax rate goes down. So the net effect is the same amount of revenue we would have generated before.”

Additional expenditures include a 4.5% salary increase for city employees as well as $800,000 for street resurfacing. The city is expected to add six new employees: three firefighters and three police officers. The positions are expected to cost about $512,000, some of which will include one-time expenditures, according to budget documents.

Bednar said the three firefighters will eventually work at the new station planned for Split Log Road.

“We’re building up to the point where we can staff ... Fire Station No. 5 when that comes online in the next three or four years,” he said. “So these three firefighters will certainly be used now but will eventually be added toward the staffing of that new fire station.”
By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.