Brazos County Commisioner races [Staff Warning 5/25/2024]

52,792 Views | 333 Replies | Last: 2 hrs ago by ChampsAg
deh40
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Reload84 said:

Interesting. How do you open this to view these documents?
Click on the green carrot and it gives list of forms you can click on to open. I had to do it on my desktop, couldn't get it to open on mobile device.
oldag76
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davido said:

oldag76 said:

Final budget they rammed down Aldrich's throat produced $20 million in excess revenue.


Spot the lie. I'll narrow it down for you.

Might call the county office and get clarification on that "surplus" amount that's claimed. it paints quite a different picture than what you're thinking.

While you're talking, ask a little more about the budget creation process. The timeline. The conversations. Find out how many meetings he sat through along the way, leading up to his grandstanding no-show? How many years did Aldrich sit there and "rubber stamp" things, as you say? Right up until what year? What's happening in this year that's different from the previous ones?

Dig just slightly deeper and what you find may not as neatly match up with what you've been fed to believe.

Cheers.
The info I read and Berry when questioned did not deny that tax collections were well bigger than the budget. My recall is the number was $20 million, " but we really need rainy day funds". Well we started 2024 with about $100 million in rainy day funds, yet the many roads sat untouched. Took almost 2 years to repair the washout on I&GN. I CALLED THE county Engineer and got nothing but gibberish about why it was taking so long. Guaran-darn- tee you if the Judge had to take the detour everyday it would gave been fixed when it should have.
As for Aldrich absences before the rate fight, you better hope you don't have to spend so much time at M.D. Anderson getting the treatments he was. What a cheap shot! Or should I say " spot the lie"?

Edit to add that the post 2 above mine calls out the numbers a little more exactly, a $21 Million surplus above budget on to of a $117 million surplus on hand
techno-ag
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Agreed. "Need for a surplus" is code for "No tax cuts, and increases are likely needed."
Its Not Rocket Surgery
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It's Steve Aldrich for me. Proven track record and darn good people. The other race isn't my precinct, but Brown would get my vote over Berry based on what I've seen from the two candidates.
davido
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Cancer is terrible. We've all been touched by it and it sucks, but this has nothing to do with that. Aldrich was in the meetings. He participated all the way up to no-showing the vote.

He walked around with each department and loaded up the shopping cart, making everyone happy. Then when it came time to cast the vote and pay the bill, he was nowhere to be found. That's not leadership.

You have an issue with the spending, the standup thing to do is to address it at entry when you're creating budgets, not at exit when you're just finalizing it. Have those hard conversations with the people you're supposed to be working with to solve the problems. Don't act as if you're in the same page and throw a tantrum at the end. That's grandstanding politics at its worst.

Again, the claimed surplus is not a surplus. That claim is not correct. Money that is already budgeted for future expenditures but is just waiting in the fund to be spent is not a surplus. If you have $10,000 in your bank account but you have $10,000 in committed expenses before your next deposit, you don't have a surplus. It's as honest as "The Affordable Care Act" moniker.

I do 100% agree on IG&N repairs though. That drug out way longer that seemed reasonable. Very disruptive. Our precinct deserves better. I'm hoping we'll have better leadership for our precinct this time next year.

Cheers
deh40
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davido said:

Cancer is terrible. We've all been touched by it and it sucks, but this has nothing to do with that. Aldrich was in the meetings. He participated all the way up to no-showing the vote.

He walked around with each department and loaded up the shopping cart, making everyone happy. Then when it came time to cast the vote and pay the bill, he was nowhere to be found. That's not leadership.

You have an issue with the spending, the standup thing to do is to address it at entry when you're creating budgets, not at exit when you're just finalizing it. Have those hard conversations with the people you're supposed to be working with to solve the problems. Don't act as if you're in the same page and throw a tantrum at the end. That's grandstanding politics at its worst.

Again, the claimed surplus is not a surplus. That claim is not correct. Money that is already budgeted for future expenditures but is just waiting in the fund to be spent is not a surplus. If you have $10,000 in your bank account but you have $10,000 in committed expenses before your next deposit, you don't have a surplus. It's as honest as "The Affordable Care Act" moniker.

I do 100% agree on IG&N repairs though. That drug out way longer that seemed reasonable. Very disruptive. Our precinct deserves better. I'm hoping we'll have better leadership for our precinct this time next year.
It absolutely was a surplus. Thank goodness Aldrich and Ford stood up for their constituents. What it got them is a Peters team hand picked opponent. They managed to take out Ford in the last election, didn't quite succeed with Schaefer against Aldrich so now a second attempt with Nettles.

Nettles was out campaigning in our neighborhood. When told by a resident they were supporting Aldrich, his only comment was Aldrich had already been a Commissioner for 7 years. If that is the criteria we are using, then I guess he feels Berry and Peters should be gone as well.

As for the IG&N project, that was 100% blocked by Peters. Aldrich had been pushing for the project and the County Engineer had it as a top priority project in their department. It was not a Peters pet project, just like the County stretch of Greens Prairie, so it got his standard we don't have the money. Lo and behold, when he was not the budget director anymore the money appeared.

If they are successful getting Berry re-elected and Nettles elected, they will have accomplished completing an entire rubber stamp Court for Peters.
oldag76
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davido said:

Cancer is terrible. We've all been touched by it and it sucks, but this has nothing to do with that. Aldrich was in the meetings. He participated all the way up to no-showing the vote.

He walked around with each department and loaded up the shopping cart, making everyone happy. Then when it came time to cast the vote and pay the bill, he was nowhere to be found. That's not leadership.

You have an issue with the spending, the standup thing to do is to address it at entry when you're creating budgets, not at exit when you're just finalizing it. Have those hard conversations with the people you're supposed to be working with to solve the problems. Don't act as if you're in the same page and throw a tantrum at the end. That's grandstanding politics at its worst.

Again, the claimed surplus is not a surplus. That claim is not correct. Money that is already budgeted for future expenditures but is just waiting in the fund to be spent is not a surplus. If you have $10,000 in your bank account but you have $10,000 in committed expenses before your next deposit, you don't have a surplus. It's as honest as "The Affordable Care Act" moniker.

I do 100% agree on IG&N repairs though. That drug out way longer that seemed reasonable. Very disruptive. Our precinct deserves better. I'm hoping we'll have better leadership for our precinct this time next year.

Cheers
Responsible budgeting includes CAPEX expense planning, ESPECIALLY WHEN A KNOWN EXPENSE LIKE YOU DESCRIBE. You budget for it as a line item "CAPITAL EXPENSES". If you think just socking away millions of dollars over several years of surpluses is good leadership, you need to study up!
Passwordgone
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If you're listening to KORA today and a political advertisement airs for Nancy Berry, PAY ATTENTION. It's a testimonial ad by Celia Goode-Haddock, who explains, in part, that the Brazos County Commissioners Court has no control over our annual Property Tax Amounts and that it is the State that needs to cap property valuations, in order for Taxpayers to experience any relief. This is the gist of the ad, as I didn't get the exact quote, but I would love to find a link to the digital ad or transcript. At best, it demonstrates an ignorance of the property taxation equation…at worst, it is egregiously disingenuous with lesser informed voters. I didn't realize that even local politicians stooped to these levels…Sad.

The property tax rate CAN affect our taxes. As property values go up, the county CAN affect property tax amounts we pay. If the tax RATE is lowered to an amount that takes those higher property values into account and not by a token rate cut we do not have to pay unnecessary taxes.

Aldrich and Ford proved that in 2023 tax year, as they forced a "no new revenue" tax rate and Brazos County STILL had a $20 million surplus, with over $115 million in reserve.

It appears the judge and other commissioners, especially Berry, do not want to operate in the best interests of the people they were elected to represent
davido
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oldag76 said:

Responsible budgeting includes CAPEX expense planning, ESPECIALLY WHEN A KNOWN EXPENSE LIKE YOU DESCRIBE. You budget for it as a line item "CAPITAL EXPENSES".


Exactly my point. Ignoring what the money is for doesn't make it a surplus.

Telling a department that their budget numbers look OK to their face and the coming in behind them to vote against it is a political stunt. if you celebrate that behavior, congrats, you have your guy. But if Aldrich actually cared about really cutting costs he'd look closer at the actual department budgets and cut it with them beforehand. He could even look at his own outsized expenses compared to other commissioners if he wanted to really make a statement. But alas there is no spotlight or grandstanding to be done behind the scenes.

It should be seen for the coordinated political setup that it was. A gross one at that.
oldag76
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davido- your "business" issues with Aldrich don't add up, must be personal….
taxpreparer
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Passwordgone said:

If you're listening to KORA today and a political advertisement airs for Nancy Berry, PAY ATTENTION. It's a testimonial ad by Celia Goode-Haddock, who explains, in part, that the Brazos County Commissioners Court has no control over our annual Property Tax Amounts and that it is the State that needs to cap property valuations, in order for Taxpayers to experience any relief. This is the gist of the ad, as I didn't get the exact quote, but I would love to find a link to the digital ad or transcript. At best, it demonstrates an ignorance of the property taxation equation…at worst, it is egregiously disingenuous with lesser informed voters. I didn't realize that even local politicians stooped to these levels…Sad.

The property tax rate CAN affect our taxes. As property values go up, the county CAN affect property tax amounts we pay. If the tax RATE is lowered to an amount that takes those higher property values into account and not by a token rate cut we do not have to pay unnecessary taxes.

Aldrich and Ford proved that in 2023 tax year, as they forced a "no new revenue" tax rate and Brazos County STILL had a $20 million surplus, with over $115 million in reserve.

It appears the judge and other commissioners, especially Berry, do not want to operate in the best interests of the people they were elected to represent


Funny thing is; Aldrich and Ford were not even trying for a " no new revenue" rate. They each wanted a smaller tax rate than the rest were demanding. Since Peters would not even consider a lower rate, they boycotted the vote, which forced the "no new revenue" that was even lower. A surplus still happened.

I have said form many years that the Tax Assessor is the problem. An unelected person sets property values which allows the elected officials to say, "I lowered your taxes." When they really mean, "I increased your taxes, but lowered the rate a bit so I can say I lowered your taxes." My solution is that you pay property taxes based on the value of your property when you purchased it. Elected officials use that aggregate value to determine the tax rate for the budget. If voters do not like the tax rate, they can change the officials in the next election cycle.
Reload84
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Your comment is an example of how confusing the tax rate issue is -- and also illustrates the misinformation that's being spread in this campaign. My understanding is that the budget vote and the vote (or no vote) on the tax rate are two distinctly different issues. If I remember correctly I think all of the Commissioners voted to approve the county budget. This was the outcome of many meetings with department heads, etc.

The tax rate vote did not occur because Commissioners Russ Ford and Steve Aldrich strategically refused to attend only the meetings when the tax rate vote was on the agenda preventing the quorum necessary to conduct a vote. By default the county had to adopt what's called a no new revenue rate. Aldrich and Ford did this apparently to prevent the County Judge and other Commissioners from adopting a tax rate that would have collected more than was needed to fully fund the budget and allow for reasonable reserves. The actions that Ford and Aldrich took saved taxpayers millions in unnecessary taxes--and even with the new revenue (from increased property appraisals) was still more than enough to add to the county's budget surplus.

The real story (or question) here is why is there such an effort to squirrel away more money than is needed to run the county?

I'd rather pay lower taxes and spend that extra money on the things my family needs in this brutally tough economy rather than fund the power hungry elites.
GSS
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Today I heard the Goode-Haddock ad, supporting Berry....and yes, it COMPLETELY put any additional tax burdens on appraisals, claiming the same "not something the Commissioners can fix", so a partial truth, spun as the only reality, only a mention of lowering the tax rate, NOT the tax burden.
Brian Alg
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Do people believe the Brazos County Appraiser is systematically valuing property above market value?

Edit: also, if the appraiser were valuing everything 15% over market value. The taxing entities would just reduce the tax rate to compensate, right? Commissioners (and councils, and school boards) decide how much they want to collect for the budget and the tax rate is set based on what they expect the taxable values to be, right? If taxable value increased a bunch, they would just lower rates if they didn't want to increase the budget.

Focusing on the property values seems like misplaced blame.
Brian Alg

Brazos Coalition for Responsible Government
deh40
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Even if you use tax rate alone, I don't know where she got 20%

2017. .485
2018. .485
2019. .4975
2020. .495
2021. .4935
2022. .429411
2023. .4097

Math may not be my strong suit, but I think that is closer to 15%
CatPit1
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100% agree on Steve Aldrich and Fred Brown!
Hittag1492
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Brian Alg said:

Do people believe the Brazos County Appraiser is systematically valuing property above market value?

Edit: also, if the appraiser were valuing everything 15% over market value. The taxing entities would just reduce the tax rate to compensate, right? Commissioners (and councils, and school boards) decide how much they want to collect for the budget and the tax rate is set based on what they expect the taxable values to be, right? If taxable value increased a bunch, they would just lower rates if they didn't want to increase the budget.

Focusing on the property values seems like misplaced blame.


You may be missing the point as far as the dislike for Berry and her group if that is what you are defending. I am not entirely sure what you are saying though to be fair.
Reload84
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People are smart and get it. There's robust discussion on this board and thanks to TexAgs for providing a forum for information sharing and crowdsourced journalism. It's time to connect the dots, follow the money and influence, and get out to vote. Early voting is underway through Friday, and the election is a week from Tuesday.

It's fascinating to look at the races for Brazos County Commissioner and all the back-channel maneuvering during the campaign. The political tax and spend machine is apparently alive and well in Brazos County. They're hoping you're not paying attention. Here's a few things to think about that we've witnessed as you consider how to cast your vote:

  • Political elites and business "luminaries" hold a fundraiser at the former Bryan mayor's home to kick off the campaigns for incumbent Nancy Berry and candidate Bentley Nettles last September. Why are these elites so involved when most don't even live in these precincts?
  • How does a distinguished former Congressman get recruited to help one candidate spread her disingenuous disinformation about lowering tax rates? Are they hoping you aren't paying attention and can be easily misled?
  • Information surfaces about a "local" Political Action Committee established to support select candidates with an allegiance to the tax-and-spend cabal in Bryan and Brazos County. There's reported big funding from a Brazilian National---raising serious questions about compliance with federal election laws. Check out the story as reported here on TexAgs Politics Board: https://texags.com/forums/16/topics/3443308/replies/66938210
  • These races could end up being some of the most expensive campaigns for Commissioner in Brazos County history. Why does this tax and spend cabal want so desperately to keep Nancy Berry on the Commissioners Court? Why do they want to oust a dedicated tax fighter like Steve Aldrich? (Apparently, he's asked too many questions and has taken actions to block tax hikes.) Look at the Campaign Finance Reports here and judge for yourself: http://cf.vistasg.com/BrazosCo/
  • Watch the endorsements in these races for County Commissioner. Special interest groups are heavily involved in both the Nancy Berry and Bentley Nettles campaigns. Why? Who do they represent? What do they stand to gain? Why is it many of these folks just turn up at election time even when most people don't even know who they are?
When average people pay attention and share information, the politicians and tax and spenders get nervous because they fear they could lose power.

People know for sure that the amount of money we pay in taxes is going up. We're paying more for everything, and businesses and families are really struggling. The elite are insulated from this reality. We average folk don't benefit from sweetheart deals and the good old boy (or girl) network that breeds favoritism.

As a homeowner and small businessperson, I'm supporting the two candidates who have integrity, are independent thinkers, and who will work hard to prevent unnecessary tax hikes and stop the crazy spending and budget tricks: Steve Aldrich for re-election to Pct 1 and Fred Brown for Pct 3. I'm also supporting Russ Ford for Brazos County Republican Chair. He's the guy who helped save taxpayers millions and then was taken out by the tax and spend cabal in the last Commissioners election.

Encourage your friends and neighbors to get up to speed on the issues and vote -- if not we could all end up paying dearly in higher taxes and surrender total control to the tax and spend elites.

They're hoping you are not paying attention. Let's prove them wrong and vote smart!








Passwordgone
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Speechless!! What a concise summary of most thoughts on this thread!!
MonsterMash13
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Nettles is on the same side and endorsed by those who are the very ones responsible for the property tax increases. Don't be fooled by a smile and personal visit.
MonsterMash13
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The truth about Nettles is that he was recruited to run against Aldrich by the very people we want voted out of there! Go see it for yourself. Bryan Mafia, Flores (a Berry endorsement), and standing Commissioners. Of course they want him to run as they want another "yes" vote instead of losing precious tax money again. We as voters must do the research on candidates.
PanAg83
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It is absolutely accurate. The last tax rate vote reduced the rate an additional 5% beyond what the no new revenue rate created, and to be clear, there was not a vote to go to the no new revenue rate, it was forced without a vote.
PanAg83
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Interesting points raised here. Here are my responses.
  • The first bullet seems to relate to the lack of understanding of what it takes to run a campaign. As a supporter of Commissioner Nancy Berry who lives in her precinct, I'm proud that she has sought out diverse groups of supporters throughout the areas of Bryan, College Station, and Brazos County that she represents. When you run a campaign, you actually try to gather for fundraisers and community events. This event was no different. Most of them would be surprised to find out they're considered political elites and "luminaries."
  • It's called a 3rd party validator, and I'm glad former Congressman Flores is carrying this message. By disingenuous, I believe you likely mean, unfortunately for your sake, a true message. If you have cut the tax rate by 20%, why not share it, and why not indicate that she voted for the largest rate cut, because it is TRUE! Math is hard sometimes, but this is not. To those that say a 20% rate cut was not helpful since 2017, would they rather it not have happened?...
  • I too have concerns about the PAC, but to Nancy's credit, she does not show a PAC contribution the noted PAC.
  • I think by Special Interest Groups your referring to long standing Brazos County Voters, and Nancy is proud to have their support. If you're mentioning groups like the local Association of Realtors and the Greater Brazos Valley Builders Association, these are groups that meet with all candidates, ask questions, and every candidate gets a chance to secure an endorsement. Nancy earned the endorsement of both. This sounds like another sour grape moment for the writer and the candidates supported.

We deserve responsive, efficient, and effective county government. We deserve appraisal reform to address constantly rising taxable values. Commissioners should continue to cut the rate and plan for Brazos County's Future. We must fund infrastructure projects by providing seed money and seeking state and federal cost share when possible to address major highways like HWY 6, 2818, 1179, 21, and others. Folks these projects don't pay for themselves. The Precinct 1 Commissioner and others would have you believe their are significant reserves and that the no new revenue rate property tax yielded a $21 Million Surplus. This is not truthful. The no new revenue rate is aptly named because it generated NO NEW REVENUE! Funds were shifted from fund balance to meet the revenue shortfall and ensure that residents did not see a gap in services delivered. The people that are telling you there is $100M plus or minus $40M in reserve do not understand basic accounting. These items are allocated to be spent. Shame on them for painting a disingenuous picture of County finances.

We must balance providing permanent relief to taxpayers and investing in our future. People are hurting and we must ensure we decrease the burden Brazos County Property Taxes place on them, but if you look at your tax bill, we need to continue to address tax burden across the system. The Texas Legislature can help by continuing to reduce burden and not sending unfunded mandates to our local governments. I find it laughable that Fred Brown would like to serve in a paid position as County Commissioner after spending 7 terms sending unfunded mandates that the Commissioners Court is subject to.

As a homeowner and small businessperson, I'm supporting Commissioner Nancy Berry, and I hope you'll join me.

Encourage your friends and neighbors to get up to speed on the issues and vote.

They're hoping you are not paying attention. Let's prove them wrong and vote smart!

skipster
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[We do not allow unsubstantiated rumors or allegation on this board including calling a candidate shady or crooked, or for sale or any other terminology like that without facts to support the allegation. -Staff]
davido
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PanAg83 said:


The Precinct 1 Commissioner and others would have you believe their are significant reserves and that the no new revenue rate property tax yielded a $21 Million Surplus. This is not truthful. The no new revenue rate is aptly named because it generated NO NEW REVENUE! Funds were shifted from fund balance to meet the revenue shortfall and ensure that residents did not see a gap in services delivered. The people that are telling you there is $100M plus or minus $40M in reserve do not understand basic accounting. These items are allocated to be spent. Shame on them for painting a disingenuous picture of County finances.




Stop gaslighting with facts.
Hittag1492
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[Post your opinion without using insulting language and your post will stay on the thread. -Staff]
TChaney
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Well at least no candidates this year have been caught stealing the other's campaign signs.
GSS
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"The Precinct 1 Commissioner and others would have you believe their are significant reserves and that the no new revenue rate property tax yielded a $21 Million Surplus. This is not truthful. The no new revenue rate is aptly named because it generated NO NEW REVENUE! "

Knowledge is key, before lecturing others. The "no-new-revenue" tax rate is based on the calculation of the same properties, for both years, with the appropriate tax rate.
The addition of a single property value increase (rooftop, business, land sale....) will yield taxes (and REVENUE!!!) above the calculations for the no-new-revenue rate.

County and city leaders have promoted growth, basically forever, with the promise of "with growth, comes more tax revenue, benefiting all taxpayers"....then claim "all of this growth requires more tax dollars".

https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax/truth-in-taxation/index.php

From the link:
No-New-Revenue Tax Rate
The no-new-revenue tax rate enables the public to evaluate the relationship between taxes for the prior year and for the current year, based on a tax rate that would produce the same amount of taxes if applied to the same properties taxed in both years. 10
Although the actual calculation is more complicated, a taxing unit's no-new-revenue tax rate generally equal to the last year's taxes divided by the current taxable value of properties that were also on the tax roll last year. 11 The resulting tax rate, used for comparison only, shows the relation between the last year's revenue and the current year's values.
PanAg83
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GSS,

I'm comfortable with the assertion made. Value brought on by new property improvement is a rounding error. The same folks that sought the No New Revenue Rate are also the first to seek to overspend. If they were consistent and cut their spending to match their revenue assumptions, they would be less dangerous. Here's to March 5th coming and going so that we can all move on!

PanAg83
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http://cf.vistasg.com/BrazosCo/

Anyone understand why Fred Brown, a person who spent 14 years in the legislature and time on the College Station City Council and Salado Board of Aldermen still has not filed his 8 day finance report?
Hittag1492
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PanAg83 said:

http://cf.vistasg.com/BrazosCo/

Anyone understand why Fred Brown, a person who spent 14 years in the legislature and time on the College Station City Council and Salado Board of Aldermen still has not filed his 8 day finance report?


No kidding, you would think every politician would be well skilled at making sure any "funding issues" were well hidden. Maybe he is just not as fast as the rest?

Disclaimer: For staff-this is only a joke. I point this out to make sure that is completely understood as a joke and was not directed at any particular candidate or person specifically so it does not get deleted. Thank you.
Hittag1492
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Nm
aggiepaintrain
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PanAg83 said:

http://cf.vistasg.com/BrazosCo/

Anyone understand why Fred Brown, a person who spent 14 years in the legislature and time on the College Station City Council and Salado Board of Aldermen still has not filed his 8 day finance report?



who cares?
Hittag1492
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aggiepaintrain said:

PanAg83 said:

http://cf.vistasg.com/BrazosCo/

Anyone understand why Fred Brown, a person who spent 14 years in the legislature and time on the College Station City Council and Salado Board of Aldermen still has not filed his 8 day finance report?



who cares?


I think Panag has a particular Fred Brown dislike and Nancy Berry love for some reason. Very strong-either an unusually strong supporter, campaign staff member, business partner/associate, friend-or just dislikes Fred. Who knows. I guess we all have opinions and Panag gets to have theirs.

Mine would be more along that Berry did a poor job leading College Station and has made some misrepresentations already in her current roles as well-and some poor decisions. Fred would likely do better overall for the citizens/businesses in general vs a confined few already wealthy elite. Just my opinion though.
PanAg83
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I have concerns about someone that had an $843,000 (a summary of the standing of this judgement is available through the Federal Court System) judgement brought against them that abruptly resigned from the state house. All for no apparent reason other then possibly preserving his retirement benefits as part of a settlement when many other public officials resigned to avoid prosecution. I don't trust someone like that getting close to our public tax dollars. That is really concerning to me, concerning enough for me to share what I know. A blog covered it in salado. Another place that he up and resigned abruptly.

https://m.facebook.com/sunshine4salado/posts/an-843000-federal-court-ordered-judgment-on-salado-mayor-pro-tem-fred-brownnot-o/1613866858674810/

 
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