Brownwood mayoral candidates at odds over Facebook campaign video
BROWNWOOD, Texas —
Brownwood's mayor has a challenger in this year's mayoral election after he ran unopposed in the last mayoral election and his opponent said that he decided to run for mayor because the city of Brownwood needs a new mayor as property taxes have gotten so high that they are forcing local businesses to close.
Incumbent mayor Stephen Haynes, a Brownwood native, has served as mayor since 2010 and he said that progress has been made in the city during his eight-year tenure, including the recruitment of new businesses and improvements at city parks.
"We've done I think a great job with the increases we've seen in retail that have largely offset inflation,” Haynes said. “But there are challenges ahead.”
According to Haynes, one major challenge for Brownwood is producing growth in the city's revenue without hiking taxes.
His opponent Mike Tittle said that taxes in Brownwood have gotten out of control.
"[I'll] work on the budget, control the cost, reduce unnecessary spending so that we can get the property tax situation under control so that we don't run more businesses out of town," Tittle said.
Tittle has spent 30 years working in the manufacturing sector and in 2016 he retired from 3M's Brownwood facility as a plant manager and he said that he’s experienced in dealing with multi-million dollar budgets.
However, Tittle is catching heat from Haynes for a video he posted on his campaign's Facebook page, which shows Haynes speaking before state lawmakers in support of a bill that allowed Ranger College to ask Brown County residents to vote for a tax referendum, which would have funded the junior college's expansion into Brown County.
"In 2013, I supported a Republican-backed bill that gave the right for people of Brownwood to petition their government for a vote," Haynes said.
The mayor said the video was selectively edited, which also suggested that he was in support of the Ranger College tax referendum, which he publicly denounced.
Tittle said that the video doesn't distort the context and his issue with Haynes is that the mayor didn't speak up sooner in denouncing the tax vote.
"I actually talked to Stephen [Haynes] and counseled him like he was my own son and said, 'Stephen [Haynes], this would be really important if you would come out against this.'"
Ranger College's tax annexation was rejected by more than 95 percent of Brown County voters last year.
Election day for the city of Brownwood's mayoral race is taking place on Saturday, May 5.