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Water the main focus during Brownwood Mayor Stephen Haynes' State of the City address

By Shenna Stout, sstout@ktxs.com
Published On: Jan 18 2013 08:08:42 PM CST

Brownwood Mayor Stephen Haynes gave the State of the City address Friday at the monthly Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

The City of Brownwood has plenty to be proud of. Haynes gave 2012 the grade "b" or "b+".

Unemployment was down, sales tax was up, and real estate remained steady.

"All in all our economy performed relatively well, performed equal to or better than national or state averages," said Haynes.

However, water was the talk of the town, and is the one area Brownwood, like much of Texas, could use some improvement.

"Well the drought that obviously hit our region has everyone focused on water supply, it has just made everyone realize how important it is; not just drinking water standards, but also for our industry and jobs," said Haynes.

Haynes discussed the water re-use plant, and showed that water from City Hall's drinking fountain looks exactly like water from the waste water plant by holding up two bottles filled with water.

Haynes drank from one of the bottles after an audience member proposed the challenge.

When asked if he knew which water he had drank, "I have a reasonable estimate, but I'm not 100 percent sure," said Haynes.

Within 9 months the city hopes to know what the back up water source will be.

The city would like to have a secondary water source in case the drought continues and Lake Brownwood continues to decline.

For 2012 Mayor Haynes said the unemployment rate for Brown County was 2.2% below the national average. Sales tax increased $200,770 from the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Water sales were down $325,629.