Mayor plans move in June
Brown, 51, a lifelong Port Aransan, won’t be able to run for mayor because he will, he said, move away in mid- 2010 to take a new job in Pearland, near Houston.
But he said he wouldn’t run again even if he stayed in Port Aransas. Asked why, he said, “my last few months with (former city manager Michael) Kovacs have been unworkable.”
Kovacs’ last day on the job was Friday, Dec. 4. He gave notice several weeks ago when he accepted the offer of a job as assistant city manager at Park City, Utah.
“I understand that,” Brown said, referring to the fact that Kovacs no longer works in Port Aransas. “I could start listing a bunch of stuff and creating a bunch of turmoil, but it’s just not worth it. I was elected by the people to represent them, and I think I’ve done that. And when it reaches a point where you reach enough opposition, and you’re not being productive, you bow out.”
Brown said he will remain in office until the last day of his term. That probably will end up being the day of the May council meeting, according to City Secretary Esther Arzola. Since council meetings normally are held on the third Thursday of each month, Brown’s last day as mayor likely will be May 20.
Brown said he expects Mayor Pro Tem Keith McMullin to run for mayor in the next election, May 8. If that happens, Brown said, he will support McMullin “100 percent.”
Contacted for comment, McMullin confirmed that he indeed does plan to run for mayor. The filing period for council positions will be Feb. 8 to March 8.
Brown said he plans to take a job as a shop foreman and product sales representative for Progressive Diesel in Pearland in early June. For now, he said, he plans to continue operating his Port Aransas business, Outlaw Services. He said he is concentrating on the crane operations part of his business, but he also does commercial diving, welding and fabrication.
Brown said he doesn’t want to leave Port Aransas, but he no longer can afford to live here.
“I’m sick to death of being a slave to taxes,” Brown said, singling out the Nueces County Appraisal District for criticism. “The people that are in charge of these absurd property appraisals are driving me out.”
Brown has had repeated clashes with the appraisal district, both as a city official and a private citizen. He has been among a number of city officials who, in recent years, have protested high appraisals for properties throughout Port Aransas.
Last summer, Port Aransas City Attorney Michael Morris investigated whether Brown had been delinquent in paying property taxes and whether it would mean a violation of the city charter that could lead to Brown’s removal from office by the city council.
Brown denied that he ever was delinquent. The investigation ended up reaching inconclusive results, and no action was taken against Brown.
The probe began after Kovacs said Brown had complained to him that the appraisal district had asked him to pay more than $5,000 in taxes accrued over a two-year-period. The appraisal district requested the payment in June after removing homestead and over-65 tax exemptions for the previous two years worth of tax bills on a piece of property at 619 W. Ave. C, once owned by the 51-year-old Brown’s parents, who are deceased.
Brown complained that the appraisal district told him he owed taxes on some of his property even though he never received a bill for those taxes.
In June, Port Aransas Police Chief Scott Burroughs wrote a memo that he found evidence that Brown had been heard angrily stating that he was going to kill everyone at the appraisal district and others.
Brown said he never threatened to kill anyone. He said he was overheard saying that “someone is liable to go postal” at the appraisal district and that the statement was misconstrued.
Burroughs considered launching a criminal investigation, but decided against it hearing Brown’s longtime friend, Constable Bobby Sherwood, say he believed Brown only was blowing off steam and that his words weren’t meant as a real threat.
Brown found himself in the middle of another public spat when, at a June 18 council meeting, he pointed and shouted at council member Glenda Balentine while the two sat next to each other. Brown accused Balentine of attacking him personally, but Balentine denied it.
While Brown has had detractors, others in Port Aransas believe he has been a good mayor, despite the controversies.
Brown has successfully sought, with fellow council members, to secure millions of dollars worth of street and drainage improvements in Port Aransas.
Brown’s first city government post was as city councilman, a post to which he was elected in May 2002. In 2004, he ran unsuccessfully for mayor against Georgia Neblett. Two years later, he ran against her and won. In 2008, he won re-election by a solid margin over challenger Charlie Zahn.
Brown has earned a reputation for making sure the voices of ordinary citi- zens are heeded at city hall. During his first mayoral term, he started his First Monday program in which he meets with any citizen who cares to drop by his city hall office the first Monday of every month.