The city’s golf course — Stonetree Golf Club — is under new management following a Tuesday vote of the Killeen City Council.

The council voted 6 to 1 in favor of a $90,000 per year contract with Billy Casper Golf during its Tuesday meeting, with Councilwoman Debbie Nash-King voting in opposition.

City staff had been discussing options for the golf course, which has been losing money, over the last several years, according to Brett Williams, executive director of Community Services.

Efforts to make up for losses have included cuts to food and beverage service, as well as cuts to major positions, including the club pro.

“We’ve done what we can do, and now it’s time to turn it over to someone who can make it healthy again,” Councilman Gregory Johnson said.

Currently, Stonetree Golf Club is operated by city staff, but has been operating for the last five years at an average loss of about $318,000 annually.

Following a selection and interview process, city staff recommended Billy Casper Golf be selected as the management firm for a five-year term.

Billy Casper Golf has been in golf course management for over 30 years and manages more than 150 golf courses across the United States, including 90 municipal courses.

Williams said the firm is projecting the course will break even within the first two years of the contract.

Also Tuesday, the council also approved a proposal for the purchase of three recycling trailers, at a total cost of $60,000, as part of a recycling program expansion for the Solid Waste Division.

According to city staff, the trailers could save the city from taking a projected 420 tons of waste to the landfill, which would save the city money both on transport and storage costs.

Currently Killeen has two drop-off sites for recycling after curbside pick-up was discontinued in 2016. The trailers will offer residents additional locations, tentatively at Lions Club Park and near the water tower on Clear Creek.

“The mark of the city is how progressive it is,” Councilman Jim Kilpatrick said. “Recycling is not a program that we can let go of if we want to remain progressive.”

Councilman Rivera said he spoke to approximately 100 residents about the project, roughly 90 percent of whom were excited for the expansion of the recycling program.

The council approved the purchase by a 6 to 1 vote, with Johnson voting in opposition.

In another vote, the council unanimously approved the revision of the city ordinance establishing street fees for religious institutions.

On Dec. 11, the council approved Ordinance 18-045 establishing a Street Maintenance Fund and providing for the collection of street maintenance fees. These fees are to be determined based on Single Family Equivalents, or the principle basis of service measurement derived from trip generation rates, pass by percentages, and trip lengths published by the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

Separate land uses were established for a church at 0.24 Single Family Equivalents per 1,000 square feet of gross floor area and for mosques at 2.09 Single Family Equivalents per 1,000 square feet of gross floor area.

However, concerns were raised from citizens about the difference in the cost for the two institutions.

City staff then reviewed the Single Family Equivalents in question and recommended that a single designation of Place of Worship be established at the rate of 0.24 Single Family Equivalents.

“We, The Islamic Community of Greater Killeen (ICGK), are indeed pleased that the Killeen City Council will vote tonight to amend the Street Maintenance Fee Ordinance to reflect equal treatment of mosques and churches in the assessment of street maintenance fees in the City of Killeen,” Osman Danquah, vice president of ICGK, said prior to the meeting Tuesday.

“The City was assessing mosques at the Single-Family Equivalent rate of 2.09 and churches SFE at 0.24; regardless of the standard of measurement that they used to arrive at this assessment; it was grossly unjust. This amendment tonight falls in line with the words of the former British Chief Justice, Chief Justice Hewart, who said, ‘Justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be done.’ Now, we will be able to celebrate the diversity and inclusiveness of our city, Killeen.”

Also Tuesday, the council approved amending city ordinances that would provide for maintenance of sewer lines and amend sewer rates. This includes an agreement with Utility Service Partners Private Label, Inc. for the maintenance of lines within the public right-of-way.

The council approved the amendments 6 to 1, with Councilwoman Nash-King in opposition.

In other action, rezoning propositions were unanimously approved by the council for a vacant four-plex at 2018 Cedarhill Drive, which will be rezoned from Multifamily Residential to Professional Business, as well as approximately eight acres on West Stan Schlueter Loop to provide for the development of public storage.

The council also revisited a proposal to rezone 7.858 acres of the Gary Purser Jr. 2000 Trust from Suburban Commercial to General Commercial, and for 79.117 acres of the trust to be rezoned from Rural to General Residential.

This rezoning will allow for the development of single-family homes, as well as the future site of a school.

A spirited debate ensued as the council was divided on the issue.

Concerns about overbuilding, as well as possible noise complaints from citizens due to the close proximity to the Fort Hood flight line were expressed.

“We are producing homes, but are we producing jobs for the homes?” Councilman Steve Harris said.

Councilwoman Shirley Fleming also expressed concerns about the number of homes being built in Killeen.

“When will enough be enough?” Fleming said.

Councilman Jim Kilpatrick presented the number of building permits the City of Killeen has filed over previous years, pointing out that Killeen has consistently not built as many homes as the surrounding cities, despite being the largest city in the area.

The council voted 4 to 3 in favor of the rezoning, with Fleming, Harris, and Johnson voting in opposition. | 254-501-7552

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