David Mitchell mug

Harker Heights City Manager David Mitchell

By Bob Massey

Herald correspondent

The city of Harker Heights is in the process of borrowing $4 million through a combination of tax revenue and certificates of obligation.

Before borrowing the money, the city has gone through a rate review, and Garry Kimball, its financial adviser, told the council Tuesday that the city’s finances are strong financially and has a AA Rating.

The 2019 borrowing will not exceed the $4 million, with $3 million coming from the general fund and $1 million from the utility fund. The city should get the money in late February, according to Finance Director Alberta Barrett.

One of the major items listed in the second agenda item is the renovation, remodeling and addition to Fire Station No. 2 which will be funded from the borrowed money. The council Tuesday authorized City Manager David Mitchell to negotiate a contract with Hill and Wilkinson General Contractors of Austin and CME Builders and Engineers, Inc. of Cleburne for design and build services. A timeline has not been set for the renovation of the station.

The borrowed funds will also pay for street reconstruction, drainage facilities, water and wastewater improvements and several street intersection and traffic light improvements.

In other business, the council granted a variance to an ordinance that states that the sale of beer and other alcoholic beverages is not permitted within 300 feet of a church.

The applicant had purchased the property at 1350 East Farm-to-Market 2410 to open a convenience store. The pastor of the nearby Exalted Praise Worship Ministry sent a letter to the city stating that he has no problem with the store selling alcohol.

In a related matter, the Harker Heights Chamber had requests to serve alcohol at some of their events. The council approved the requests for the “Mug Run Series” scheduled for July 6, Sept. 7 and Dec. 14 at the FM 2410 Community Park, and the Central Texas Food, Wine and Brew Festival to be held Sept. 14.

All of the Mug Runs will be from 7 a.m. to noon.

Also Tuesday, council members voted to award a contract for the water storage tank rehabilitation projects to A&M Construction and Utilities, Inc. at a cost of $634,625.

Mitchell told the Herald that he thinks the maintenance of water storage tanks is a move toward being a healthy city. He said he is glad because the project includes the various needs at five water storage tanks and stand pipes. There will also be improvements to the Verna Lee Pump Station.

In other business, the council approved the FY 2018-19 first quarter investment report.

The total amount invested as of Dec. 31 was $33,657,356.11. This is $3,216,946.91 more than the investment as of December 2017. Total investments increased by $9,053,319 from the fourth quarter of FY 2018.

In other action, Councilman John Reider was reappointed to another term on the Hill Country Transit Authority Board

The meeting concluded with the council approving the unaudited financial statements for the first quarter of FY 2018-19.

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