• October 1, 2014

City Council says yes to MUD-2

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Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 4:04 pm, Mon Feb 10, 2014.

After eight months, two failed attempts and dozens of hours of negotiations, the Killeen City Council consented to the creation of Bell County Municipal Utility District No. 2 on Tuesday.

The 4 to 3 vote of the council will allow local developer Bruce Whitis to build 3,750 homes in a 4-mile-long tract south of the intersection of Chaparral and Trimmier roads outside of the city limits.

Council members Jared Foster, Jose Segarra, Wayne Gilmore and Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Blackstone voted to approve the MUD-2 agreement. Council members Jonathan Okray, Terry Clark and Steve Harris cast dissenting votes.

Once he obtains approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Whitis will establish a new taxing entity in Bell County, which will enable him to pay for the infrastructure in the subdivision.

Tuesday’s vote came after a long review of the benefits and commitments both the city and the developer will have to maintain throughout the estimated 15 to 20 years of build-out on the project.

According to the contract, Killeen will provide water, sewer and solid waste services to MUD-2.

Since MUD-2 is outside of the city limits, the Bell County Sheriff’s Department will provide police and fire services inside the district.

Responding to the council’s concerns, Killeen Fire Chief J.E. Gardner said the Killeen police and fire departments and local emergency medical services may respond to calls in MUD-2 through mutual aid agreements.

MUD-2 residents will not pay property taxes to the city, revenue that funds services, such as police and fire for Killeen residents.

“With the police station just around the corner, it may make fiduciary sense to set something up to respond to those calls,” Clark said.

Scott Osburn, city attorney for planning, said that if police respond to an excessive number of calls in MUD-2, Killeen could negotiate compensation from Bell County.

“If the city was taking the lion’s share of the calls, the city would be in a position to renegotiate some of those agreements,” Osburn said.

In December the council voted down the project as a planned unit development, or PUD.

As a PUD, the city would have immediately absorbed the property into the city limits, but it would have cost taxpayers $20 million for infrastructure.

Council members voted down Whitis’ attempt to create a MUD in March through a legislative process.

After applying again for a MUD through TCEQ in May, Whitis was able to create his MUD with or without the city’s consent, and Tuesday’s agreement established controls over many of the projects building standards by the city.

Former Killeen Councilman Dick Young, who attended Tuesday’s meeting, said he preferred the council would have approved the PUD in December.

“It’s a tough decision. I like the development. I just don’t like how it’s being done,” Young said. “I don’t like the MUD.”

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9 comments:

  • Eliza posted at 9:49 am on Thu, Aug 1, 2013.

    Eliza Posts: 786

    @ I agree with @ overseer, perhaps when the mayor gives the 'State of Killeen' address, he should comment as to 'why he thinks the MUD-2 project is correct for the citizenry of Killeen. I think that should be one of his talking points. I would really be interested in hearing this.
    ----------------------------

    Have you ever heard Obama when asked why something considered 'bad' for the people was allowed ?
    His reply is usually ,I had nothing to do with it, it was THEM .
    Of course THEM being the 4 that voted away the money of the tax payers of Killeen and what is going to turn out to be a lot of their safety and security services.

    The interest of the 4 voting Yes to the manufactures housing project, showed where their interest lay. In the interest of a small group.

     
  • Alvin posted at 9:00 am on Thu, Aug 1, 2013.

    Alvin Posts: 201

    August 1, 2013


    Well I listened to the video rebroadcast. In my personal opinion, it was appalling. The lip service provided by the Mayor Pro Tem, Ms. Blackstone interjecting her comment, out of sequence I might add of the South waste water reduced capacity of I.5 million GPD and intending to expand to the full capacity of 6 million GPD was out of order and did nothing but confuse the issue. The mayor,himself, had the look of total dejection when he took he buried his head in his hands. I could just see him thinking 'And we covered this in all of our secret meetings'.

    The legal team, I couldn't tell if they wee employed by the city or otherwise, gave a robust structuring of really talking about nothing – IE- the County is supposed to comply, but if the city is closer the - - -. That goes for the Police Department, the Fire Department, the emergency Medical, etc, etc, etc. When Mr. Harris asked what I deem to be pertinent questions, well let me say, he was brushed off. When he asked for the MUD-2 to be tabled, again he was brushed off. Mr. Corbin, at one point, interjected that the council had been over this for the past 3 months, I believe this was during the 3 month blackout, (secrecy) when no citizen was able to interject a comment as no citizen was even aware. I believe that I don't fully comprehend 'why' the council is able to hold 'secret meetings' when it effects the whole of the city. I personally view this as a type of activity that was prevalent during the past council sessions, wheel dealing Thank you Mam and not what the council is set up for. You notice that when Mr. Harris made 2 different motions, the big four was quick to squash. When the amendment was placed on the table, again the big four was quick to vote in the affirmative as their job was completed.

    I agree with @ overseer, perhaps when the mayor gives the 'State of Killeen' address, he should comment as to 'why he thinks the MUD-2 project is correct for the citizenry of Killeen. I think that should be one of his talking points. I would really be interested in hearing this.

     
  • Eliza posted at 8:51 am on Thu, Aug 1, 2013.

    Eliza Posts: 786

    @ Even though he did not get to vote, I suspect he had a lot to do with it getting approved.
    --------------------
    Several have your same over site about the approval. Mr. Harris was treated very rudely just for asking questions about a project which was going to involve millions But most important, The tax payers of the city.

     
  • overseer posted at 4:03 am on Thu, Aug 1, 2013.

    overseer Posts: 45

    Tomorrow would be a great time to ask the Mayor and other council members about this since the Mayor is supposed to holding a "State of the City" address. If he is so proud of his accomplishment, he should not have any problem answering our questions about it. By the way, as many concerns as I heard Councilman Harris that the newspaper never printed any of them. I am wondering why the Herald only printed the Mayor's coments. They even covered Mr. Young's comments but completely ignored the other councilmembers concerns. What's with that. Shame on the paper. Don'f forget to go online and look at the online video or watch it on tv.

     
  • overseer posted at 3:45 am on Thu, Aug 1, 2013.

    overseer Posts: 45

    If you didn't attend the council meeting, look at the video online when it is posted and you will see that Councilman Harris tried to delay the decision so the citizens could participate in a "city wide" meeting first because he didn't feel like the public was adequately notified. It was put to a vote and Council members Segarra, Blackstone, Gilmore and Foster rejected his proposal. The Mayor was also very rude to Councilman Harris for asking questions that I didn't know the answers to but, after he questioned the attorney, I understood a lot better. I think, from the Mayor's frustration with the delays, he was the one who called all of those closed session. Even though he did not get to vote, I suspect he had a lot to do with it getting approved.

     
  • Eliza posted at 1:31 pm on Wed, Jul 31, 2013.

    Eliza Posts: 786

    @ “If the city was taking the lion’s share of the calls, the city would be in a position to renegotiate some of those agreements,” Osburn said.---------------------

    Lawyer friend said once ,beware of lawyer talk.

    What if the Sheriff's people are busy when a call comes in, Who's going to take the call ? Guess Who ?

    Why would Osburn even mention, IF KPD were taking the majority of calls ,Unless that's already expected.
    The time to negotiate is before a situation happens, not after the peoples names have already been signed to a deal.
    Any smart lawyer would have advised that.
    But Killeen's tax payers didn't have a lawyer present ,smart or otherwise, who was looking out for them personally .

     
  • Alvin posted at 10:05 am on Wed, Jul 31, 2013.

    Alvin Posts: 201

    Well big money has spoken. It is noted – 'Once he obtains approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Whitis will establish a new taxing entity in Bell County, which will enable him to pay for the the infrastructure in the subdivision'. Now as I understand this – once he establishes the new taxing entity, he will automatically, enable him, have the funds for the building of the new infrastructure, both water and waste water. How does that work? Is the State going to fork over the monies to fund this project? Or will it be from the generosity of the citizens of Killeen? I think it will be the latter. All of this and they don't even exist within the city limits, and they won't for another 15 to 20 years. And to think, they did this 'behind closed doors' out of sight and ear shot from the citizens of Killeen.

    Just think of it, by being outside of any city limits, the Bell County Sheriffs department is going to be obligated to provide fire and police protection for them, but the city officials jumped in to say the police and fire departments and emergency medical services will respond through 'mutual aid agreements'. Sounds like they have it all worked out, IE:- 'closed door sessions'. I wonder what would have been the outcome if this had been discussed 'OPENLY'. It had failed twice before. I guess the 3rd time was the solution, especially since it was discussed 'BEHIND CLOSED DOORS'.

    It was noted that the city tried to 'Shame us' by saying 'the cit would loose out on $10 million for infrastructure'. Where's the other $10 million going to come from???? Guess.

    With the residents, who do not reside within the city, they are not subject to paying taxes, for all of those benefits they will be enjoying. That is going to fall to the residents of Killeen. So get ready, I believe your taxes are going to be going up to pay for the extra police protection, the extra fire protection and the extra emergency response aid you will be providing, all of this in addition to the 'New Treated Water from Stillhouse Lake/ Waste Water infrastructure' you will also be providing. I would still like to know 'If this had not been approved, what would the new additional facilities for the water treatment plant and the waste water plant have looked like????

    I believe it is worth noting - “With the police station just around the corner, it may make fiduciary sense to set something up to respond to those calls,” Clark said. Sounds logical to me....

    It should be noted, Scott Osburn, city attorney for planning, said that if police respond to an excessive number of calls in MUD-2, Killeen could negotiate compensation from Bell County.
    “If the city was taking the lion’s share of the calls, the city would be in a position to renegotiate some of those agreements,” Osburn said. Are they going to negotiate with Bell county or some other entity? Where's Mr. Whitis fall in all of this? Is he going to sit free and clear?
    As I said, Money Talks and it sure seems to evident here.

     
  • Eliza posted at 8:13 am on Wed, Jul 31, 2013.

    Eliza Posts: 786

    @ Council members Jared Foster, Jose Segarra, Wayne Gilmore and Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Blackstone voted to approve the MUD-2 agreement.

    Council members Jonathan Okray, Terry Clark and Steve Harris cast dissenting votes.
    --------------------------------

    Councilman Okray, Clark and Harris. Want to thank you for showing when you took the oath of office when elected, to represent the people of Killeen. You have shown you took it seriously and do give thought, to what will be in the best interest of those citizens. And not what could end up being thousands living outside the city's limits or their representatives..

    Its not easy standing your ground when you are being forced fed a game plan, by someone whose interest, is personal gain in the form of dollar signs.
    The promoters of this project, have been in a frenzy to sell this idea to the city's own representatives of 8,
    Even though you didn't win the vote, You did win the respect, from a majority of those who know something about this deal of MUD2 doesn't smell right.

    I've known of a town,(which is what this MUD2 will be ,considering the number of homes planned and the number of people that could fill them) whose law enforcement was to be furnished by the county's Sheriff Dept. even though, they were outside a near by town, and it didn't work out very well.

    I believe that is were some of the future problems will come from.
    Using the deal that has been voted on, and promising the use of the citizens of Killeen's resources, when there isn't enough to go around at times for the citizens of Killeen themselves.

     
  • jbtsr posted at 8:01 am on Wed, Jul 31, 2013.

    jbtsr Posts: 73

    More like MUD IN FACE. The taxpayers within the city limits have more debt added and no benefit. Going around the city to acquire permission via TCEQ should raise eyebrows and should be petitioned and changed. Its quite simple to change unless in the future, you like more MUD in the face.

     

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