GATESVILLE — Coryell County commissioners on Monday ordered an election to enable funding for paving a stretch of road in a subdivision north of Copperas Cove and agreed to help supply first responders in several rural volunteer fire departments.
Commissioners unanimously approved a Nov. 5 ballot issue to enable Road District 1 to incur $100,000 debt to pave 1.8 miles of Kenney and Nathan drives in the Sun Set Estates subdivision north of Copperas Cove.
About a dozen residents of the new Road District 1 turned out for the 8:30 a.m. hearing to set the wording of the ballot initiative, which will authorize the district to levy taxes to repay the cost of the paving.
“We want to make sure we get on the ballot and encourage everyone to vote,” said Orville Maaninga, one of the neighborhood activists who has pushed for the road project.
Some of the residents asked how much more it would cost to pave the roads with asphalt rather than with a chip-seal process, Maaninga said.
In a chip-seal process, oil is sprayed onto the prepared road base, gravel is spread over the oil, and a roller is used to compact the material into a hard surface.
With a hot-mix asphalt process, gravel and oil are mixed into a slurry that is heated, spread onto the road base with a paving machine and compacted with a roller.
“If you go with asphalt, you will have to have a chip-seal under it as a base,” Road Superintendent Allen Neel said.
Neel said he did not know how much asphalt material would cost.
“Most of our county roads are (paved with) chip-seal and have done well,” Commissioner Jack Wall said.
“We will have it chip-sealed,” Maaninga said. “How many years and how much will we pay” to retire the debt?
Tax Assessor/Collector Justin Carothers said that, based on a $7 million tax base for the district, a taxpayer with a $100,000 home could expect to pay $350 a year for six years to retire the debt.
County Attorney Brandon Belt said the road district would probably do best to borrow money from a lending institution rather than issuing bonds.
Once the ballot initiative is approved and the road district borrows the money, the district can enter an inter-local agreement with the county to pave the roads. The district will then levy taxes to repay the loan.
After the debt is retired, Belt said, the road district would disappear and the county would assume maintenance of the roads. Only residents living within the new road district would be able to vote on the project and, if it passes, pay the tax.
Belt said the county could maintain the roads through an inter-local agreement with the road district until the debt is paid off.
In other action, commissioners agreed to Fire Chief Billy Vaden’s request to budget $10,000 next year to provide supplies such as oxygen to first responders working with several rural volunteer fire departments.
Vaden said the funding was needed because Coryell Memorial Hospital was no longer going to provide the supplies for the emergency medical technicians working with the volunteer departments.
The funding would provide $50 per run for EMTs with departments in Turnersville, Jonesboro, Flat, Oglesby and Coryell City.
Levita VFD would be included in the funding as soon as it is certified, Vaden said.
Copperas Cove and Gatesville fire departments would not be included in the funding, he said.