COPPERAS COVE — Republicans on Monday conducted the first informational forums about several city November election issues, including a $4.7 million municipal bond.
Residents at the forum asked the most questions about the city’s bond election for the relocation of fire station No. 2.
The station would be on the corner of Grimes Crossing and Farm-to-Market 1113, said City Manager Andrea Gardner. The bond would pay for the purchase of a new fire engine and a brush truck with almost $1.25 million of the total bond.
None of the money or current budget funds would be used to increase the size of the fire department at this time.
Residents asked if the bond passed, would the council raise taxes? They also wondered why the city doesn’t use more volunteers and if the construction would help improve the roadways in the area.
Gardner said the bond doesn't allow for roadway additions like curbs and gutters and widening. Volunteers couldn’t staff a 24/7 fire department, she said.
If approved, residents could see a 2-cent property tax rate increase in 2014, but the council would probably reduce the rate up-front to pay a larger portion when other debts were paid, said Gardner. She said she believes the city would likely issue the debt in January and start construction of the station later in 2013 if approved.
The present station, about a mile away from the proposed location, is an older, smaller facility than the proposed building. If approved by voters, the construction of a new station should provide a more central location for fire coverage in the northwestern region of the city to include areas seeing development.
City candidates for the contested Position 2 — including Mark Peterson, Azeita Taylor and Sandor Vegh — talked about why they were running for office.
Peterson said he was excited to see the city grow and wanted to help foster that growth in the right direction.
Taylor wanted to move from her former “watchdog reporter” role as the former Leader Press managing editor to getting involved in what is happening in the city, she said.
Vegh said he also supports the strong and proper growth of Copperas Cove.
Cove ISD board candidates Cherise Jones and a representative of Bob Weiss spoke about why they were running.
Other residents spoke about the proposed 18 city charter amendments, and the closed stock and open range issues going before Coryell County voters.