By Taylor Short

Killeen Daily Herald

COPPERAS COVE - Following a recent promotion in the city's bond rating, the City Council approved the issuance of tax notes and bonds for five projects Tuesday night for a total of $8,735,000.

Gary Kimball, president of Specialized Public Finance Inc., said the recent change in bond rating from "A+" to "AA-" opens more opportunities for the city.

"It broadens the universe of potential bidders and results in a decrease in interest rates that the city ultimately pays, and that ultimately benefits the taxpayer," he said.

The $4,050,000 in limited tax notes includes about $165,000 for the Bradford Drive Road Extension that was a part of the five-year capital improvement plan adopted in October 2009.

It also includes about $105,000 to complete the Turkey Run pump station project. That project needed additional funding and was granted temporary funding in October 2009 as well, City Manager Andrea Gardner said.

The council previously agreed on the design and engineering for the proposed North Loop Waterline. The debt issuance includes about $3.7 million for that project.

The council also approved $4,685,000 in general obligation bonds for the proposed Northeast Bypass and the Northeast Sewerline project.

"Each one of these ordinances was 35 pages long, so it wasn't an easy matter to just look at and decide," Councilman Bill Stephens said.

The Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation authorized $917,049 for Phase I of the Constitution Drive extension project on April 27 and received consent from the city council Tuesday to begin seeking bids.

The project, which would extend Constitution Drive all the way to Mueller Street near Mae Stevens Elementary School, is a major part of bringing the future Shops of Five Hills shopping center and the $13 million, 106-unit upscale housing development Constitution Court to the city.

The EDC was also granted permission to sign a letter of commitment to Constitution Court Ltd.

"We have to ensure that Constitution infrastructure will be in place when they are ready," said EDC Chairman Dan Yancy. "Certainly we expect that to happen months before that, but this letter is a necessary item for their closing."

In other action, the council authorized the city manager to enter a contract with Luck Design Team LLC for a needs assessment of the city park for $24,600.

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