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COPPERAS COVE — City officials are not standing idly by while decisions are made around them. The city manager and a council member seized the opportunity to voice their concerns to decision-makers during the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army in Washington, D.C., this past week.
City Manager Andrea Gardner said the purpose of the trip was to educate herself on matters impacting the U.S. Army, interact with top military leaders and regional leaders, and meet with U.S. congressmen and senators or their staff members regarding federal legislative matters that impact the city.
“I didn’t go with the expectation to receive answers, but I was pleased with the reception received to the city’s concerns,” Gardner said.
Gardner, along with Councilman Gary Kent, had a comprehensive list of legislative concerns that included the ongoing financial strain caused by the disabled veterans’ property tax exemption passed by the Texas Legislature.
The city is requesting assistance from the federal government to help offset the financial impact of legislation passed by the Texas legislature.
According to the legislative agenda presented in Washington, Cove officials also requested assistance from the federal government to authorize a proposed land exchange with Fort Hood for about 300 acres.
The property from U.S. Highway 190 to Farm-to-Market 116 will become separated from the rest of Fort Hood upon completion of State Highway 9.
Approximately 800 acres of city and Economic Development Corporation land along FM 116 adjacent to Fort Hood’s northwestern maneuver area will be considered in the land exchange to expand the current training area of the installation.
Other concerns included opposition to the Affordable Care Act, preventing the use of an executive order to expand federal jurisdiction over waterways as part of the Clean Water Act, and preventing the overuse and misuse of the Endangered Species Act, specifically fresh water mussels and their impact on water projects, including the construction of new pipelines and other infrastructure in habitat areas of potentially endangered species.
“These trips to Washington are very important to keep reminding our elected officials to help us back here at home. We need and expect their help,” Kent said. “It’s my job as a city councilman to help secure that assistance.”
While elected and appointed officials were receptive to the city’s concerns, more work needs to be done, Gardner said.
“There is always follow-up necessary when dealing with legislative matters regardless of the level.”