The city of Killeen grows by about 2 percent annually, or by an increase of about 1,000 new homes every year.
Killeen City Manager Glenn Morrison said, lately, most of his job is just keeping up.
“Last night we had an interesting agenda, with a lot of items, all of which could be put under the heading of growth,” Morrison said Wednesday of Tuesday’s three-hour Killeen City Council workshop. “I think 2013 is going to be a big year for our community.”
Projects include major expansions to local roadways, such as Central Texas Expressway and the Rosewood Drive extension and overpass; expansion of water and sewer infrastructure; new facilities at the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport; and many private commercial and residential developments all over the city.
On Tuesday, the city unveiled a plan for a new economic incentive package, which would provide tax rebates for industrial companies moving to Killeen.
Council members also discussed plans for annexing a 200-acre Municipal Utility District for a residential development in the next 15 years.
During Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin’s State of the City Address on Monday, he mentioned plans for a 70-acre high-end multiuse commercial development, La Cascata, to open near Skylark Field.
The development could potentially house multifamily residential properties alongside retail
shopping and entertainment.
“If you’re not growing, you’re dying,” Morrison said. “We want to make sure we have what our citizens desire.”
When growth happens, “All types of services become more important and more accessible,” Morrison said. “Amenities come into a community that feed the community’s wants and desires.”
Over the next 20 years, the state and local government have allotted $150 million in transportation projects to the Killeen-Fort Hood area.
The council recently approved a plan for $139 million in rehabilitation and new construction for water and sewer infrastructure projects in the next 21 years.
With growth also comes concerns, as was seen Monday during the well-attended State of the City address. Residents expressed concern that Central Texas’ water resources may not support the region’s growth.
“As far as water, we are in a good position,” Morrison said.
More than a decade ago, Morrison said, Killeen purchased enough water to last until 2060, accounting for the growth.
“When water became available, we said ‘we want it,’” Morrison said. “Now we need to plan and carefully manage what we have.”
Although it has water reserved, daily demand will require building a new water treatment plant in the next few years, the cost of which will be funded through rate increases.
Council members are expected to meet this month with the Bell County Water Control Improvement District No. 1 — the city’s water provider — to hash out plans for a new water treatment facility.
Another concern expressed by residents Monday was the so-called “sales tax leakage” problem or residents of Killeen spending paychecks in neighboring cities, such as at Market Heights in Harker Heights.
Morrison said Killeen’s economy is part of a growing regional economy, so leakage is inevitable.
“We want to get as much of that as we can,” Morrison said. “But, in the end, what is good for Harker Heights is good for Killeen.”
To illustrate his sense of regionalism, Morrison suggested standing on Nolanville Hill to watch morning traffic.
“It’s amazing to see the amount of cars, going in and out, both ways,” Morrison said. “And it has not always been that way.”
Contact Brandon Janes at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7552