MONEY

The city of Killeen could float a voter-approved bond as early as May 2018 as a companion to the Killeen Independent School District’s plan to issue up to $700 million in debt, according to City Council discussion Tuesday.

Following a presentation to the council from KISD Superintendent John Craft on the progress of the district’s bond proposal, City Manager Ron Olson said the city and district had been in discussion for months to “link votes” for two separate bond issues.

“In my mind, they are companion issues,” Olson said. “You are not doing schools without the infrastructure to reach those schools. If they move forward with a bond, we need to move forward with a bond.”

The district’s deadline to place the bond on the May 5 general ballot is Feb. 13.

The school district is currently holding a series of bond steering committee meetings to prioritize future projects to be included in the debt issue, including a sixth high school and a number of elementary and high schools.

Top-end estimates for the bond have reached $700 million, but Craft told the council the most expensive scenario under consideration puts the bond at around $500 million.

The city explicitly mentioned around $46 million in road infrastructure improvements that would be necessary to accommodate increased traffic to new schools in the southern section of Killeen around Chaparral and Featherline roads.

The project with the highest priority, Director of Public Works David Olson said, is the expansion of Chaparral Road from a two-lane county road to a five-lane thoroughfare. By current estimates, the road can only accommodate about a half of the expected car traffic, David Olson said.

The tentative completion date for the possible new high school — located near the corner of Chaparral and Featherline roads — is fall 2022.

The same night, the city discussed new financial policies that would formalize the city’s practice of only issuing debt with a corresponding property tax rate increase and limiting the amount of property tax dedicated to debt service.

A bond issue would potentially violate the second stipulation, devoting more Killeen taxpayer money to debt service while raising residents’ property tax rate.

“We’re going to speak double talk to our citizens,” Councilman Jim Kilpatrick said.

While council members inquired about possible funds from Bell County and the federal government that could help cover the needed improvements, Councilman Jonathan Okray said the council needed to be decisive and be prepared to commit financially to the southern outskirts of the city.

“Ultimately, who’s going to be pay for all this? We are,” Okray said. “We can dance around this all we want, but we really need to nail down how we’re going to fund it without anyone else.”

In other business, the council:

Reached a 5-2 consensus to issue a Request for Proposal to outsource its solid waste department after City Manager Ron Olson said the department was financially competitive with outside industry. The council originally tabled a resolution to court private proposals for the service in March after Olson asked for time to seek efficiencies in the program.

Reached a 4-3 consensus to lower its operational fund balance from 22-25 percent to 18-22 percent in order to free up funds for capital improvement projects in the city budget. The council hurriedly changed the policy as part of its financial policy discussion, potentially freeing millions in the current budget for one-time capital projects expenditures.

Postponed votes on a state body-armor grant outfitting 225 Killeen police officers.

The Herald will follow all of these stories in the coming days.

kyleb@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

(9) comments

SnowWhiteNthe7Thieves

Greedy thugs robbing poor people, senior citizens, retired soldiers, disabled people, disabled soldiers with FIXED incomes just trying to get by, and these thieving thugs steal what little money they have. Homeless veterans, trying to get well, their money will be stolen too.

SnowWhiteNthe7Thieves

Greed is a fat demon with a small mouth and whatever you feed it is never enough. Lots of small mouths and FAT demons sucking, chewing, grabbing, your money.

dailymajor

Ignorance and lies are the beginnings of many of our troubles. Know of what you speak, before you talk...That is a pretty good rule for everyone, don't you think?

SnowWhiteNthe7Thieves

Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. - Edward Abbey

SnowWhiteNthe7Thieves

Greed is so destructive. It destroys everything. Eartha Kitt

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.

To any and all concerned:
Well I guess There is not any interest in what we have to say about the running of this city government so I will just bow out.

You know the old saying, 'you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink'.

I feel that is appropriate in that this city has had a strangle hold since 1990 in that it only takes 4 of the 7 council persons to get control and run this city government and that is being demonstrated right now with the consistent voting record of the city council and with the KEDC plowing ahead and signing a contract that obligates this city and 'some of the council persons were not even aware of what was going on'. Shame on this city administrative group whoever you are.

Ya'll take care.

This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.

Copy: “In my mind, they are companion issues,” Olson said. “You are not doing schools without the infrastructure to reach those schools. If they move forward with a bond, we need to move forward with a bond.” End of copy.

Why in the world would you want to build a road, on city money, that is outside of the city limits???? That one just blows my mind. It's only necessary for a bunch of developers who want to build homes outside of the city limits, 'to make more money'. And this is from conversation that was presented over 2 years ago, 'that the city would not go for any city boundary extension'.

So the words of our city manager, 'If they move forward with a bond, we need to move forward with a bond'. So, In my mind', that's just a case of 'Monkey see, M0onkey do'. So this city will continue to go into debt 'just for the sake of a bunch of builders.

We are building a water plant, increasing all of the infrastructure's for the sake of 'the builders'.

Copy: 'Top-end estimates for the bond have reached $700 million, but Craft told the council the most expensive scenario under consideration puts the bond at around $500 million.' End of copy.

And to think, this city school board with a cast of over a hundred, 'In my mind' the left foot doesn't know what the right foot is doing. They've prepared estimates of non existent buildings, they have to 'get an Architect involved to find out what the cost is going to be, or in other words, 'the cost per foot will be determined by the amount of affluence he/she designed into it.

Copy: 'The city explicitly mentioned around $46 million in road infrastructure improvements that would be necessary to accommodate increased traffic to new schools in the southern section of Killeen around Chaparral and Featherline roads.
The project with the highest priority, Director of Public Works David Olson said, is the expansion of Chaparral Road from a two-lane county road to a five-lane thoroughfare. By current estimates, the road can only accommodate about a half of the expected car traffic, David Olson said.'
Continuation of copy: 'The tentative completion date for the possible new high school — located near the corner of Chaparral and Featherline roads — is fall 2022.'
Continuation of copy: 'The same night, the city discussed new financial policies that would formalize the city’s practice of only issuing debt with a corresponding property tax rate increase and limiting the amount of property tax dedicated to debt service.'

Copy: 'New Financial Policy and why you should care: November 25, 2017

The audit, resulting in part from residents’ anger over the handling of public funds, revealed a web of mismanagement and a lack of financial controls that precipitated years of questionable spending practices and poor council decision making.
In short, Killeen residents care about how their taxpayer money is spent, and tight fiscal control helps prevent waste and promote growth.

The city’s updated debt policy would limit the amount of property tax used to service debt and limit the ability of the council to increase the city’s indebtedness.
The city’s new policies governing debt servicing would require the city to move toward a goal of 25 percent for the interest and sinking portion of the total property tax rate.
“The city will be considered compliant with this policy as long as the interest and sinking portion of the tax rate continuously decreases until it reaches the 25% level,” the policy states.
The city’s current interest and sinking portion of the property tax rate is 34.2 percent.
The new policy would ensure that more of the property tax bill a home- and business owner pays each year go to city operational expenses such as paying for public safety and improving community services.
In addition, the new policy ensures the council can propose a general obligation bond election — voted on by Killeen residents and paid for by property tax revenue — only if the debt service portion of the property tax stays level or decreases.
That effectively means the council cannot propose a bond election without an accompanying increase in the city’s property tax, adding a clear mechanism to pay back the floated debt.
“The staff is going to be compelled to come back to the council and say ‘you’re violating your policy,’” City Manager Ron Olson said Nov. 10. “It will help us understand (that) issuing debt without raising the tax rate is going to take us in the wrong direction,”
The city of Killeen currently holds $252 million in debt paid back through property tax revenue and utility payments, according to the Texas Bond Review Board.
While that debt figure is not unusual in relation to cities of similar size, the amount of an average resident’s property tax dedicated to servicing the city’s debt is unusually high for comparable municipalities.
In fiscal year 2017, the city paid 30 cents per $100 of taxable value assessed toward servicing its debt.
That number is only bested by the cities of Copperas Cove, which paid 32 cents per $100, and Temple, which paid 34 cents per $100, in the city’s 10-member benchmark group of cities comparable in demographics and size. End of copy.

“The city will be considered compliant with this policy as long as the interest and sinking portion of the tax rate continuously decreases until it reaches the 25% level,” the policy states.
In addition, the new policy ensures the council can propose a general obligation bond election — voted on by Killeen residents and paid for by property tax revenue — only if the debt service portion of the property tax stays level or decreases.

Then if I am understanding this, the policy for the city of Killeen must ensure that the interest and sinking portion of the tax rate must continuously decrease from the 34.2 percentage point where it currently resides and continue to decrease until it reaches a value of 25 percentage points.

The new policy would ensure that more of the property tax bill a home- and business owner pays each year go to city operational expenses such as paying for public safety and improving community services. These services reside now at 73 percent.

In addition, the new policy ensures the council can propose a general obligation bond election — voted on by Killeen residents and paid for by property tax revenue — only if the debt service portion of the property tax stays level or decreases.

Now this to me would seem to me to be 'not in conformance' with the preceding paragraph, ' the policy for the city of Killeen must ensure that the interest and sinking portion of the tax rate must continuously decrease from the 34.2 percentage point where it currently resides and continue to decrease until it reaches a value of 25 percentage points'.

This new policy states that 'The new policy would ensure that more of the property tax bill a home- and business owner pays each year go to city operational expenses such as paying for public safety and improving community services.
In addition, the new policy ensures the council can propose a general obligation bond election — voted on by Killeen residents and paid for by property tax revenue — only if the debt service portion of the property tax stays level or decreases'.

The change in the wording, 'Continues to decrease' and now, 'stays level' is quite a departure to me and it goes on to say that 'goes to city operational expenses such as paying for public safety and improving public services'. The public safety and community service is already at 73 percent and it's going to go up????

Copy: “We’re going to speak double talk to our citizens,” Councilman Jim Kilpatrick said.' Yes and 'why are we doing that'???? It's just another form of 'the old mushroom syndrome, kept in the dark and fed poop'. Why does this continue to be the case????

Why is it the KISD going for a bond proposal of 'up to $700 million, with a projected $300 dollars a square foot, when they don't even have an Architect'???? It seems to me that once again, 'we have the cart before the horse' and we are being asked to pay for it.

As before, some of the corespondents have stated, 'this city is broke what with the 73 percent in safety and administration,

Is that a precursor to why the debt limit has been decreased from 25 percent to I believe it is now at at 15 percent, to make room for the '$46 million in road infrastructure' necessary to have a 5 lane freeway going to and from this new High School to be located in the South Forty of this city????

I have to agree with the corespondents, that this looks like a selfish motivation of a few of Killeen's finest.

I too say 'vote no on these proposals'.

This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

eyewatchingu

The more I think about this, this seems to be a way to manipulate the tax payers into paying for the roads, schools and other infrastructure so those that are building the MUDD will not have to pay for the infrastructure.
What better way to get away with out paying is to get the KISD to go for a BOND for a new high school in that area, because then the city would be stuck online to pay for the roads and so on. This also would put money into the pockets of certain members that are in bed with the company building the MUDD that also sit on this KISD BOND committee, which would end up into the pockets of many city leaders.

So once again I say and stand by my opinion that city leaders and others are breaking the RICCO LAWS, and many more as I have pointed out serval times.

The worst part is, these leaders think you the TAX PAYERS and HOME OWNERS ARE STUPID and TO BUSY TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT THIS as they will word it so confusingly on the ballot that you will not understand what your voting for.

eyewatchingu

VOTE NO ON EVERYTHING WHEN THESE BONDS ARE ON THE BALLOTT be smart and send the message that we the CITZENS are sick of paying for their PIE IN THE SKY DREAMS.
The city council and kisd spending has just gotten way out of control.
Ask yourself how old will you be in 30 years, then ask yourself what you could have used that tax money for. Money you could use to repair your own home, take a small trip, leave a little cash for your kids, invested your money into a small business or eve have used the bond tax money to pay off a few bills.
In 30 years your tax money for these bond could have paid for tuition to a trade school. For some the tax increase would be the same as their house or car payment.
Ask yourself who honestly will benefit from theses bonds, you or the MUDD? You know the MUDD that don't have to pay taxes to Killeen and can set their own tax rate. Ask yourself who are the privilege ones that will be living in this MUDD?

Vote NO, remember it will be your kids and grand kids that will eventually have to finish paying for this Bond Tax increase. Why do you want to leave your future in debt?

Ask yourself honestly how many of the kids are going to stay in the area after going to school here. The answer is easy, Killeen is a transient city, that means your funding Kids that will only spend a few years here and move.

VOTE NO, so we don't end up with more empty large building falling apart, becoming drug havens and bringing down property values, which will increase crime.
Vote NO so we don't pay for another one of these city council failures like the Airport.

VOTE NO SEND THE MESSAGE WE ARE SICK OF PAYING FOR THIER AMERICAN DREAM! ITS TIME WE THE CITZENS GET THE CHANCE TO HAVE OUR AMERICAN DREAM!
VOTE NO ON THIESE BONDS

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