The Killeen City Council reached a split decision Tuesday on approving a five-year capital improvements plan as part of its pre-budgeting process.
The plan, which outlines upcoming infrastructure projects and available funding sources, must be approved by the council every fiscal year, according to the council’s governing policy.
The council reached a 4-3 decision to approve the plan, with council members Juan Rivera and Debbie Nash-King and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Kilpatrick voting in support. Council members Gregory Johnson, Steve Harris and Shirley Fleming voted against.
Mayor Jose Segarra broke the tie with Councilman Hugh “Butch” Menking not in attendance.
Johnson, offering the dissenting opinion, said he did not want to approve a plan that outlined projects that did not have specific funding sources tied to them.
At issue was the city’s proposal to pay for drainage and water-sewer projects starting in fiscal 2020 with new revenue bonds that would not require resident approval. Unlike general obligation bonds, which are paid back through property tax revenue and require voter approval, a drainage bond would be paid back through utility fees and would require only council approval.
For drainage, the city has proposed an $8 million bond to pay for improvements outlined in the city’s 2012 Drainage Master Plan. Killeen Director of Public Works David Olson said discussion on the bond could be delayed until next year.
The same idea is being floated for a water-sewer bond that would replace 2013 bond funds that are expected to be expended in fiscal 2019.
The city has not said how large a new water-sewer bond would be, but a preliminary capital improvement schedule shows the possible bond covering around $4 million in expenditures annually through fiscal 2023. Because the 2013 bond is paid back through utility fees, a new bond would not necessarily raise Killeen water-sewer rates depending on the size and term of the bond.
Olson told council members that the plan was not binding and did not allocate funds for listed projects.
“It’s a living document, so to speak,” Olson said.
During the budgeting process starting in August, the council will be asked to approve a municipal budget that allocates funds for the projects in the plan, effectively making those projects binding when the budget is approved.
As part of the plan, the city’s only major road project scheduled for funding in fiscal 2019 is the extension of Rosewood Drive to Chaparral Road at a cost of $3.56 million. More than $2.8 million of that cost will be reimbursed through federal funding.
Two city facility improvements are scheduled for funding in fiscal 2019 — one of them a long time coming for seniors.
The Bob Gilmore Senior Center at 2205 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd. will see two phases of renovations paid for by federal Community Development Block Grant funding. The renovations will include accessibility upgrades, Americans with Disability Act compliance in the facility’s restrooms and upgrades to the kitchen. There are not matching funds necessary for CDBG funding.
The city also plans to construct an emergency operations center at the Killeen Arts and Activities Center at 801 N. Fourth St., using grant money. The city currently does not have a center for operations in the event of a major disaster.