Construction on Florence Road in Killeen

Workers perform road construction in the 900 block of Florence Road in Killeen on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. A section of the road from Fowler Avenue to Pearl Street will be closed for asphalt repair and sewer main maintenance from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. Construction will involve an open cut excavation to replace sewer mains. The city recommends alternate routes during the closure times.

Killeen officials will postpone discussion on a controversial street maintenance fee on resident and commercial water bills after an engineering study slated for completion by mid-July has been delayed.

Killeen City Manager Ron Olson told the Killeen City Council that an update on the city’s deferred street maintenance costs — tentatively set at $40 million — would not be completed until mid-August, which is right in the middle of budget season.

To avoid conflicting with budget creation, Olson proposed setting council talks on the fee for October.

The street fee, which has been voted down twice by the council in recent years, would help counteract ballooning deferred maintenance costs that have been woefully underfunded in past city budgets.

In fiscal year 2018, the council allocated $300,000 in funding for street maintenance — around $1.6 million less than the recommended amount, according a 2013 road infrastructure study from Transmap. That continued underfunding has left some roads in older stretches of Killeen in increasing disrepair and has exponentially raised the cost of preventing major infrastructure failure.

Also Tuesday, the council received a briefing on the status of builder impact fees, which have been in the planning stages since 2010.

According to the city, a Capital Improvements Advisory Committee necessary for impact fee implementation is still awaiting an applicant from the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction before it can proceed.

The impact fees would be added onto commercial or residential building permits and help pay for new infrastructure costs in high-growth areas. According to state law, the fees are use limited to infrastructure outside of new developments that service those developments.

Developers are responsible for building infrastructure inside of new developments and dedicate that infrastructure to the city for future maintenance after the developments are built out.

The advisory committee is required by state law and must be comprised of at least five members: one from the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, two from the real estate or development industry and two residents.

The council directed the city to seek out applications for the committee in June after it reached a consensus to accept outside applications rather than using the city’s nine-member Planning and Zoning Commission due to concerns over a conflict of interest.

The council approved the implementation of the fees in August 2016 as the city looked for new sources of revenue to help pay for new road and water-sewer infrastructure. By state law, impact fees cannot be used for maintenance of existing infrastructure.

According to the city, impact fees could recover more than $40 million for future road, water and sewer projects.

In other business, the council received a briefing from the Killeen Economic Development Corporation, Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce and 14 Forward on the status of Killeen’s business attraction and retention.

Abdul Subhani, president of the chamber, told the council the corporation and chamber were limited by funds received from the city and touted the 14 Forward initiative as a strong push from local business leaders to fill in the gap with $2 million in private funding.

“That (initiative) should be a strong statement to everybody that the business community stepped up and is saying we need change,” he said.

kyleb@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

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