The Killeen City Council received a brief presentation on citywide capital improvements — including two possible new bonds — at its workshop session Tuesday.
Killeen Director of Public Works David Olson gave the council a “preliminary overview” of the city’s proposed five-year capital improvements plan, a guide for citywide improvements required by the City Charter.
As part of his presentation, Olson floated the possibility of two bonds to pay for water-sewer and drainage projects beginning in fiscal year 2020. Unlike roadway project debt, which is paid back through property tax revenue and must be approved by voters, the city’s two possible debt issues would be “revenue bonds” — meaning they are paid back through utility fees and do not need voter approval.
While the presentation does not specifically list a total dollar amount for each bond, a spreadsheet shows around $9.2 million in estimated drainage projects through fiscal year 2023 and $14.75 million in water-sewer projects.
Among the water-sewer projects the city has put as top priority are the multi-year installation of an 18-inch sewer gravity main, water infrastructure to connect to the coming Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 treatment plant on Stillhouse Hollow Lake, the 11th phase of the city’s septic tank elimination program, and the third phase of the city’s water line rehabilitation program.
Drainage projects include the completion of a drainage master plan, and the reconstruction of Valley Road Ditch and Patriotic Ditch at Zephyr Road.
The city last updated its drainage master plan in 2012.
Tuesday’s presentation was the first of multiple planned discussions on the plan, and Olson told the council to prepare questions for another workshop session July 3.
According to the City Charter, the council must draft a capital improvements program every five years to arrange for long-term funding. According to the city’s presentation, there are 140 citywide projects listed as “long-range unfunded” with a price tag of more than $881 million.
As the council considers issuing new debt for future projects, the water and sewer department is currently sitting on a 30 percent fund balance, which could help pay for future projects. The council budgeted more than $12 million in working capital for fiscal 2018.
The city’s current financial policy says reserve funds in excess of 22 percent must be used for capital expenditures, potentially freeing up millions in improvement funds.
In other business, the council voted to approve a $409,313 contract for the fifth phase of the city’s sewer line sanitary sewer evaluation survey.
The evaluation, which will include “smoking” sewer lines,” covers 637,169 feet of sewer line.
Since 2011, the city has been a participant in the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s Sanitary Sewer Overflow Initiative Program, which requires the evaluation and rehabilitation of defects in the city’s sewer system.
According to the city, the evaluation and rehabilitation of defects is complete in all sewer lines in phases one to three, and phase four rehab is underway.
The city said funding for the project is available in the 2013 water-sewer bond.