In a surprise turn Tuesday, the Killeen City Council voted to restart the implementation process for developer impact fees after a council consensus Feb. 21 to halt the fee schedule.
The fees are one-time charges that would apply to building permits for developers by geographic zone for roadway fees and citywide for water and wastewater fees.
According to a 2015 study by Kimley-Horn & Associates, the fees would be used over a 10-year span to fund capital improvement projects, such as road upgrades and water- and sewer-line improvements.
Kimley-Horn predicted the fees could recover $27.5 million for roadway projects and more than $13 million for water and wastewater projects over the plan’s lifespan.
During discussion on the item at its regular meeting Tuesday, the council followed the same voting lines as it did during the original consensus, but with one major exception: Councilwoman Shirley Fleming.
On Feb. 21, Fleming said her constituents in District 1 said they weren’t in
favor of the fees, leading her to vote against continuing the fee schedule.
Councilmen Jim Kilpatrick, Juan Rivera and Gregory Johnson again voted against the fees.
Rivera, who read a statement from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Feb. 21 in opposition to the fees in general, repeated his argument and said fees on building permits were bad for business and growth.
“Even the governor of this great state said impact fees are destroying the state,” Rivera said.
Kilpatrick echoed Rivera’s argument, saying the estimated revenue from impact fees is based on out-of-date projections and would not bring in the wished-for funds — all on top of stifling growth.
“For the first time in history, Temple has more (single-family residential) building permits than Killeen — and they’re 40 percent the size,” he said. “We’re not going to raise the millions of dollars projected by these fees.”
Johnson said he was adamant developer impact fees should not be imposed on commercial builders to avoid stifling business development. Councilman Richard “Dick” Young said the council could assess at a later date whether the fees should be levied from commercial or residential developers, or both.
At the meeting, the council also voted to table an agreement with SCS Engineers to draft a request for proposals to outsource the city’s solid waste department.
Young, the chairman of the ad hoc solid waste committee in charge of directing the outsourcing effort, said Feb. 21 he believed City Manager Ron Olson should be given a chance to increase efficiency in the department before putting it up for competition to an outside company.
In his Tuesday script to introduce the ordinance, Public Works Director David Olson requested the council table to item so the department had time to put its best foot forward in the process.
The council voted 5-2 to table the ordinance with Johnson and Councilman Jonathan Okray voting in dissent.
The item will come back before the council during its first workshop in September.