Boarding bridge

Passenger boarding bridges at the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport are seen. The city of Killeen is currently seeking bids to replace the 14-year-old bridges at gates 2-5 as part of a federally funded grant program.

The Killeen City Council held its third round of discussions on amending complimentary parking fees at the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport at its workshop Tuesday.

The council briefly discussed the possible elimination of 23 parking exemptions for certain veterans at the airport as the city seeks revenue to prop up the airport’s flagging budget.

According to the city, the airport loses about 43 percent of its parking revenue each year to the exemptions — or 11 percent of the airport’s revenues on the whole.

In fiscal year 2017, those exemptions added up to $306,832 in lost revenue, a $52,000 increase from the year before.

For veterans, the airport offers a range of exemptions, including for those who are at least 50 percent disabled veterans, Medal of Honor recipients, former prisoners of war, Pearl Harbor survivors or Purple Heart recipients, among others.

According to the city, a weekly census in late June on which exemptions were most often used showed disabled veteran motorists composed around 80 percent of all exempt parkers.

The council did not make a motion Tuesday directing the city to eliminate any of the exemptions. The topic is expected for further discussion at a later date.

Also on Tuesday, the council discussed a $277,407 contract with Mitchell Construction to upgrade its aging chambers, including plans to use the space for both meeting and workshops. The amount is for the renovations minus the audio-visual upgrades.

The council currently conducts its nonvoting workshops in the Utilities Collection Building across the street from City Hall.

On April 26, the city posted bid applications online for the project, which the council budgeted a total of $496,028 in the fiscal year 2018 budget.

Of that total, $300,000 was originally budgeted from Public, Educational or Governmental funds, which are paid by cable providers as a requirement for their state franchise.

According to Killeen Director of Community Services Leslie Hinkle, the funds can be allocated for more than the original $300,000 due to stipulations in state law.

The city’s plans for the chambers include accommodations for meetings, workshops and executive sessions at the current facility at City Hall.

The redesign would also include new electrical wiring, HVAC, sound, lighting, and cosmetic improvements to include carpet, upholstery, paint and window shades.

According to a council presentation posted online, the city has proposed re-posting the portion of the bid dedicated to upgrading the chamber’s video technology due to a wide price range of bids submitted.

The city recommended seeking bidders on the video upgrades through a Request for Proposals, which will allow bidders to tailor the equipment to the meeting space. That RFP would be posted at a later date.

The current council chambers were constructed in 1995, according to the city, and have had no significant improvements since construction. | 254-501-7567

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