With an estimated $1.6 million annual deficit in road maintenance expenses, the Killeen City Council today will discuss implementing a new fee to help bridge the gap.
At a special workshop following its regular meeting, the council will discuss establishing a street maintenance fee — previously referred to as a transportation utility fee — which will be tacked on monthly utility bills for residents and businesses.
According to a city PowerPoint presentation, the amount of the fee will be determined by the type of property being charged and the estimated amount of car trips to and from that location each day.
The city said land uses such as residential homes, apartment complexes and supermarkets would be broken into “units,” which would determine the amount of the monthly fee. For instance, a single-family residence would contain one unit while commercial land would have one unit per 1,000 square feet of building area.
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.
In November, the city estimated deferred maintenance needs could exceed $40 million.
If past discussion is any indication, the proposed fee could face stiff opposition from some council members.
In July 2017, Councilman Gregory Johnson said the fees were a tax in disguise.
“If we’re talking about transportation utility fees, I will expense all of my political capital to kill that — for the third time,” Johnson said at the time.
The council will discuss the proposed fee during a special workshop immediately following regular meeting at 5 p.m. today. The workshop will be held at the Utilities Collection Building, 210 W. Avenue C.