LOCAL GOVERNMENT

The Killeen City Council will hold its second of two hearings on the city’s proposed tax rate and 2019 budget at a regular meeting Tuesday.

Both hearings could be residents’ last chance to provide input to the council on the budget before it is scheduled for ratification Sept. 18.

After the council’s first public hearing on the budget Tuesday, it reached a unanimous consensus to set aside $400,000 in the 2019 budget for a contingency account for homeowner lateral sewer line repairs after five residents pleaded with the council for aid.

According to current city policy, homeowners are required to pay for repairs to later sewer lines that cross under property lines and connect to city mains in the public right-of-way — at a cost of up to $25,000 in some cases.

The council moved to use the water-sewer fund’s $100,000 contingency fund and $300,000 in capital improvement funds to act as an account for affected homeowners. The fund would only be used if the council votes to formally change its policy to accept responsibility for the repairs at a later date.

The city’s proposed budget is balanced for the second straight year with no significant cuts to city personnel or public services. However, the spending plan includes little increased funding for city-owned building repairs or a growing deficit in deferred street maintenance needs.

The council’s preliminary property tax rate is 75.75 cents per $100 of taxable value assessed — a nearly 0.8-cent increase from the current rate.

The 0.7575 rate would bring in roughly $420,000 in additional revenue above current budget projections, the city said.

For the owner of a $150,000 home, with no exemptions applied, it would represent a $11.55 tax bill increase from fiscal 2018.

In other business Tuesday, the council will vote on renewing its two-year agreements with the Killeen Economic Development Corporation and Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce.

In a surprise move Tuesday, the council reached a 4-3 consensus to add a sunset provision on its agreement with the chamber with the intent of fully de-funding the organization in the coming years.

According to a council memorandum, the council entered agreements with both organizations in November 1990 with an allocation of no less than 2 percent of the city’s property tax revenues each year.

In a council presentation July 28, EDC President Charlie Watts requested $386,354 in funding from the city in fiscal 2019, the same amount as the current year.

Both the KEDC and chamber are primarily funded through payments from the city’s general fund and water-sewer fund totaling $725,054 each year. Unlike cities such as Copperas Cove, which allocates a portion of its sales tax revenue for its chamber and EDC, the Killeen City Council sets its funding for the two entities every two years.

According to the council’s discussion Tuesday, it intends to honor both organizations’ funding requests in the 2019 budget.

The council’s regular meeting will begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Utility Collections Building, 210 W. Avenue C.

kyleb@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

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