LOCAL GOVERNMENT

The Killeen City Council will receive a second briefing Tuesday from The Hop on the regional transit system’s request for more than $455,000 from the city to help cover an expected shortfall in fiscal 2019.

The Hill Country Transit District, which operates The Hop, has held public hearings in Belton, Temple, Harker Heights, Killeen and Copperas Cove on possible service cuts to the service as the system attempts to cover a $901,000 shortfall caused in part by less revenue from a state Medicaid contract.

According to director Darrell Burtner, the system is proposing to eliminate Route 5 in west Killeen, eliminate Saturday service systemwide, and cut non-peak hour service in Heights and Cove. The service would extend parts of Route 100, which operates around Interstate 14 in west Killeen, and Route 4, which primarily runs around the interstate in east Killeen, to pick up Route 5’s most popular stops, Burtner said.

Route 5 covers around 12 miles, with a northernmost stop at the Killeen Transfer Station in downtown Killeen, in a geographic area roughly bordered by Hereford Drive to the east, Elms Road to the south and Willow Springs Road to the west.

For Killeen, the system is asking for $455,749 in fiscal 2019 — a roughly $330,000 increase from the current year. If the service does not received the requested contributions, some or all of the projected cuts would take effect Oct. 1, Burtner said.

Although City Manager Ron Olson included the system’s request in a balanced budget he presented to the council Aug. 7, he told the council Tuesday he was not set on the number and wanted the council to make the ultimate decision on how much of the request to fund.

The Hop presentation will come as part of a larger budget workshop Tuesday, when the council will receive briefings from all of the city’s “community partners,” including the Killeen Economic Development Corporation and the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce.

The workshop will be the fourth and final briefing on the budget before the council will hold a public hearing on the spending plan Sept. 4. The budget is set for approval Sept. 18.

The proposed budget is balanced with no significant cuts to city personnel or increases in rates or property taxes. On the downside, the budget doesn’t include increased funding for the city’s street maintenance backlog or building maintenance needs.

The workshop will begin at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Utilities Collection Building, 210 W. Avenue C.

A regular meeting will follow at 5 p.m. at the same location.

Also Tuesday, the council will:

Receive a semiannual briefing from the Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1, the city’s sole wholesale provider of drinking water and sewer services for the city of Killeen.

Vote to accept a state grant to purchase 190 new body-worn cameras for the Killeen Police Department.

Vote on a $143,821 contract for technology upgrades at the city’s under-construction council chambers at City Hall, 101 N. College St. The upgrades will be paid through Public, Education and Governmental funds, which are franchise fees paid by city cable providers.

kyleb@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

(1) comment

Cherbear

Well I don't see why our city council won't give hop the money; it's only about $500,000 and they just gave the airport $5,000,000. Making sure people can do their shopping, go to the doctor and go to work, church and visit family and friends is more important.

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