Killeen city administrators favor a $30 million bond to pay for infrastructure tied to the Killeen school district’s potential $426 million debt issue, according to Killeen City Council discussion Tuesday.
City Manager Ron Olson said the city was proposing putting $30 million in debt up for voter approval to pay for two road projects surrounding four planned school facilities in the vicinity of Chaparral Road.
The two projects include the expansion of Chaparral Road from two to five lanes at an estimated cost of $21.5 million, and the expansion of East Trimmier Road south of Stagecoach Road from two to five lanes at an estimated cost of $7 million.
Olson said two other road projects identified in previous bond discussions were outside of the city’s five-year infrastructure horizon and would possibly not be included. Those projects include the expansion of West Trimmier Road between Stagecoach and Chaparral roads from two to five lanes at an estimated cost of $7.9 million, and the expansion of Featherline Road between Stagecoach and Chaparral roads from two to five lanes at an estimated cost of $9 million.
The bond referendum is expected to be placed on the May 5 ballot as a companion to the KISD bond. The deadline to submit the ballot paperwork is Feb. 16.
The council appeared resigned to the necessity of a city bond during discussion, saying residential growth in south Killeen and the movement of the KISD board of trustees made an associated bond mandatory.
“It’s not might or maybe — we are going to (grow)” Councilman Jonathan Okray said. “It would be wise to do what we need to do to run parallel with this expansion.”
Olson said improvements to Chaparral Road, which is a primarily county-owned road that extends into Harker Heights, would possibly be funded through an interlocal agreement with the county and Heights. Because the county has preliminarily committed to only building Chaparral to county standards — a two-lane road — the city of Killeen would be responsible for roughly 60 percent of the construction.
Olson said the city had not yet performed design studies or right-of-way analyses for the two projects, presenting a degree of unknown to the bond referendum.
“We are very early in this process, and there are things we don’t know or understand,” he said.
In other business, the council:
Discussed altering the Killeen Economic Development Corporation’s bylaws. The alterations would clarify meeting notices and Texas Open Meetings Act regulations, among other stipulations.
Discussed long-term budget strategies as planning for the fiscal year 2019 budget begins. Olson identified a group of projects he wanted the council to consider, including employee compensation that is significantly below market average, a change in direction for city employee retirement plans and needed funds for the city’s estimated $35 million in deferred road maintenance needs.
Reached a 4-3 consensus to not pursue changes to the city’s street light ordinance, which requires developers to place lights at every city intersection and at 1,200-foot intervals in city neighborhoods.