A long-awaited discussion on a residential district bordering south Killeen was a dud at Tuesday’s Killeen City Council workshop as council members made clear it was not a priority as potential bond talks continue.
In June, Councilman Steve Harris requested an investigation into the 2013 agreement between the city and Killeen developer Bruce Whitis paving the way for the 3,750-home Bell County Municipal Utility District No. 2 on Chaparral Road.
After a seven-month wait for that item to come before the council, council members largely discredited the investigation Tuesday, saying the contract was legally binding and should be discussed in court rather than council session.
The item was part of larger council discussion prioritizing items the council wanted Killeen City Manager Ron Olson to tackle in the coming months. In a now-familiar “dotting” session, in which council members place three dots on a list of items to determine highest priority, the council determined Killeen school district road infrastructure, a KISD joint meeting and council protocol were the most pressing tasks.
The MUD investigation and a slew of other items were further down the totem pole.
Harris indicated during the discussion he had new information on the agreement that could create legal concerns for the city if unaddressed but did not disclose what new details he had.
Councilman Jonathan Okray, who alongside Harris and former Councilman Terry Clark voted against the agreement in 2013, said legal discussions should be taken to court, not the council.
“I didn’t vote for the MUD either, but if we have new information about a signed contract, the place for that discussion is in civil court,” Okray said.
However, Harris was adamant that the obligations between the city and the developer should be revisited in light of a potential bond the council is currently considering.
Killeen City Manager Ron Olson said Tuesday the city is proposing a $30 million bond referendum to pay for two road projects surrounding planned school facilities in the Killeen school district’s proposed $426 million debt issue. The council is expected to vote to place the bond on the May 5 ballot on Feb. 13.
One of the projects, the extension of Chaparral Road to a five-lane thoroughfare, is earmarked in the MUD agreement for partial developer reimbursement as the road will service the MUD’s future residents. With possible bond funds paying for that project, it is still unknown how the MUD agreement will factor into funding the project and whether the city’s design standards will accommodate the expected 3,750 households.
“As adamant as some are that the MUD is done, I’m equally adamant in the other direction,” Harris said.