After one year as mayor of Killeen, Dan Corbin gave a cautiously optimistic appraisal of the city during his State of the City address on Thursday at city hall.
“The state of our city is good. Our city manager is doing an excellent job, team Killeen is getting better and better and stronger and stronger everyday,” Corbin said.
“I’m really proud to be associated with such a fine city and fine community as Killeen.”
With two months left in fiscal year 2012-2013, revenues are higher than planned and expenditures are lower. As a result, the city will likely end the year with a budget surplus, Corbin said.
“We’d rather have to find out how we’re going to spend the funds than how to cut it,” Corbin said. “It’s a good problem to have.”
The uncertainty of a possible drawdown of troops at Fort Hood, the city’s $32 billion economic engine, was less uplifting.
Corbin said Fort Hood lost 2,900 troops in the first round of budget cuts and he was unsure whether more would leave the post in the Army’s pledge to cut its overall force from 570,000 to 490,000.
“We are taking into account that uncertainty in our planning, especially when we consider borrowing money that will effect those in the future,” Corbin said.
Corbin mentioned three unresolved issues for the city, all of which concerned water treatment.
The council is weighing options to bring more treated drinking water to the city through a new water treatment plant on Stillhouse Hollow Lake, but no decision has been made who will provide that water.
City engineers have not solved the problem with the south wastewater treatment plant, which has suffered due to excessive fats, oils and grease clogging up its equipment.
A plan also is in the works to reuse treated effluent from the city’s north wastewater plant for irrigating the municipal golf course, Corbin said.
“In the future, as water becomes more and more scarce, it becomes more expensive,” Corbin said. “We need to look at ways we can deal with landscape better — to keep it alive,”
Corbin said code enforcement continues to be a priority for the Killeen City Council but also urged residents to take responsibility for the appearance of the city’s streets.
Stricter enforcement and heavy fines will come to those who do not follow the city’s codes, he said.
“The image of our city is really something that we should all be concerned about,” Corbin said.
“We want our city to be a place were there are consequences if you don’t take care of your property.”
As Killeen’s population continues to grow by around 2 percent each year, providing good transportation along its thoroughfares will be critical, Corbin said.
The proposed $8 million Trimmier Road expansion project is already under design by the city.
If approved by the council, the project would widen Trimmier Road to five lanes in the city’s busy retail corridor at Lowes Boulevard.
“We will have to make a decision soon whether to issue bonds and get rid of that huge public safety problem,” Corbin said.