Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin gave his third, and final, State of the City address Monday night at City Hall.
Corbin used the event to hit on several talking points including the city’s financial health, investments in capital projects and the success of the current council.
Addressing the handful of residents in attendance, Corbin explained the council’s fairly recent investment in a new water treatment facility to meet the city’s growing demand.
“Prior to that decision, we were getting 32 million gallons per day of treated water for the Lake Belton plant operated by the Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1,” he said. “The amount of water that could be treated out of that plant was limited, and (WCID-1) could not increase the capacity of that plant.”
In March, the City Council approved a $5 million down payment on a water treatment plant at Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.
The plant will provide the city with an additional 10 million gallons of treated water per day and is expected to meet the city’s growing need for another two decades.
Killeen was forced to begin planning for future water usage by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in 2011 when it reached the 85 percent mark of its treatment capacity.
“When we looked at the debt services, we paid $5 million down, and the cost is going to be about $30 million,” Corbin said. “WCID-1 would issue the remaining $25 million in bonds so it wouldn’t be on our balance sheet, and that was very attractive to us.”
The current council also authorized the use of graywater in October, freeing up 500,000 gallons of water a day. The initiative is a water reuse project to irrigate the golf course with graywater rather than potable water.
“It’s good for conservation, it’s good for the environment, and it will also satisfy some of our water needs,” Corbin said. “Our council is the one that said, ‘Yes, we will build a water treatment plant, and we will do reuse.’ We’ll see in the future whether that was a wise move or not, but we bit the bullet on that.”
Corbin also touted some of the city’s successful initiatives including the recently completed downtown revitalization project, the city’s “Killeen Up!” initiative and a reduction in the crime rate.
He said the success of the city should be attributed not only to the current council, but also to past councils that made decisions to bring the city’s vision to fruition.
Corbin said during the past two years, city officials have said “Killeen up” in an effort to take pride in the city and change the way it looks.
“I remember well, in 2003, when I was on the City Council, there was a lot of press here because the 4th Infantry Division was deploying to Iraq and it was going to be one of the leading elements,” he said. “We got a lot of press coming in here and some of the newspaper articles referred to us as a ‘scruffy little Army town with pawn shops and fast food joints.’ Many of us were highly offended at first, and some of us started to think, ‘What can we do to improve this image?’”
Corbin said, as a result, Code Enforcement has grown from having two officers to a department of 12 officers.
Corbin also touted the decrease in the city’s crime rate from 2012 to 2013.
“The violent crime index declined 11.41 percent between 2012 and 2013. The overall crime index decreased 5 percent between 2012 and 2013,” he said. “So we continue to make efforts. One of the ways to get the crime rate down is what the council has been doing for quite a number of years, and that’s continuing to hire additional police officers.”