COPPERAS COVE — Residents will have their first chance to vote on a $6 million bond to construct a fire station and police substation in the eastern portion of the city during early voting Monday.
If approved, the bond would fund the design and construction of the city’s fourth fire station and first police substation.
The station will be located on Old Copperas Cove Road and the future Charles Tillman Way between Constitution Boulevard and Robert Griffin III Boulevard.
The bond amount was originally higher, but the city removed the purchase of several new fire department vehicles.
If approved by voters, the building is still about two years away from being completed, so the city decided to delay the purchase of new fire engines for a later time, Fire Chief Burney Baskett said.
If approved by voters Nov. 5, the city plans to issue the bond in the 2015 fiscal year, which could increase property taxes.
The bond would amount to about 3.32 cents per $100 of property valuation if city revenues do not increase from new property in the next year.
“Depending on the economic environment, the increase could possibly be phased in over three years,” stated a document from the city. “The potential tax rate impact for a homestead with a $100,000 taxable value is $31.55 in 2015.”
Baskett and City Manager Andrea Gardner said it is possible those costs will be offset based on development of properties such as Five Hills, the Narrows Business and Technology Park and the Copperas Cove Business and Professional Park, which are in different stages of development.
“It will depend on what happens with those developments and how that affects the sales tax and property tax revenue,” Gardner said.
The Copperas Cove area is anticipated to grow, especially with the opening of the U.S. Highway 190 bypass, Gardner said. New residential development is being planned.
Even without development, there are plenty of structures for the proposed fire station to service in the area, Baskett said.
“If you look at the threats that are out there, you have three big hotels, a movie theater, apartment complex and more,” said Deputy Fire Chief Gary Young.
The city has already planned out the station’s response area while preparing for its construction, Young said.
According to city data, there is an estimated 2,231 addresses in the area, including four schools and more than 2,000 homes. The construction of the fire station should reduce response time to those addresses by almost two minutes. The city’s main fire station, at 415 S. Main St., responds to those addresses now.
Average response times in the eastern portion of Copperas Cove and the Five Hills shopping center are 5 minutes, 49 seconds, the city said. The national standard for average response time is 4 minutes.
Development in the area has not only caused a larger call volume, but has increased traffic, which hampers response time, according to the city.