Killeen could see $20 million in capital improvement projects if approved by the City Council.
Some of those projects include constructing a new fire station, upgrading the community center and completing various street projects, according to a memorandum presented to the council Tuesday.
In 2002, voters approved $64.2 million in general obligation debt for streets, public safety improvements, and parks and recreation projects. General obligation debt is issued by municipalities, whose credit is based on tax receipts and its ability to levy taxes to support the debt issued. This kind of debt must be approved by voters.
“The city uses bond funding for long-term nonrecurring capital projects like buildings and infrastructure. When issuing bonds, projects are grouped together like in this proposed sale in order to save interest and costs of issuance,” said Martie Simpson, Killeen’s director of finance. “Much like an individual would finance a large purchase, like a house or a car, issuing bonds allows the project or purchase to begin now and then debt to be repaid over time.”
Of the $64.2 million, $6.1 million remains. The city is asking the council to approve its use and issue $13.9 million in certificates of obligation debt, which are bonds issued by municipalities without voter approval to finance public projects.
According to city documents, city staff is requesting $1.59 million of the remaining general obligation debt from the 2002 bond election be used for public safety facilities and $4.6 million for parks and recreation projects.
Those projects include construction of Fire Station No. 9, which is estimated to cost $8 million with $600,000 being reimbursed through ad valorem tax obligations. It will be built on Bunny Trail, two blocks south of Stan Schlueter Loop in south Killeen.
Parks and recreation upgrades include $735,000 to the Killeen Community Center, $700,000 for the Westside Trail and $3.16 million for general park upgrades to the Bob Gilmore Senior Center and park maintenance. Those projects are supplemented by a $1.4 million Texas Department of Transportation enhancement grant and $1 million in city-issued refunding bonds for outstanding ad valorem tax obligations, according to city documents.
The city will pour $7.4 million into streets projects. The next major project to alleviate traffic is the widening of Trimmier Road and the extension of Lowes Boulevard to Florence Road.
The project still has to go before the council for approval, but it’s expected to go out for bid sometime this year. It has a price tag of $8.4 million. Another $1 million will be poured into improving W.S. Young Drive.
The projects are supplemented by $2 million in Category 7 funding, which is part of the Surface Transportation Program and doled out by TxDOT to areas with populations exceeding 200,000. The funds are allocated through the Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization.