By Robert Nathan

Killeen Daily Herald

HARKER HEIGHTS – The council approved a resolution authorizing First Southwest Company to begin preliminary steps for financing $17 million to fund these projects, with $12 million coming from the general fund and $5 million coming from the utility fund.

"The preliminary timeline shows that we would actually receive the money sometime around the middle of September," said Alberta Barrett, the city's financial director.

Garry Kimball of First Southwest told council members at last week's workshop that if they do not take action soon, the window for taking care of such projects could diminish if the tax rate changes. The city will determine what capital improvement projects will be funded at a meeting in late July and is not obligated to do anything right now.

The city is considering funding water and sewage projects – along with building, parks and street improvement projects – to prepare for the city's increasing population.

The City Council has discussed borrowing money to finance capital improvement projects because the city would be able to pay off such a debt with the tax revenue from the rapid growth the city is now experiencing.

In other business, the council approved a resolution for the Armed Services YMCA's requested construction contract for a proposed swimming pool complementing its spray park. The YMCA has raised $165,000 through grants and donations, but has requested the city provide an additional $150,000 to build the swimming pool.

The resolution approving a construction contract authorizes City Manager Steve Carpenter to take all action necessary to negotiate the parameters of the contract with the YMCA.

Carpenter said there are still some issues that need to be discussed and worked out with the YMCA, which include ensuring enough parking at the facility and usage fees for the swimming pool are in line with the city's recreation center's swimming pool fees.

Mayor Ed Mullen praised the YMCA "for the rehabilitation of that whole area. The spray park will be in soon and the swimming pool will a good addition to it."

The swimming pool would be relatively the same size as the swimming pool at the recreation center; however, there are few available grants within the YMCA to fund such a project because hurricanes Katrina and Rita hampered grant distribution. The YMCA plans to make the swimming pool open to the public at a small usage fee and to provide swimming lessons. Eventually, the YMCA wants to make the pool usable year round.

The YMCA wants to have the swimming pool finished by the end of the summer, but the city might not have the $150,000 budgeted until the next fiscal year.

"If you open it up in September, you're not going to be able to use it this year, and you'd be better to open it when it is hot," Carpenter said.

Contact Robert Nathan at

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