The Harker Heights City Council on Tuesday cleared the way to distribute application forms and funding from Phase 2 of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) Small Business Grant Program.

According to City Secretary Julie Helsham, application forms will be available on the city’s website: when the application period begins on Friday, Nov. 13 and ends on Nov. 25.

To receive the funding, the city must spend 75 percent of the allocation on medical expenses, public health expenses and payroll expenses. Twenty-five percent must be spent or allocated for expenses of actions to facilitate compliance with COVID-19, expenses associated with the provision of economic support or any other COVID-19 expense needed to function.

The council awarded Small Business Grants as part of Phase 1 during its Oct. 27 meeting. The amount of those grants totaled $89,468.50 and funded 30 eligible grant applications.

Phase 2 of the Small Business Grant program will have $250,000 in grant monies for distribution. City staff has recommended two changes for this next grant cycle. First, the maximum grant amount per applicant will be $5,000 instead of $3,000. Secondly, nonprofit organizations that are 501 C-3 will be eligible. Those nonprofits, however, can only utilize the grant funds for personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies.

The funding meets the requirements of the 25 percent allocation and will again be administered by the Central Texas Council of Governments.

In other business, Director of Public Works Mark Hyde informed the council that the 2020 Street Improvement Projects bid had been awarded to Lonestar Grading and Materials, LLC, in the amount of $572,495.56.

Hyde said, “ The projects will include subgrade cement stabilization, asphalt paving, construction of two metal beat guardrails, construction of a 6-foot-wide concrete valley gutter, ADA paths, sidewalks and parking lot improvements.

The project is expected to begin in January 2022.

In other business, resident Raymond Hamden requested the council forgive all or a part of the city liens in the amount of $16,602.75 placed upon property at 114 East Valley Road. Hamden’s intent is to purchase the property, rezone it to a Two-Family Dwelling District and construct a duplex on the lot.

City Manager David Mitchell explained the agenda item after the meeting. “The liens consisted of demolition of the structure and mowing of the yard since 2011,” Mitchell said. “The council agreed tonight to waive the interest that has accrued and asked that $9,179 be reimbursed which has been the actual cost to the city to maintain the property.

“We want something built on the lot,” Mitchell said. “Either Mr. Hamden or the property owner would pay the $9,179 to the city. Once they make the payment, we’ll waive the interest, but they must obtain a certificate of occupancy to build on the property.”

Also Tuesday, the council unanimously approved the granting of a conditional-use permit and Tavern overlay to allow for the construction of an upscale modular storage container business park that will be converted into leasable office space for small-business owners.

The owner of the property, Robert Cavazos of the Erarob Corporation DBA, told council members telephonically Tuesday night that the business park would occupy a majority of the property at 126 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd. Cavazos, who also owns Daiquiri Express, wants to relocate that business to 128 E. Veterans Blvd. and asked permission for a Tavern Overlay to operate it as a business that sells alcohol beverages to include beer and wine only for on-premise consumption.

In other business, Finance Director Ayesha Lealilee presented highlights of the unaudited financial statements for the fourth quarter of FY2019-2020 by reporting that the total revenues at the end of the 2020 fiscal year are $22,488,197 that is 104.06 percent of the $21,611.200 budgeted.

Mitchell said, “I am elated with this news. I had a feeling it might have gone in a negative direction.”

Lealilee also discussed the FY 2019-2020 fourth-quarter investment report by saying, “The total amount invested as of Sept. 30 was $23,703,539.16, a decrease of $5,093,977.81, attributed to routine operating expenses and decreases in the utility, drainage, plus debt payments made in August 2020.”

Lealilee said that the investment portfolio shows that most of the city’s investments (54.20 percent) will mature within one month of Sept. 30.

In other business, the council with a 5-0 vote disapproved granting a conditional-use permit for a salvage yard on property at 1100 E. Knights Way.

Following a public hearing held Oct. 28 by the Planning and Zoning Commission, the P&Z voted 7-0 to recommend denial of the CUP to allow for a salvage yard on the property.

The staff also received citizen responses that equated to roughly 93 percent of the properties within 200 feet who recommended denial.

The council also unanimously disapproved granting a conditional-use permit to allow for a greenhouse on property described as the Amaya Addition at 12696 E. Knights Way.

The council took action on the these additional agenda items:

Granted a conditional use permit to allow for an accessory dwelling unit on property at 1614 Beaver Trail.

Approved reappointing City Manager David Mitchell as the alternate representative to fill the vacancy to the Bell County Health District Board.

Approved the following requests for facility rentals: Daniel Ganoe, Stephen Watson, Kasey Winter and Bunk Morris. Morris and the Pan American Golf Association also asked for approval for alcohol services. This would be a BYOB-type of event.

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