The Killeen City Council has spent roughly $29 million in federal relief funding through the American Rescue Plan Act, which is a national debt-relief fund passed by Congress in March that allocates money to cities for use on anything COVID-19 related such as rent relief, salary relief, and community development.
The following programs are those that have been tentatively approved, pending confirmation through the adoption of the fiscal year 2022 budget.
Emergency Operations Center
The largest program by far, the City Council approved the establishment of an emergency operations center across from the Killeen Independent School District. bus depot. The facility will include a fire station and training facility for the fire department, and will serve as the new base of operations in case of an emergency such as Winter Storm Uri.
Public Safety Premium Pay
The premium pay bonus is a $2 an hour bonus for public safety workers, including the fire and police departments.
The pay bonus is intended to first be paid out of the American Rescue Plan Act funding for the 2022 fiscal year, and paid only 50% by the same fund the year after. By 2024, the pay increase should be sustained entirely by the general fund.
Hotel Occupancy Tax Fund
The city is required to set aside a certain amount of its total budget every year. For FY 2022, the city will fund the Hotel Occupancy Tax fund through American Rescue Plan Act.
The fund allocated various grants to the arts and assists with deferred maintenance. The fund experienced a certain amount of tumult last year when COVID-19 restrictions forced many grant receivers to delay and eventually cancel their shows, returning the grant to the general fund where it helped to offset the impact of COVID-19 and Winter Storm Uri.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas
The Club requested a $750,000 grant from the city, which would be matched by an additional $750,000 grant for a total of $1.5 million. The grant was a point of contention for the City Council, with an original motion of direction to include the grant in the FY 2022 budget being struck down in a vote of four to three. However, a motion passed just one week later, with Councilwoman Nina Cobb flipping her vote from no to yes, ultimately approving the measure.
This fund was intended to be used to fund downtown events such as the Food Fest, Summer Music series and “Market Night Fridays.” According to city staff reports, the events would increase traffic to the “historical overlay district,” increasing awareness and sales of downtown businesses.
The fund began was originally slated for $100,000, but in light of a previously stated desire to revitalize downtown, the City Council increased funding to the current amount of $200,000.
Mental Health Program
Killeen will engage police and fire officers in mental health response training.
Police range & Training Facility
The Killeen Police Department was also approved for a new shooting range and training facility. City staff did not provide specifics on the size and scope of the facility.
Hill Country Community Action (Meals on Wheels)
In an effort to assist those currently serving the Killeen community, the City Council approved $200,000 to assist Meals-On-Wheels with the cost of ingredients and salary relief.
The City Council approved $1 million to assist with the startup cost of downtown businesses payments in an effort to attract commerce to the downtown area.
The largest of all the park projects, Conder Park improvements aim high with the addition of public art along what would be the newly completed south end loop trail, more drinking fountains and trees, a graffiti wall near the skatepark, and the replacement of the nine-hole frisbee golf course, among other projects.
Long Branch Pool
According to the city staff report, improvements to the Long Branch Pool include replastering the pool, new trees, a reworked entrance, an aqua zip line and a climbing rock.
Long Branch Park
While originally intended to be a $1 million project, the project intends to create a loop trail with lights and crosswalks across the park, resurface the basketball and tennis courts and add lights with canopies, add drinking fountains, fitness courts, and more.
The Stewart Park project will allow the city to establish street parking spaces, sidewalks along Stewart Drive, White Avenue and 22nd Street, new crosswalks, a monument sign, a concrete loop trail, bike racks, divider fence, water fountains, shaded benches, picnic tables, grills, pet waste stations solar lighting and more.
The Phyllis Park project would allow the city to establish street parking, a central entrance into the park, a bike rack, a loop trail, a water fountain, and a lighted covered canopy for the basketball court, among other items.
The gap sidewalks project is intended to continue sidewalks in parks and recreation areas that are currently incomplete, such as Conder, Long Branch, Steward, AA Lane and Marlboro.
Back up generators for Water & Sewer pump and lift stations
According to a city staff report, the back-up generators would enable the city to continue servicing Killeen by providing water and taking away waste, even if power fails. The generators would be installed at pump station #6 and lift station #1.
Hill Country Transit District
The most recently approved program, the city has agreed to allocate $1.1 million in ARPA funding to establish a new route for the HOP, increasing the total number of routes to three.
According to Councilman Rick Williams, the city will have a strong say in what the route looks like, but Hill Country Transit has identified Southwest Killeen as that in most desperate need of public transit.
Rainy Day Fund
Remaining funds: $285,562