COPPERAS COVE — The City of Copperas Cove could spend up to $108 million through the end of 2025 to complete capital improvement projects for street repair, drainage, sidewalks and water and sewer project if the city’s priorities remain the same.
Copperas Cove Budget Director Ariana Beckman made a detailed presentation during a capital improvements town hall Tuesday evening in the City Council chambers. Beckman went point-by-point through projects that have already been approved by the council and that are in some stage of planning or construction as of this year. She also walked the audience of more than a dozen residents through projects under consideration from 2021 to 2025 as part of the city’s Capital Improvement Plan.
Eighty projects totaling $43.2 million are already completed or are in some stage of development through the end of the city’s fiscal year in September. That includes more than $13 million in transportation projects in partnership with TxDOT and federal agencies; $1.9 million in local street and sidewalk projects; and $3.4 million for Parks and Recreation Department projects.
The city also has $20.2 million in water and sewer projects planned or completed. About three-quarters of that amount is for water projects, including $6.7 million for the relocation of a 20-inch water line from Killeen to Copperas Cove.
Beckman also led the audience through projects currently in the city’s plans for future years. All in all, Copperas Cove currently has plans for 329 projects over the five years totaling more than $64 million.
Some will be paid for by issuing debt. However, Beckman said after the meeting that she’s been directed by the City Council to cap the city’s debt level over the next five years at about $40 million. That means projects not funded by bonds or certificates of obligation will need to be paid for directly from city revenue or delayed until funding is found.
During the meeting, City Manager Ryan Haverlah noted that the construction of a new animal shelter for the city is currently on hold. Haverlah said city voters may be given the chance later this year to vote on issuing a bond for the project’s $7.4 million cost.
After the meeting, Haverlah said it would be the first bond vote in the city since 2010, when voters approved a bond to build Fire Station #4. The city manager noted that the fire station has yet to be built, but that the bond approval still stands after a decade.
Haverlah also noted during the meeting that a proposed railroad underpass for downtown Copperas Cove is currently on hold over concerns both from TxDOT and the City Council. The project is still under discussion but no date to reconsider it has been set.
Monday’s town hall was designed to help the public understand what projects Copperas Cove is hoping to begin in future years as well as get feedback from the public. The city is still accepting public input on capital improvements ahead of a Feb. 21 planning meeting where the City Council will identify future priorities. Comments can be made by email to BudgetOffice@copperascovetx.gov.