Roads 1

In this June 2021 file photo, significant damage can be seen on Ledgestone Street in Killeen after severe ice on the roads in February.

The Killeen City Council discussed earlier this week the issuance of $24 million in municipal bonds in order to address over $100 million in street repair.

City officials have identified two roads — Gilmer Street and Bunny Trail — as initial projects. Both projects, which total $12.8 million are among eight roads that will be the focus of Killeen’s road restoration project, which totals more than $64.6 million.

To help pay for this project, the City Council in August elected to use $24 million in bonds, which the council is slated to offer final approval on in January, following public notice and the bidding process.

Earlier this year, the City Council also increased street maintenance fees on Killeen residents’ water bills — from $1.70 to $10 per month — to help repair the city’s road system, which was hit hard in February’s sub-freezing winter storm.

Ice road

Trimmier Road in Killeen was iced over on Feb 18, 2021.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, city officials said that all proceeds from the bond would be used for the reconstruction and improvement of the eight identified streets, including “drainage and lighting,” which Assistant City Manager Danielle Singh later clarified to mean curb and surface-level drainage improvements.

“There’s a very fine line between what counts as streets and what counts as curbs,” Singh said. “These are adjustments that will need to be addressed.”

However, tensions rose when Councilwoman Mellisa Brown raised concerns regarding the use of street maintenance funds for items marked “drainage,” launching into a flurry of questions for both city staff and two experts who handle the city’s bonds.

“This may require additional consideration, but I think that, to remove it right now would be a problem,” Councilman Ken Wilkerson said.

REZONING

In other business Tuesday, the City Council turned down a bid to modify the Future Land Use Map to allow the development of an RV park across from the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport.

“It’s just not the right location,” Mayor Pro Tem Debbie Nash-King said.

Councilmembers raised concerns regarding Killeen’s optics and discussed alternate options for the developer.

“I appreciate the applicant’s desire to fill a void, but I do not believe that now, or at any point in the future, that across from the airport is the appropriate place for a mobile home park,” Councilman Michael Boyd said.

However, Leo Gukeisen, a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission that approved the project, said that the project is in response to over 20 years of development drought in the area.

“There’s a lot of wishful thinking going on out there,” Gukeisen said.

Gukeisen pointed out that, since he arrived in Killeen in 2007, no one has come forward to develop the area. He also pointed out that near the airport was a bar and undeveloped land, which he said could not be better than an RV park.

Brown spoke similarly during her closing comments.

“You come into Killeen off 195 and you see a naked city. I don’t see how an RV park would be more offensive than a naked city,” she said.

The City Council ultimately voted unanimously to not approve the modification to the Future Land Use Map.

During the debate, the City Council was accused of acting irregularly, sometimes prioritizing the comprehensive plan over the Future Land Use Map and sometimes modifying the FLUM over the plan.

“It takes critical thinking to get it done, on a case-by-case basis,” Wilkerson said, addressing those concerns.

OTHER ITEMS

Killeen was approved for over $200,000 as a result of an insurance claim that arose from a 2020 structure fire at the Solid Waste Transfer Station.

Additionally, the City Council confirmed the following items as part of its consent agenda:

  • A $222,000 purchase for solid waste containers
  • $229,450 for phase 5 of the Sewer Line Rehabilitation project
  • $95,000 for the contracting of veterinary services from Texas Humane Heroes
  • $273,705 for the purchase of medical supplies for the Killeen Fire Department
  • Approval of Killeen’s participation in the Global Opioid Settlement

jdowling@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7552

(1) comment

Alvin

I just don't see how can justify spending $24 million of bond money and use as an excuse the winter storm cost of $20 million verses the bond cost of 24 million but an overall cost of $110 million. These numbers do not make any sense. You state that, and I copy: 'City officials have identified two roads — Gilmer Street and Bunny Trail — as initial projects. Both projects, which total $12.8 million are among eight roads that will be the focus of Killeen’s road restoration project, which totals more than $64.6 million.' Where's the $24 million fit into this outline when the 2 projects total $12.8 million, and what other projects are contained in the remainder of the $64.6 million dollars. That just doesn't compute. Put together a complete road map of what you want you intend to the complete roadway with start and completion features and the timing of each project so that we can see where our money is going.

What's happened to the 2” overlay where we were going to get I think it was 50 miles for a fraction of what it will now be costing? Are we now going for the cold carpet look? So what are the other projects and the cost for each?

Copy: “There’s a very fine line between what counts as streets and what counts as curbs,” Singh said. “These are adjustments that will need to be addressed.” End of copy.

What are the streets that have been assigned that need to be addressed as streets that do need to be addressed as needing streets only and those that need to be addressed as streets and curbs. Where is the 'fine line' as to the addressing of each separately?

Copy: 'However, tensions rose when Councilwoman Mellisa Brown raised concerns regarding the use of street maintenance funds for items marked “drainage,” launching into a flurry of questions for both city staff and two experts who handle the city’s bonds.' End of copy.

Yes, I agree with Councilwoman Brown, where does this city council and this city management get off on earmarking city Fees and city Bonds for use on a project earmarked as 'Drainage'. Is this the city government wanting to pull another fast one on the citizens? Seems like that has been tried on the $22 million dollar bond that was earmarked as Elevated Water Storage Vessel. It did not go over well thenand it sure won't go over now, Try explaining what the service is and ear mark it accordingly please.

Copy: 'Gukeisen pointed out that, since he arrived in Killeen in 2007, no one has come forward to develop the area. He also pointed out that near the airport was a bar and undeveloped land, which he said could not be better than an RV park.' End of copy.

As far as that goes, who says the property needs to be built upon. As far as an airport goes, whenever property is developed, sooner or later the people will start complaining about the noise. It has happened to almost airport that has been put in, then the development start, and sooner or later people will be griping that the airport is too noisy. It has happened to just about every major airport to date. So leave the land and play it safe and build store fronts and parking lots.

And in the realm of 'Other Items':

Copy: 'Additionally, the City Council confirmed the following items as part of its consent agenda:

A $222,000 purchase for solid waste containers

$229,450 for phase 5 of the Sewer Line Rehabilitation project

$95,000 for the contracting of veterinary services from Texas Humane Heroes

$273,705 for the purchase of medical supplies for the Killeen Fire Department

Approval of Killeen’s participation in the Global Opioid Settlement' End of copy.

When is this city council going to stop this fallacy of voting to approve the annual budget and then start packing on new items such as '$229,450 for phase 5 of the Sewer Line Rehabilitation project, and $95,000 for the contracting of veterinary services from Texas Humane Heroes, or the $273,705 for the purchase of medical supplies for the Killeen Fire Department. These are line items for consideration and should be discussed as such. If it is not warranted as being a line item in the coming years budget then it should not be considered at all. You people make a mockery out of budget constraints. If it was warranted then it should have been considered in the past budget or wait until next year.

Welcome to the discussion.

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