The city of Killeen is considering entering into a $197,710 professional services agreement with an Americans with Disabilities Act compliance company.
If approved during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Meeting the Challenge would help the city transition into compliance with ADA requirements set by the Department of Justice after a 2020 ruling that found Killeen out of compliance.
Executive Director of Community Services Leslie Hinkle said that the city will look toward approaching ADA compliance in two phases. The first phase, which she said would likely be completed within approximately three months, includes a self-evaluation of all city facilities and parks, and includes a review of city polices, procedures and a website review.
Phase two would include an assessment of all public rights of way and would include public works projects and the establishment of a transition plan to secure compliance.
Councilman Ken Wilkerson asked if the city had the capability to review and meet compliance requirements on its own, to which Hinkle said she does not feel comfortable moving forward without consulting with a professional firm.
Mayor Pro Tem Rick Williams lauded the effort to come into compliance, saying that there are many different types of disabilities and that every dollar put toward this program increases access for all of Killeen’s residents, including the elderly.
“Make no mistake, this is costly business, and I have learned first-hand just how costly this can be,” he said. “But it’s worth every penny.”
Additionally, a representative from the firm explained that the city has until 2023 to show progress toward compliance and to establish a transition plan.
The representative also said that it would likely take approximately nine months for the firm to complete an analysis of the city, to provide construction costs and help create the transition plan.
Councilwoman Mellisa Brown attempted to add an anticipated cost of $12,000 related to resident outreach but her motion failed 3-4.
The City Council also heard several rezoning and future land use map amendment requests.
Significant debate was held on a request to rezone 9.386 acres on Trimmier Road from an agricultural single-family residential development to a two-family residential development, on which the applicant wishes to build duplexes.
Members of the City Council appeared split on whether to approve the request. Wilkerson said that the applicant should be able to modify the property so long as it remained within the spirit of the law, while Councilwoman Nina Cobb raised safety concerns based on the state of adjoining Chaparral Road and argued that the planned duplexes do not fit within the character of nearby agricultural land.
Other topics raised during discussion of the request included the proximity of city services and a nearby auto salvage yard.
No action was taken Tuesday, but the City Council will hold another public hearing on the same topic on Tuesday.
In unrelated business, the city tentatively approved a request to include the nationally recognized holiday of Juneteenth as part of the city’s governing standards and to provide in-kind services for this year’s parade hosted by the NAACP.
Finally, Councilman Riakos Adams requested that the City Council discuss reestablishing a youth employment program on a future agenda, which the City Council approved unanimously.