Copperas Cove contracts with LAN for street maintenance management plan for $148,551
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Copperas Cove city council approved authorizing the city manager to enter into a contract for $148,551 with Lockwood, Andrews & Newman Inc. (LAN) to complete a Pavement Condition Assessment and Management Plan for the city’s streets and roadways, during its regular meeting on Tuesday.
Hossein Roshani, project manager for LAN, had given a brief presentation to the council during the Jan. 5 workshop on the scope of the study.
With the plan, LAN would analyze the city’s nearly 150 centerline miles of roads and rate them with a Pavement Condition Index (PCI) that would range from 0-95, based on the level of deterioration of the roads.
With each PCI level, there are recommended preservation techniques from crack sealing to total reconstruction. The preventative maintenance activities are significantly less costly than a full reconstruction of a street segment. A slurry seal treatment will extend the functional life of a street by approximately 5-6 years at a cost of $6 per square yard, whereas a complete reconstruction will cost approximately $121 per square yard, according to the agenda packet.
The pavement maintenance plan will be funded through the revenue collected through the 1/8-cent sales tax allocation fund, which is earmarked for street maintenance projects.
The Copperas Cove City Council also heard from Coryell County Judge Roger Miller with a county update.
Miller provided a brief update on the county government’s progress, the two proposed construction projects and the county’s response to COVID-19.
“Long before COVID-19, it was evident that our county was behind in technology and we owned numerous buildings and properties,” Miller said.
Currently, Coryell County owns 22 buildings and rents two additional office spaces in the Cove Terrace Shopping Center. The county also owns numerous parcels of land throughout the county.
“To address both of those issues, we’ve recently sold some property in Oglesby to the Oglesby Independent School District, and we utilized those funds to purchase and install centralized servers to support new software and interoperability between our judicial functions,” Miller said. “In the next 60 days, our JPs, County Attorney, District Attorney, County Clerk, District Clerk, County Court at Law, the 52nd and the 440th District Courts will for the first time all be able to share and utilize a common database for criminal and civil cases.”
The land sale paid for the server and installation, and the new software will save taxpayers more than $40,000 per year over the previous software vendor, Miller said.
“We will continue to liquidate unneeded properties and utilize those proceeds to upgrade our IT resources and connectivity in an effort to provide better and more efficient services to our citizens,” Miller added.
With the software upgrade, Copperas Cove PD’s reports are now able to link to the software as well, which will cut down on paperwork and make the whole process more efficient, according to Miller.
For the past year and a half, the Commissioners’ Court has been exploring the feasibility of two new construction projects, a new jail and a new government building.
“Based on the design submitted by our architect, the proposed jail would house 250 inmates, have office space for the jail staff, and is designed with a hearing room for arraignments, anticipating the needs for such a room based off of potential legislative actions from the state,” Miller said. “It does not include any office space for the Sheriff’s Department. The decision to be considered by the Commissioners’ Court next Tuesday is an order for a bond election so that our citizens can vote on whether or not they want the county to borrow almost $31 million to finance the construction.”
This bond would raise the county property tax rate 6.7 cents per $100 per evaluation, and an additional property tax increase of at least 7.8 cents per $100 evaluation would be necessary to cover the increase in maintenance and operating costs.
“The concerning part of the 7.8 percent increase is that amount will exceed the voter approval rate for our overall budget, effectively triggering an election to approve the county’s property tax rate in the budget,” Miller said. “Should that election fail, we could be facing a situation of having a new building that we can’t move into and operate.”
The proposed government building would consolidate many of the county’s functions and reduce the county’s building count by six buildings, with a majority of the county’s judicial system offices housed in that one structure.
“The approximately $18.7 million project would raise the county property tax rate by 4.1 cents per $100 evaluation,” Miller said. It would also reduce the County’s operating cost and put at least three buildings on the county’s property tax roll. This is also to be considered for a bond election.
Miller moved on to discuss COVID-19 and the impact on the county.
“I spent 23 years serving in the Army, four combat deployments totaling just under four years of my life. Two operational deployments, one to Bosnia and one to the Philippines,” Miller said. “I have never experienced what we have gone through this past year. Quite frankly, there is nothing in my educational experience background that could have prepared me for a global pandemic.”
COVID-19 has changed how the county government functions and it’s forced the county to modernize and rethink how it serves the public, according to Miller.
“Most importantly, it has stalled our ability to conduct in person jury trials and proceedings. That backlog is evident in our total jail numbers as well as the number of pending cases being managed by the district attorney and the county attorney’s office,” Miller said. “That is a backlog that will not end any time soon. It could potentially take several years to process all of those pending cases, as new cases are going to continue to be added each week. Crime doesn’t stop for COVID-19.”
The city council later took action and approved appointing Councilmember Dan Yancey to serve again as the mayor pro tem for a period of one year, acting as mayor during the absence or disability of the current mayor, Bradi Diaz.
The city council approved authorizing reimbursement to the Noon Exchange Club for activities and expenses associated with the annual Feast of Sharing in the amount of $2,822.50. The event was held as a drive-thru event in November 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Courtland asked whether the Noon Exchange Club would continue to hold the event as a drive-thru in the future.
Club President Brian Hawkins said the event was easier to put on and produce as a drive-thru event. However, the main part of the event is to have the community come together, he said. He added that a decision hadn’t been made for this year’s event, presently scheduled for November 18.
The council also approved authorizing reimbursement to the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce for activities and expenses associated with the annual Krist Kindl Markt in the amount of $6,016. Funds had been allocated in the Hotel Occupancy Tax Fund for $20,000.
The council approved appointing Jimmy Clark, owner of JWC Inc. /DBA J. Clark Homes, to the Zoning Ordinance Review Committee.
On October 20, the city council established the committee as an advisory board, to make recommendations to the Planning and Zoning Commission pertaining to ordinances regulating land use and zoning. On October 26, the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted to appoint fellow Commissioners Dustin Dewald and Erik Johnson as representatives to the Zoning Ordinance Review Committee.
The city council appointed Councilmember Jay Manning to the committee earlier in Tuesday’s meeting. There were three vacancies to be filled, and the city received just one application, from Clark.
The council approved authorizing the city manager to complete the purchase process for the new filtration system and installation of Eco Finish at the City Park Pool with Commercial Swim in the amount of $167,778.12.
The pool has been closed while it undergoes repairs but Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Stoddard said he expects it to be finished by April in time for lifeguard training.
During the workshop meeting, the council recognized two employees for their combined 20 years of service.
Firefighter/Paramedic Matt Rodgers was recognized for five years of service to the city, and Fire Capt. Brandi Brice-Wolfe was recognized for 15 years of service. The council also recognized Sewer Superintendent Dennis Courtney upon his retirement after 34 years of service to the city.