Council approves bid for first phase of park improvements
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Copperas Cove City Council approved a $1,088,232.20 bid from Quality W Contractors, LLC for Phase 1 of the city’s planned park improvements, after some back-and-forth discussion started by new council member Charlie Youngs, at their December meeting held Tuesday evening.
The council had previously selected BSP Engineers at their July 21, 2016 meeting for design and engineering purposes related to the Parks Improvements, and had approved paying a total cost of $631,250 from FY 2017-FY 2021. The $285,396 for 2017 has already been paid, and the funds for construction of Phase I, will come from fiscal year 2017 certificates of obligation issued in August 2017. BSP Engineers and city staff recommended Quality W Contractors, LLC for the job. Phase 1 consists of upgrading the existing parking lots and sidewalks to be ADA compliant; adding new parking lots and sidewalks to parks that don’t currently have them; adding monument signage; and working on a trail system.
Parks and Recreation Director/Deputy City Manager Joe Brown explained that previously the thought was to approach improvements on a park-by-park basis, improving one park at a time, but the plan now is to improve parts of each park all at once, year by year, which would maximize the money available.
“We haven’t spent any money on park improvements in a long time so now we’re going to be able to touch all of the parks each year subsequently, with park improvements as we move into phase 1, phase 2, phase 3 and so on,” Brown said.
After a motion and a second to approve the bid, Place 7 Council member Youngs expressed concern over the information that council members were given. Youngs, who took his oath of office during the council’s workshop meeting, mentioned the 2011 Parks Needs Assessment and explained that he liked how that assessment broke down every item in terms of cost. Youngs said he wanted to know how much each park’s improvements will cost, rather than a total cost of all of the parks together.
Youngs read from a packet, citing dollar amounts for construction and design and asked why the city was paying more for design than construction. He explained that he wanted to see a detailed breakdown.
“I don’t see the devil in the details,” Youngs said.
He added that he would vote for the $1,088,232.20 but if a citizen were to ask him about it, he would say he “hasn’t the foggiest idea.”
Brown responded that there have been seven town hall meetings and 14 park advisory meetings over a two-year period. He also explained that the money being approved during the meeting will be going towards construction only. More than a quarter of a million dollars has already gone to design for this year, Brown said.
The city council also approved a licensing agreement for Amateur Radio (ham radio). The membership of the Cove Repeater Association has offered to locate two amateur radio repeaters at a site on Freedom Lane for utilization by any licensed amateur radio operator in the city and surrounding area to conduct amateur radio communications and support emergency management activities in Copperas Cove.
The council approved the final plat for the new Transportation Facility for Copperas Cove Independent School District.
The council also approved appointing Jay Manning and David Morris to serve on the Coryell Central Appraisal District Board of Directors. The council, which had a total of 946 votes to cast, gave Manning 108 votes, in addition to the 618 votes he received from CCISD and the 108 votes from the County, securing his place on the board, with 834 votes. Morris received 834 votes from the council, also securing his place and leaving the council with four votes left over. The council then approved casting 67 votes for Mike Kriegel to serve on the Lampasas Central Appraisal District Board of Directors.
They also approved an agreement between the City of Copperas Cove and the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance (HOTDA).
The council approved the Budget Plan for Fiscal Years 2017-2020 and approved an ordinance amending the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for FY 2018-2022 and approving the official Capital Improvement Plan (approved CIP) for Fiscal Year 2018. The amendment added two projects- the Liberty Star Water Improvement Project, which would will install a waterline loop for the Liberty Star subdivision to improve water quality and reduce service interruptions; and the abandonment of 8” and 12” waterlines located on Fort Hood, which is necessary after the 30” waterlines became operational.
The council also approved an ordinance amending the Capital Outlay Plan for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018-2022 and amending the official Capital Outlay Plan for Fiscal Year 2018. The amendments include adding the purchase of two police motorcycles at a cost of $25,000 each and will be funded through the sale of the current motorcycles after the leases for four police motorcycles expire.
During the citizens’ forum portion at the beginning of the meeting, Copperas Cove resident Siggi Low, who lives on the north side of Cove, encouraged her fellow citizens to show up to meetings but also asked for an easier way for citizens to gain information about when meetings are held, aside from accessing that information online, adding that most of the elderly citizens cannot work computers. She also expressed her disapproval of the Business 190 Beautification project, which is expected to add a median and take away one lane of traffic between Ave D and Constitution Dr.
Low told the council members that citizens should be notified of major decisions like the 190 Project.
“We still need to be informed and I feel like citizens are left out of the loop,” Low said.
At the end of the meeting, during the Future Agenda Items portion, David Morris proposed a workshop item dedicated to researching the different ways of dispersing information and possibly coming up with literature to send out to citizens about what is happening with city council and town halls, while George Duncan proposed a future agenda item for discussion on the Business 190 project. When the meeting was over, Low spoke with council members Morris and James Pierce Jr., and Place 5 run-off candidate E. Marc Payne, about her concerns and frustrations.