Council approves Business 190 project modification proposal letter
By LYNETTE SOWELL
In a 4-3 vote on Tuesday evening, the Copperas Cove city council voted to authorize interim city manager Ryan Haverlah to submit a letter to the Killeen Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization requesting modifications to phase 1 of the Business 190 median project.
Those modifications include keeping three lanes in both directions of Business 190 and the raised median, but changes the 10-foot shared use sidewalk to a 6-foot sidewalk and 4-foot dedicated bicycle lane.
Councilmen David Morris, Dan Yancey, Kirby Lack and Marc Payne voted to authorize interim city manager to submit the letter to KTMPO, with councilmen James Pierce Jr., Jay Manning and Charlie Youngs voting against it.
The tug of war over the project hasn’t been just between the council members, but among Copperas Cove residents, some of whom argue for beautification and increased safety for motorists, bicycle riders and pedestrians, but others who are against any type of obstruction to unrestricted turning on the seven lanes of roadway.
Haverlah told the council the estimate for making the changes will run about $72,000.
During its August 7 meeting, the council also approved an Oct. 2 date to take a vote on whether or not to proceed with the project any further.
The council approved a resolution approving a list of Future possible projects to be submitted to the Killeen Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization for inclusion in the region’s 2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan. Among those was the second phase of the Business 190 median project, which would run from Avenue D to the intersection of Business 190 and F.M. 116.
Councilman Charlie Youngs requested that wording be included with the second phase that none of the lanes of traffic would be reduced, with the council concurring with that recommendation.
The council also held its second public hearing on the proposed tax rate for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, that of 79.7908 cents per $100. The council will take a vote to adopt a tax rate at its September 4 meeting, along with a city budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
The council had a brief discussion of utility rates for water, sewer, and solid waste fees, with interim city manager Ryan Haverlah showing the impact of removing the senior citizen discount for water consumption only, but not including the entire utility bill. He said that 55 percent of the senior customers use 0-4,000 gallons.
“I still recommend that we put a cap on it, for all senior citizens, everyone gets 20 percent up to 4,000 gallons. Anything more than 4,000 gallons, you pay the normal rate,” said councilman Youngs.
The council directed Haverlah to bring numbers back to them that includes the impact on all portions of the bill affected by removing the senior citizen discount. Prior to the discussion, the council held an executive session with the city attorney on the legality of giving discounts for utilities, but emerged from that session to take no vote or provide other information.
The council also had a lengthy discussion of proposed changes to the city’s fee schedule for next year. One proposed change is a $10 technology fee for building and other permits, not including yard sale permits.
Interim budget director Ariana Beckman explained that the fee will help developers to submit all their permits online, something new for the city’s Planning Department.
Mike Morton, chief building official, clarified that MyGovOnline is a new program where builders and developers can submit applications online, to include PDFs of plans, instead of having to hand carry or mail paperwork to the department.
“This will show what was submitted, what wasn’t submitted, when documents were submitted, when accepted, and when it is under review. Everything is out there on the front line,” Morton said. “They can do it anytime, submit an inspection request and it will show up online.”
The Planning Department proposed an increase for both preliminary and final plat fees, from $250 to $365 plus $10 per lot, with major plats going up to $575 for preliminary and $500 for final, plus $20 per lot. Another proposed new fee is an expedited review fee, which is a double fee charged for a review within five days, as well as a voluntary annexation, site plan review, and conditional use permit fee.
City Planner Bobby Lewis said the department studied 15 different cities and took the average and used this for the proposed fees and changes. However, some of those cities included cities like Cedar Park and Georgetown.
Some council members balked at some of the proposed planning fees.
“I would have to take issue with ‘moderate increase’ when you’re looking at a preliminary and final plat that was $800, and now it’s $5,075. That doesn’t seem to be moderate. What I was basing that on was 49-acre, 100-lot subdivision,” said councilman Jay Manning. “When I compared that to Temple, their fees would be $900. That doesn’t seem that it would be very much in line with that one.”
The council asked that the department look at other cities closer to Copperas Cove to compare their planning rates and bring an update back to the council.