Fort Hood officials, EDC reps to meet with railhead study firm next week

Cove Leader-Press 

Coryell County judge John Firth announced at Tuesday’s meeting of the Coryell County Commissioners’ Court that work begins next week with CPCS Transcom, Inc., on the Fort Hood Multi-Modal Rail/Truck Facility Feasibility Study. 
The study is to determine the feasibility of establishing a joint civilian/military use multi-modal rail/truck cargo transfer facility on land in Coryell County, possibly near the area of Anderson Mountain and the railhead, close to State Highway 9. 
The kickoff meeting is going to be Tuesday, June 5, Firth told the commissioners.
“(It will) start on Fort Hood in the morning with the Director of Public Works. The Fort Hood folks will do a site survey, take them around and show them everything on Fort Hood on the afternoon of the 5th. On the 6th, they are going to meet with the economic development folks.
“I’m convinced that the EDC folks absolutely understand how important this is long-term for them.”
Firth added with how close The Narrows Business & Technology Park is in Copperas Cove, he believes it open up opportunities for manufacturing and distribution to come in with a joint use railhead nearby, especially with Copperas Cove to receive Fort Hood property in the area of Anderson Mountain and State Highway 9 via the land swap between the city and Fort Hood already in progress.
“They’re going to show us next Tuesday afternoon, they’re looking at making a spur off the current railhead that will go adjacent to where the Anderson Mountain land is. Then, the next day after meeting with the economic development folks, they will tour from the railhead to the airport, about a four-mile direct shot, to see if there is any way they can also leverage the excess capacity at the Fort Hood airport, and hopefully again encourage more manufacturing…It would sure be good to get a UPS or FedEx facility or something like that into Coryell county.”
Firth said there is a five- to six-month process to complete the feasibility study. 
The more than $280,000 study is being paid for by $270,000 in federal grant funds, with the rest being paid by Coryell County and the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation. 
The upcoming fiscal year 2018-2019 budget planning timetable was also discussed at Tuesday’s meeting, with Firth reminding the court that county department heads were asked to provide budget input by June 8, next Friday. 
The commissioners will then have the chance to review that input prior to the commissioners holding their budget planning workshops June 19-21, during which the commissioners will hear directly from the department heads. According to the proposed timetable, workshops could continue through July 23, with the tax rate for 2018 being proposed sometime during the first week of August. The proposed 2018-2019 county budget will also be posted and available for viewing from August 17 through September 17. 
“Part of the challenge is we’re not going to have a certified tax roll until the end of July. What we do know right now is that the effective tax rate, something that always of great interest to individuals, is where we end up with that. If the proposed tax rate is above the effective tax rate, the rate that generates the same amount of revenue with the same properties, it requires us to do two additional hearings, which would take place after the proposed budget is published.” 
Also on Tuesday, the commissioners took no action regarding a possible burn ban in unincorporated areas of the county. 

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