Killeen residents and business owners will see an alert for a bump in their city utility bill this month. It’s all part of a new street maintenance fee the Killeen City Council passed at the end of 2018.
On Tuesday night, City Manager Ron Olson and city staff gave the council an update on the new rate.
The fee — set at a monthly rate of $1.70 per household — is expected to generate $1.6 million each year to be added to the current general fund allocation of about $300,000 for street maintenance.
Finance director Jonathan Locke said the council approved the implementation of the fees in December 2018.
“The estimated timeline to implement the fees was six months (from approval date) with the first month of billing utility bills received in August for July services,” Locke said. “We are on target to meet that deadline. Staff has worked with Central Square which is our financial software company … to design our street fee structure.”
Killeen currently has more than 51,000 utility accounts, all will be affected with the new fee.
For utility bills for the month of July, customers will see the street fee with a credit.
Locke said the idea is to have the customer see exactly what they will be charged in the months ahead.
The $1.70 charge will begin in the August bill and and each month going forward.
The fees will apply only to street maintenance, not signs or sidewalks.
Kristina Ramirez, director of environmental services, spoke to the council on Tuesday night.
“We have gone through and ranked street maintenance projects based off of our visibility standards … each particular project will be based on the need and we may group together other projects that are needed to get the best bang for our buck,” Ramirez said.
In late August, according to Ramirez, the northeast portion of Killeen will have its roads repaired.
“In the future, projects will be done over the summer months; the one to two months that are the driest of the year. It is easiest to get this type of work done,” she said.
Olson said the money from the street fund will be used until the street maintenance fee accumulates enough to be placed on street projects.
“It’s going to take several months to build up enough money to actually do some projects … last year we set aside hundreds of thousands of dollars ($300,000) anticipating some projects. That’s the money that is going to be used for that project,” he said.
The first round of repairs will be in District 1, represented by Shirley Fleming.
Fleming said during the workshop that she has “been waiting to see it,” in reference to the street repairs in the district.
Councilman-at-large Butch Menking suggested during the workshop that some of “the seed money be used to have the signs that says ‘Your street fee money at work.”
“That’s is going to at least attach to what this is about,” Menking said.
Juan Rivera, also a councilman-at-large, requested during the meeting that all of the council members are given a list of the upcoming projects.
“We also have seen a lot of things that need to be done,” Rivera said.
Olson said a list of streets in need of repair will be compiled after the streets assessment conducted in Killeen next fiscal year.
A unanimous vote was made on May 28 by the council to hire Columbus, Ohio, based firm Transmap to perform the task to determine the overall roads condition and provide a five-year maintenance strategy.
The one-time cost of the assessment will be $184,055.71, and the monies would come out of this fiscal year’s streets consulting account.
There were no comments from Mayor Pro Tem Jim Kilpatrick, Councilman-at-large Gregory Johnson or District 4 Councilman Steve Harris on the matter.
Mayor Jose Segarra was in Hawaii for the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 87th annual meeting.
District 2 Councilwoman Debbie Nash-King was also not in attendance on Tuesday for “personal reasons,” as she stated in a phone call from the Herald on Friday.
Kilpatrick said her absence was excused.