• Citizens of Kempner

Cove City Council begins budget process, rejects Kempner emergency services district

COPPERAS COVE — The incoming city manager of Copperas Cove is proposing a budget of $44.65 million for the 2020 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

City Manager Ryan Haverlah gave an in-depth budget presentation to the City Council during a workshop meeting Tuesday.

The presentation kicks off the budget process for the city, which must adopt its budget by Sept. 30.

The city anticipates having a $10.94 million fund balance after all revenue and expenditures, leaving it with a cushion with which to operate should there be any unexpected developments.

Haverlah said the city was meeting its goal of having an ideal fund balance to meet three months of expenditures.

The presentation was the beginning of a timeline that includes a budget workshop next week, presentations from city departments over the next two weeks, and workshops on the city’s tax rate and changes in fees on July 30.

The council unanimously decided at its regular meeting Tuesday to hold a public hearing on the proposed budget on July 30.

Also during its regular meeting, the council decided against a petition by the Kempner Fire Department to form an emergency services district.

The council again questioned Kempner Fire Chief Dan Hause extensively about the formation of the proposed district. Hause wants to form the district in order to increase the service his fire department could provide.

Hause would like to add two full-time employees for coverage during hours when volunteers are generally unavailable due to work obligations. The money would also help with aging equipment and other needs.

Copperas Cove needed to approve the formation of the district because some of the property lies within the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.

However, Councilman Fred Chavez seemed to speak for most of the council members when he said he was not sure the emergency services district was a plan that worked for the city of Copperas Cove.

The council voted 5-1 against the petition, with Kirby Lack voting against the motion and Charlie Youngs absent.

Among other action, the council:

Heard a presentation from Copperas Cove Economic Development Director Jonas Titas on the EDC’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year. The presentation noted that the EDC will reduce its current staffing from 5.5 to 3 funded positions in the next fiscal year.

Titas noted that the EDC was preparing to spend large amounts of money on projects that would benefit the city, though he did not detail what those projects might be.

Directed Haverlah to pursue city participation in a Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant application. Haverlah showed during his presentation that the Highway 9/Tank Destroyer Access Road project is favored to be the subject of that application.

The project would provide access to the multi-modal rail/truck facility proposed as a joint effort between Copperas Cove and Fort Hood. Haverlah said the city would likely need around $500,000 as part of the cost share to support the project.

Decided to delay further discussion on establishing the Convention and Visitors Bureau as an official department of the city until their first council meeting in August.

Directed Deputy Police Chief Brian Wyers to begin the process that would result in a new animal shelter being built in the city. The project will require a bond election. Council agreed the project should not be delayed and will remain set for 2020.

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