A $15 million bond election in May 2020, at least 33 new police department staff and five new fire department staff members are only part of the plans by Temple City Manager Brynn Myers for the next six years.
During budget season, the city of Temple often just looks only a year into the future to figure out what is needed. For Myers, just a year was not enough for the city — she wanted to look ahead to be prepared for what is coming the city’s way.
A new plan looks both at this year and the next five so the city can plan more efficiently.
Not only will the plan cover the next five years, the city will update and add another year to the plan each year, Myers said. By doing this, she hopes the city will need a smaller amount of work each year rather than a large amount of work every five years.
“The department being asked to put together a six-year plan instead of the traditional one-year plan was a big undertaking but is one that is worthwhile,” Myers said. “Setting up a vision for the next six years and keeping that rolling will allow us to more efficiently plan in the future. There are still lots to figure out every year, but the planning work we have done this year will really help.”
While each of the budgets for the coming years will need to be voted on individually, the current City Council has shown support for the future planning by the city.
For this plan, almost every department in the city was required to submit a plan for the next six years to the city manager. These plans came together, after work by the finance department, to form the current outlined plan for the next six years, though each is subject to change.
The city is planning many major projects when it comes to public safety, with both Temple Fire & Rescue and the Temple Police Department.
Temple Police hope to add at least 33 new staff members or officers over the next six years. Of these, most are planned to be added in fiscal years 2024 and 2025 as part of the city expanding and adding new programs.
A main focus in these two years is the community policing arm of the department, which would see the recommendation of an additional unit added on top of six civilian safety ambassadors. Along with these additions, three patrol officers, two violent crime officers, a new detective and a new property crimes investigation squad were recommended.
With some of these new officers, the police department wants to increase the city’s number of patrol zones from eight to 10 in an effort to spur faster response times. This change would occur sometime between fiscal year 2024 and 2025.
As the city grows, the police department recommended the addition of more animal service personnel to cope with the increased workload.
Temple Fire & Rescue’s needs over the duration of the plan mainly revolve around upgrading aging equipment and vehicles. In addition to upgrades, the city will purchase and staff a new fire squad vehicle to relieve stress on growing parts of the community.
A $15 million bond election for public safety projects could be held in May 2020 or later in the fiscal year of 2021.
Major projects funded by this bond would include the expansion and update of Temple’s animal shelter, improvements to fire stations, a new police department shooting range and a public safety training center. The money will also go toward upgrading or purchasing new equipment for police officers and firefighters.
City transportation infrastructure
Repairing and then enhancing existing infrastructure is one of the main objectives for the city going forward. While the city will be developing a Mobility Master Plan in fiscal year 2023, most currently planned projects and personnel increases revolve around existing infrastructure.
Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional Airport is one of the main areas of planned improvements by the city.
The city plans to build a new airport terminal to welcome those who are bringing business to the city. Building of this new terminal and the construction of a new aircraft rescue and firefighting facility are both estimated to occur in fiscal year 2024.
“Any growing community has to have a vibrant and viable airport,” Council member Wendell Williams said. “It is important that we make the Draughon-Miller Central Texas Airport as business friendly (as we can), so we can grow and bring more vibrant aspects to the community.”
To keep up necessary maintenance for local roads and sidewalks, Temple plans to add four new transportation maintenance crews between now and fiscal year 2024. One of these would be a concrete crew, a first for the city. The crew would be tasked with maintaining things such as old sidewalks.
After the Mobility Master Plan has been completed, the city has set aside $50 million in funding to go forward with projects proposed in the document.
Water and sewer improvements
Over the past 10 years, the city has invested more than $137.4 million in expanding aging water and sewer infrastructure. This plan sees more than $187.4 million in capital funds to improve water and wastewater infrastructure throughout the city.
This money will go toward funding the expansion of Temple’s membrane water treatment plant and the Temple-Belton wastewater treatment plant. Money would also go toward the effort of reducing the amount of sanitary sewer overflows.
The city will know more about needed improvements later this year once they receive the results of the commissioned water and wastewater master plan. This plan will evaluate the demands of the city’s systems through 2070.
Other plans going forward
Each department contributed at least a few projects to this six-year look forward, either with millions in projects or the addition of new positions and personnel. After going through requests, Temple Finance Director Traci Barnard showed that the city expects to hire the equivalent of more than 138 new employees with this plan.
Other efforts include the development of a plan to fight homelessness within the city, along with a program to help vulnerable populations by directing them to local resources.
In addition to several new positions recommended by the plan, the Parks and Recreation Department will be expanding and consolidating their recourses when it comes to local events. The department hopes to see the addition of a new portable stage in fiscal year 2020 and outdoor movie screens in fiscal years 2021 and 2023.
A library master plan was proposed for fiscal year 2021, along with the addition of new assistants and a replacement bookmobile in fiscal year 2022.
With all of the new growth, comes a larger amount of trash and recycling that needs to be processed. This is why in fiscal year 2021 Temple plans on building a new recycling center and transfer station.
Funding future projects
The city’s finance department has done an overview of the numbers to make sure that the plan is attainable and just doesn’t go sit on a shelf somewhere, collecting dust.
Although Texas Senate Bill 2 limited how high cities can raise taxes each year, Barnard has said the city took this into account when developing these plans.
“While we were not supportive of changes to the rollback rate, we understand that is what the Texas Legislature thought was the best thing to do,” Myers said. “So we will certainly honor that and work to make it work.”
Other additional funds to fuel all of this growth will come from new residents settling here in large numbers, Barnard said. In Temple’s 2030 master plan, the city is expected to reach a population of more than 100,000 by 2030.
Myers and the City Council hope that by using this project to look forward, the city will not be blindsided by unexpected changes or unplanned improvements that are needed.