Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin’s first year in office came at an interesting time in the history of the city’s government. Corbin sat down to talk with the Herald about what he thinks he got accomplished in 2012 and what he hopes he can get done in 2013.
What were you particularly proud to see accomplished in 2012?
I was very happy that we hired Glenn Morrison as the city manager. I think his ability to lead the city employees has been proven over the years. He is doing a great job. I was very happy with the decisions that we made to improve the image of Killeen, particularly the aesthetics. Our emphasis on code enforcement, I think, is really going to help change the image, the way we present ourselves to others. I think that is going to be significant in terms of improving our ability to attract business and other economic opportunities.
Is there a sector besides military and health care you are interested in trying to cultivate?
I think what we need to do is attract military retirees and college students. I see Killeen as being a town that is going to be a town that is the home to soldiers on Fort Hood and military retirees from all over the country and all branches of service. Particularly if they are over 65 and retired. We don’t have the kind of jobs that a lot of people are looking for as far as retired colonels and such. But we have a wonderful place to retire. We have the military facilities that are second to none that they can use. We have a great climate. We have very affordable housing and an affordable cost of living. We have lakes and hunting opportunities. This is a great place for military people to retire. We need to push that. We also need to push recreational and economic opportunities for the young soldiers and college students. I think there is a tremendous need for that kind of economy. As far as getting a Toyota manufacturing plant, that’s not going to happen. We have to understand what our strengths and our weaknesses are. We’re not on I-35. We don’t have north/south rail. Some of the opportunities we wish we could get are just pie in the sky.
What role can Killeen play in the process of deciding the future of water distribution in Central Texas?
I have been working that issue since 2003. I served on the Water and Drainage Committee when I was on (the ) council. I developed a lot of expertise in the area to the point where when I left the council in 2005, they made a citizen member of the committee, and I continued to serve on that committee as a citizen. We will be approaching, probably in 2013, a point where our peak day demand for treated water is going to exceed 85 percent of the capacity that we have through WCID-1, which is going to trigger us to start planning for how we’re going to get new sources of treated water. We’ve already started that planning process. We’ll be having a joint meeting with the Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 board within the next month or so. We’re going to explore what alternatives we are going to have in regard to treated water capacity. We have the raw water. We’ve tied that up, and we actually pay as part of our rate for water we’re not going to use for the next 20 years. We have been farsighted in acquiring raw water rights, and we’ll continue to take advantage of any opportunities that we have. We certainly have sufficient water to see us up for at least 30 years at this rate with the current population projections.
Any projects you or the city are working on that are particularly close to your heart?
There are a couple that are on the back burner. We’re working it, the timing is not working out right now. But I want to see a homeless shelter in Killeen. And I think that could become a reality by next winter, hopefully. Lots of people have tried that over the years, but what it’s going to take is a strong 501C organization with a strong board. Probably a fundraising foundation. And a good operation board. It will take a facility with adequate space. So we’re going to have to find a piece of real estate to accomplish that.
What does it take to make it in politics in Killeen?
You have to have thick skin. You have to have a willingness to do what’s right. You have to have a willingness to work together with people who have different viewpoints than you do without belittling them or treating them with a lack of courtesy or respect. You have to have the ability to raise money for your campaigns. You have to have a fundamental understanding of how to run a campaign.