By Alicia Lacy

The Cove Herald

Taxes and trash fees were the focus of discussion at the Veterans of Foreign Wars' city council candidate forum Saturday.

Days after the city's public meeting about the solid waste department, which left many questions unanswered for Copperas Cove residents about the city's bulk waste fee, council hopefuls unanimously expressed their dissatisfaction with the newly-implemented $18 fee and its effects on the pockets of Cove residents.

Candidates also discussed the three bond issues approved by voters Nov. 4 that increased the city's tax rate to fund road and sewer improvements and a new 33,000-square-foot police facility.

After each of the nine candidates gave three-minute introductions, the VFW opened the forum for audience questions.

Although taxes and the bulk waste fee were the center of the discussion, another important question was asked by Cove resident Linda Goode, "Will you make sure the streets and infrastructure are brought up to code for the disabled in Copperas Cove?"

Again, all nine hopefuls agreed that money should be budgeted and grants need to be researched to bring the city up to code for disabled individuals.

The regulations for the accessibility for the disabled are enforced under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Other important issues discussed at the forum included the city's growth and keeping Copperas Cove true to its slogan as the city built for family living.

Mark Peterson asked the candidates about the costs associated with the U.S. Highway 190 bypass, which is budgeted at about $5 million.

Place 4 candidate Danny Palmer said he would not spend the money for the bypass until he knew it was a sure thing. The other eight candidates said they would support the bypass and costs included with having it built.

The candidates are Cheryl Meredith and Charlie Youngs, vying for Place 1; Michael Zehr and Chuck Downard for Place 3; Palmer and Joseph Solomon seeking Place 4; and Konrad Kohler, Bill Stephens and David Wilson vying for Place 5.

On Nov. 4, Mayor Pro Tem Robert Reeves, Place 3 Councilman Peterson, Place 4 Councilwoman Charlotte Heinze and Place 5 Councilman Ray Don Clayton all were voted out of office.

The recall was the result of a petition from Cove resident Diane Steele, who began collecting signatures from residents on May 27.

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