Killeen’s fiscal year 2013-2014 budget includes funding two new code enforcement officers but no new police officers, a plan that may change as budget talks continue through the summer.
Last year, City Manager Glenn Morrison’s budget proposal called for two code enforcement officers and a liens clerk but — by the end of budget talks — Killeen City Council members added 12 police officers.
Morrison said the Killeen Police Department applied for a federal Community Oriented Policing Services grant. The Justice Department will announce recipients in October.
Last year, KPD unsuccessfully applied for the COPS grant, which would have added $1.5 million to the city budget — enough to fund salaries for 12 police officers for three years.
“Some of this is just wait and see,” Morrison said.
After a briefing Tuesday, council members made it clear that code enforcement was a priority, but they wanted to see proven outcomes from the new hiring.
“We have an efficient police department but we don’t have a very efficient code enforcement department,” Mayor Dan Corbin said.
“In order to have compliance with our ordinances, we need to have officers out there writing tickets.”
If the council approves the new code enforcement officers, it would increase the force from 10 employees to 12 — a total of nine officers, two supervisors and one director.
Adding two officers would cost around $81,901, a price tag that includes the officers’ salaries and the code enforcement pickup truck.
In January, the council began reviewing all of the city’s ordinances in an attempt “put some teeth” into the local laws, as Corbin characterized it.
So far, it has amended ordinances related to high grass, junk vehicles and graffiti.
Executive Director of Planning and Development Ray Shanna said the division has written more citations than at this time last year.
“We are working on it every day,” Shanna said.
Councilman Steve Harris suggested the city add four code enforcement officers.
The council will have opportunities to add or subtract from the budget plan for the coming fiscal year over the next two months, leading up to the budget’s adoption, planned for Sept. 10.
“We’ve got at least one more (addition) and there will probably be many more as we move forward with this,” Corbin said.