City to approve items during Aug. 14 meeting
By Mason W. Canales
The Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE — City Council members agreed Tuesday to draft language for numerous city charter amendments for the November election ballot.
"(The council) will have a special meeting on (August) 14 to officially approve those items to be placed on the election ballot," said City Manager Andrea Gardner after the council and staff discussed more than 20 proposed changes to the city's charter, which provides regulations about how the municipal government operates.
While most of the regulations involve updating language to refer to state law, some amendments brought forth talking points among council members and city staff.
Councilman Kenn Smith suggested that changing the city's ability to hire a former council member from one year to two might be stretching the rationale behind the regulation.
"I have a little problem with this," said Smith, stating a former council member probably wouldn't be hired by the city anyway.
The intent of the regulation is to prevent a person from just serving as a council member to get an advantage when applying for a city position, said Charlie Zech, an attorney with the Denton, Navarro, Rocha & Bernal PC, the firm representing Copperas Cove.
"It is normally there to protect the appointed positions," said Zech, noting that the council hires the city manager, the city judge and the city secretary. Some city charters require as many as four years between serving in elected office and being hired.
Changing the number of council members required to have a quorum from five to four is another proposed amendment.
"That was on the ballot last time, and it failed," said Gardner.
She said requiring five council members present just to hold workshops can delay city business by weeks when the true number for a quorum should be four. The mayor position, which doesn't vote, is not considered when meeting the quorum requirement.
If one council member resigns, the city comes that much closer to not being able to conduct business, said Smith.
Other proposed changes discussed for the city charter included how the city borrows money and uses five-year plans to provide a guide for making decisions.
Once the proposed changes are officially approved by the council, residents can go to the polls to approve or deny each amendment in the Nov. 6 general election.
The council also approved the following:
An annexation of about 43 acres at the end of Skyline Drive.
Choosing Met Life as the city's dental insurance company.
Contact Mason W. Canales at email@example.com or (254) 501-7474. Follow him on Twitter at KDHCoveEditor.