Only five members of the public attended the Killeen budget forum at City Hall on Wednesday, leaving some city officials disappointed in the first stage of planning for an uncertain fiscal year.

The 6 p.m. meeting was the first of several public input gathering sessions, planned for city officials to learn how the city should spend its money in fiscal year 2013-14, which begins Oct. 1.

Mayor Dan Corbin said low civic involvement is an unfortunate trend across the nation.

“I think that many of our citizens would rather complain about the results than participate in the process. I don’t think that is unique to Killeen. It exists at all levels of government,” Corbin said.

Corbin said the city will continue to have public hearings on the budget, regardless of attendance.

Killeen, a city with close economic ties to Fort Hood, faces a difficult budget calculus this year with many fiscal uncertainties looming, including the unknown impact of sequestration and possible base closure and realignment commission action.

City Manager Glenn Morrison said he hopes that by the time he delivers his draft of the budget to the council July 9, the city will have better economic projections.

“The uncertainty surrounding Fort Hood — what sequestration could mean, what a pending BRAC could mean — are things we will have to pay attention to,” Morrison said.

“We need to be aware and conservative in our approach to planning and make sure that the decisions we make are done thoughtfully and allow flexibility if changes occur.”

Among the major items for consideration are funding the construction of Fire Station No. 9 and the Trimmier Road Expansion project, both of which the city has already funded for design and engineering.

“What comes behind design is construction,” Morrison said. “Whether that is a fiscal year 2013-14 item or a fiscal year 2014-15 item remains to be seen.”

Although few attended the meeting in person, Morrison said some residents took advantage of the city email created solely for budget comments and suggestions — citybudget@killeentexas.gov.

Morrison said one resident requested that the city incorporate more fuel-efficient and eco-friendly vehicles into its 1,000-vehicle motor pool.

“I think that person is dead on,” Morrison said. “If we are going to shape up our fleet, we need to ensure that it is an efficient fleet as well.”

Contact Brandon Janes at bjanes@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7552

(6) comments

Randy Johnson

Morrison wants Fuel Efficient Fleet? Is this to save money? Or wonder if that was because it cost the city to much in fuel when him and Green had a flat tire in Florence and they called City Workers to come fix it. Was the flat tire on their Personal Vehicle? I guess I am just a little confused...

el residente

And it's a good thing you said his fingers are in his ears. I think another spot my be taken with his head....

el residente

I agree. But seriously, any thoughts to the possibility that the five who attended might've been the city manager's current/former girlfriends - checking on funds for potential buyout prospects?

Max67

@Eliza I agree that Corbin wants to quickly explain away the low turnout by associating it w/ a national trend, rather than allow people to surmise that it could be a slgn of the citizens' disappointment in the recent actions (and inactions) of city officials.

As Randy points out, recent events have already demonstrated that the city ngr. does what he wants (both with our tax dollars and w/ respect to employees who get in his way), regardless of any input provided by others, including boards that make official recommendations based on the facts. Why would the public think their presence at such a mtg. would make any difference?

The meetings the citizens are interested in are the closed door meetings, during which decisions are made to abuse tax dollars to buy the silence if individuals without the public being given any chance for input -or usually any awareness (since the purpose of those closed door meetings and buyouts is to keep the public in the dark).

In this situation, low attendance might speak to a lot more than a national trend - even if Corbin puts his fingers in his ears so he doesn't hear the message....

Randy Johnson

All they needed was the Council there. They never listen to any input from citizens anyway. Their decisions are always made during workshop or closed sessions. Maybe they could use a retreat to help them make decisions. Morrison could use his personal credit card to pay for it. Then he will bully someone and will get reimbursed for it.

Eliza

@ Mayor Dan Corbin said low civic involvement is an unfortunate trend across the nation.
“I think that many of our citizens would rather complain about the results than participate in the process. I don’t think that is unique to Killeen. It exists at all levels of government,” Corbin said.

leaving some city officials disappointed in the first stage of planning for an uncertain fiscal year.------
-----------------------

Perhaps the low turn out was due to the citizen tax payers themselves, being disappointed in what has been allowed to happen among the city officials and some city employees.
Even though they weren't at the meeting doesn't mean ,the citizens aren't aware of what is happening and are interested.

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