Killeen Animal Services

The Killeen Animal Services building is seen Wednesday, July 20, 2016.

Eric J. Shelton | Herald

A platoon of speakers opposing proposed cuts to the Killeen Animal Services division addressed the Killeen City Council on Tuesday during the final public hearing before the council is scheduled to approve its 2018 budget next week.

Seven residents of Killeen and area cities told the council that a proposed $30,000 scaleback in supplies and the elimination of two vacant animal control officer positions would endanger the lives of animals in the Killeen Animal Shelter and threaten to lower the city’s stated 80 percent live release rate goal.

“Any budget cuts related to the shelter are ludicrous and show no empathy toward shelter animals,” Linda Marzi said.

George Fox said while the cuts to the shelter were used to balance the city’s proposed budget, the council had an opportunity to consolidate support for the struggling shelter and raise the live release rate.

“We should take this opportunity around this budget to rally the city in support of our shelter,” Fox said. “Who wants to go down there and volunteer if we’re just going to kill everything?”

Council members, Mayor Jose Segarra and City Manager Ron Olson reiterated their support for the shelter and its goal of becoming no kill in the future but defended the budget’s proposed cuts.

“No one up here wants to kill any animals, and our hearts are with you,” Segarra said.

“The challenges for this budget were huge, and the challenge for next year’s general fund (from which the shelter is funded) will be equally challenging,” Olson said. “There are still a lot of wants and needs out there that we need to deal with.”

The city’s proposed 2018 budget is balanced and forecasts $180.2 million in expenditures.

The council also held a public hearing on the city’s proposed property tax rate of 74.98 cents per $100 of taxable value assessed — the same as last year.

Two residents, Mellisa Brown and Bob Blair, addressed the council. Blair highlighted what he called a “procedural error” in setting the preliminary property tax rate so low that the council cannot by state law consider a higher rate, if necessary, to put funds aside for emergency needs.

The council is scheduled to vote Sept. 19 to ratify the property tax rate and annual budget.

The council’s special meeting will be at 5 p.m. at the City Council chambers at City Hall, 101 N. College St.

kyleb@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

(3) comments

eyewatchingu

I (Holly Teel) Have offered my services many times free of charge. When I ran for office, I had and posted a 5 year plan to have the animal shelter making its own profit and with in 5 years a no kill shelter. Yet for some reason no one has taken up my offer. Hmm why is that? I wonder what lie you all believed about me. Yep my education is in a different last name ( guess what shocker I was married once before, women change their last name) Maybe next time people will not listen to a bunch of jealous women, and actually get to know someone. Oh well, at lest when I sleep at night, I know I offered to do good, with out making a profit. Guess my last name isn't good enough. Btw my Maiden name and family has a whole city named after them in Pennsylvania. Keep on killing those animals, all because of selfish people that just want to make a name for themselves and keep only their family members on boards and so on.

OldWoman

I am concerned with the budget for animal control. They are cutting so much funding in this proposed budget, that there is no way that staff can operate a caring or humane facility. In today's world, an 80% live release status is unacceptable. We, the residents are already being asked to donate cat litter and cleaning supplies, towels, you name it. In this proposed budget the city wants to cut a huge amount out of the cleaning supply budget. This points to a future operation that either works with rescues to pull animals and foster, or adopt out quickly, or kill. You cannot skimp on cleaning supplies if you are planning on keeping animals in the population to give them a chance to be adopted, you need more cleaning supplies, not less. This budget for animal services reflects that nobody seems to know (or cares) ANYthing about animal welfare, animal keeping or humane practices.

ImJustSayin

Cut to the animal shelter and animal control are something that needs to be put aside. They are already operating on a skeleton crew and many residents in Killeen take it upon themselves to take in stray animals and try to find their owners. It is sad to know that Killeen still is a kill shelter ....... who gives us the right to take these lives without any reason.
The local shelter must be supported. If I had a choice as to where I can send my tax dollars, the shelter would be one place for sure. Maybe that is what should be done, let us decide how we spend our tax money. It is obvious that it is not spent logically when it comes to road construction and repair.

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