Killeen City Council members engaged in passionate budget discussions Tuesday — with members disagreeing at some points during the workshop meeting, and agreeing at others. 

During discussions about purchasing nine, fully equipped policy vehicles at a cost of $540,632 and another 42 vehicles at a cost of $943,867, Councilman Gregory Johnson said he could not support the costs due to the city’s current financial condition.

Contact Rachael Riley at rriley@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7553

(5) comments

Thallus

When I see how councilman Okray has been supporting some "controversial" issues lately, I have to ask myself two questions: 1) Do you, since this is your last term as a councilman, just not care how you vote any more or, 2) Are you acting like some people saying Donald Trump is in allegedly sabotaging your chances for a run for Mayor in the future.? I too am altogether baffled by some of the things you support. Councilman Johnson seems to be the only one who is being responsible in regards to our finances.
Councilman Rivera, the people voted you back in knowing full well, at least for most of them I believe, your stance on issues. I cannot speak anything ill of you because you are consistent in your support and voting patterns. At the same time, I have to say that I disagree with a majority of them. If you taxes and, or fees increase, I blame no one but them and cannot feel bad for them when they have to dole out more money to fix an issue that you helped create.
As for council members Moore and Kilpatrick, I am not surprised by either of your directions as well. Moore seems to have gone back to his more political ways. As for Council woman Flemming, I still have hope for her although I believe that she is being influenced in the wrong directions on some issues. Vote your own mind and conscious is my continued advice. Now why they are even still discussing the pay and duties of Mrs. Farris, I don't know why. I still say she knew full well what her duties entailed as the ICM. To try and give her a $30,000 raise is ludicrous. I still suspect she will retire after a new CM is located with the extra money. If she does stay, will Okray and Moore vote to keep her at her increased pay or scale it back to where it is now? I doubt it.

timebandid

Councilman Rivera's position that he "would not vote against public safety" is just ludicrous. Older, well maintained vehicles puts no one at risk. It is this type of hoopla that keeps our police department over-funded. Everyone can agree that we want public safety, but do we want it at the risk of our city going bankrupt? Most people would answer "No". Let's find a way to have a solid police force and a strong, balanced budget. As long as we have councilman and women who will disregard that fact that we are spending more than we are taking in, this city cannot sustain itself. We will soon be pushed to the brink of raising taxes to pay for a police department that we cannot afford. Every department in every city wants more money, but that money doesn't grow on trees. It is found only in the citizen's pockets through taxes and fees (and by the way "fees" is just another word for more taxes).

I am quite surprised with Councilman Okray's stance on this whole matter. During his campaign, I saw him as one who would stand firm for what his constituents want by way of less government, less taxes and greater transparency. It is hard to grasp that he would not side with Councilman Johnson to put an end to this robbing of Peter to pay Paul, as has been happening in the reduction of the general fund. How can Okray support this irresponsible budget proposal? I just thought better of him.

I do agree we need to have a forensic audit. This should be put up for a vote and pushed through to it conclusion. Enough talk on the matter. Let"s get it done.

NO new expenditures. Cut, cut, cut until we have a balanced budget. Don't allow the police or fire departments to dissuade you from what this city needs, a balanced budget.

Eliza

@ “We’re talking about borrowing $4 million … Where did the money go?” Okray asked. “We need a forensic audit.”. End of copy.----


One of the Main Reasons Councilman Okray should also argue wholeheartedly for an Audit (and is entitled to one (also a State Sec. investigation)
Is the fact this money -Millions -
Was it taken during his time on Council ???
Or was it ?

Who made Fools of those sitting on Council ? Including everyone sitting at this time ???

Eliza

@ “We’re talking about borrowing $4 million … Where did the money go?” Okray asked. “We need a forensic audit.”

Councilwoman Shirley Fleming agreed with Okray’s stance on a forensic audit.
“It’s the only way we can clear things up,” Fleming said.

-----------------------

The council (some of the council say they want an Audit....
But MANY of the Citizen Tax Payers have stated -They Want One.

Its time to find out ,who has hands on the peoples money ?

The people have had enough taken from them,
Now its time to find out where its been taken and who took it away from the Tax Payer.!!!

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
'Statement': I am not in favor of allowing this city to be drawn into a battle with this council. This council should adopt a clean slate, that in which it does not draw further into the 'fund balance'. Now as to Okray's statement: Copy: 'Councilman Jonathan Okray questioned the city’s fund balance that he asserted was at 35 percent in 2010 and has since dropped to 23 percent.
“We’re talking about borrowing $4 million … Where did the money go?” Okray asked. “We need a forensic audit.”. End of copy.
As I recall, the first thing that was stated was, 'We need to draw from the fund balance that was standing, put at the level of, $16 million, Ms. Farris was quoted as saying 'we need $8 million from the fund. Then it was 'we need to 'reduce' the fund balance by $7.2 million. Now according to councilman Okray who stated 'We need to 'borrow' $4 million fro the fund balance'.
Council men and lady councilwoman, There is a lot of abstract numbers coming from this council, but no resolutions'.
As has been stated by citizens, 'We need to resolve this whole mess, vote for a balanced budget, and get on with it' or you will find yourself mired down to the point that Ms. Farris 'wins again', gets a budget that 'draws down' the city fund to approximately $9 million dollars, only I feel will put this city in a budget battle that, in the following year, creates an unending budget battle, to again draw this city in a position of once again having to reduce the fund balance once again.
I disagree with councilman Rivera who is of the opinion 'He will not support a budget that will 'compromise' the safety of the citizens. I say, 'councilman Rivera, it is my personal observation that you are of the old school, that, if I'm not mistaken, voted for the ouster of city manager Green, to the tune of a $750,000 payoff, who was subsequently recalled by this city, who boasted about being a part of the past council who was responsible for the ouster of city manager, Green, and to date has not divulged the reasoning behind the Green 'payoff'. Now you are in favor of 'drawing down' this city's financial status once again with the broad, open ended, statement of an action causing this city to 'not being able to secure this city's safety'. I'm of the opinion that, 'You should resign immediately'.
I applaud councilman these costs that will reduce the city's reserves even further.
Copy: 'I’ve been on the council for three months to fix your mess,” Johnson said, questioning how many years Rivera has been on the council.' End of copy.
Many thanks for you Mr. Johnson. It's about time for 'someone' on this council to take a stand and stop this never ending draw of the city's finances.
To sum up, mayor Segerra questioned if the council was OK with leaving the city with a balance of about 1.5 months worth of operating revenue.
Councilman Okray said 'he supports Farris' initial budget of depleting the fund balance by $7.2 million'. That is a departure from councilman's earlier statement of reducing the 'borrowing $4 million from the fund'.
And it seems to me that councilwoman Fleming is 'parroting' the statements presented by Okray.
And, after almost 7 hours of discussion, the council convened in closed session to 'discuss the employment, evaluation and duties of Farris'. It seems to me that that is what got into the mess before. I say, if you are going to 'discuss anything pertaining to job duties, and payroll issues, this should be discussed in open session, not go behind closed doors, in secret session'.Again that's what happened to the Green fiasco, and now this fiasco, meeting behind closed doors.
One of the 3% who voted.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.