Local government

How much can the Killeen City Council give to help the homeless shelter reopen?

That was the question during the Tuesday council workshop meeting with representatives from the Friends In Crisis homeless shelter.

The shelter, operated through Families In Crisis, is seeking funds to continue its operations, mostly funded by donations.

Larry Moehnke, Families In Crisis board vice president, said the organization is requesting $10,000 per month, or $120,000 per year, to assist with operating costs, as well as a waiver of their 2018 utility fees totaling $12,673.

The cost to run the shelter — which closed its doors May 18 — averages $1,000 a day, totaling $30,000 monthly.

It serviced a daily average of 75 people, 15 percent were veterans.

“We want to stress that this (the closure) is most definitely temporary. We are looking at grants both traditional and nontraditional like GoFundMe,” Families In Crisis director of programs Suzanne Armour said previously to the Herald. The organization is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Moehnke spoke to council members on what it will take to get the shelter reopened and to keep it that way.

Along with the other request, Moehnke also asked for council to provide $60,000 upfront to help “with the gap of funding” expected to be received around October 2019.

“We didn’t want it to happened but it did … with the $60,000 that would be significant to help,” he said.

Assistant City Manager David Ellison said it was too early to make a call but, “we do have an annual budget process and certain community partners … do come before the city council with their request.”

The shelter’s request for assistance with the utility bills was denied as the city’s financial governance policy states “free services will be provided to no one.”

The common question by the council members is whether transparency will be provided should they give any type of funding.

“Absolutely,” Moehnke said.

Moehnke was also advised to send in a letter of funding request to Ciity Manager Ron Olson.

A unanimous vote was made by the council to direct Olson to determine if funding will be provided and how much.

In other matters, the council discussed two upcoming votes on annexation requests.

Next week, they will make the final vote on whether the request will be made official.

The petitions — both submitted in March — have caused controversy among residents and some council members.

Local land developer Gary Purser Jr. is petitioning for annexation of land adjacent to 5601 Clear Creek Road, which totals approximately 76.459 acres, while WBW Land Investments Limited Partnership is seeking the annexation of land adjacent to 7501 Chaparral Road, totaling approximately 83.01 acres.

The request to start the process of considering both annexation requests was passed on April 9, with a vote of 4-3. Council members Debbie Nash-King, Juan Rivera, Jim Kilpatrick and Butch Menking voted to move forward, while Council members Shirley Fleming, Gregory Johnson and Steve Harris voted in opposition.

While some residents are for the annexation, others believe the submissions are too soon.

“Since the council is actively thinking about impact fees, why not table this until you made your decision because it will be an effect on any future development,” former city council candidate Tolley James Jr. said at a May 7 workshop.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Executive Director of Planning Ray Shanaa and Financial Director John Locke gave the presentation on both properties.

“There is no expected increase in (property tax) rates,” Locke said on both annexations.

The vote will be made at a June 11 regular council meeting.

(1) comment

Truthprevails

I’m against any further funding under current management and ownership. For 125 a day per person we can rent them a room at area hotels that have free breakfast and buy them lunch and dinner.. places that actually pay taxes...Disperse them and remove the concentrations of homelessness in old town Killeen.. then and maybe then businesses will return and begin to pay sales taxes instead of the free ride the city created that has cost us over $2 million dollars so far.. the other groups who provide similar services get zero and some how they stay open... hmmm. Here we go hand picking winners again.. way to go city. Everyone else they careless about. Quit wasting money .. it’s not yours to waste.

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