Nearly three decades after its last competitive election, the regional group that controls the city of Killeen’s drinking water will see a contested ballot on May 5.
On Friday, former Killeen Councilmen Richard “Dick” Young and Terry Clark filed for the Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 board of directors, ending a 28-year run of uncontested elections.
On Wednesday, Young said he had been made aware of the district’s election by a friend and filed 10 minutes before the deadline.
“I’m very interested in serving, and it’s a very important part of our city’s future,” Young said. “I want to make sure the citizens have an adequate supply of clean water and no one takes our water away from us.”
Young, who left the council in May 2017, said he has provided the district with proof he owned a taxable interest in property within the district’s jurisdiction and was allowed on the ballot.
“They are trying to dot their i’s and cross their t’s,” Young said. “They obviously don’t have a lot of experience with elections.”
Young said the district did not accept Clark’s filing due to him not residing or owning property within the district’s jurisdiction. District manager Ricky Garrett said two directors seats held by Allen Cloud and Mike Miller are up for election.
The Herald has sent questions to the district since Monday, asking for a full list of the candidates who have filed for the election, how the election will be held, where the district’s boundaries lie and who will be allowed to vote.
On Wednesday, Garrett said the district will hold the election at a “location central to the district” from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 5.
Garrett said he believed the location for the election would be the Killeen Community Center at 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd., and the district’s jurisdictional boundaries are the city of Killeen’s 1984 corporate limits.
Garrett said information on the election would be posted 21 days before the election on the outside of the district’s main office at 201 S. 39th St.
According to a Dec. 17 Herald report, the district provides no information on its website about the district’s board of directors, upcoming elections or public notices for meetings of the board, which must be posted 72 hours before a meeting by Texas Open Meetings Act regulations.
That information has still not been updated on the district’s website.
Both Bell County and the Texas secretary of state’s office, the ultimate authority on elections in the state, have said they have no information on the district’s election procedures. The district’s last election in May 2016 was canceled due to no competitive filings.
The three directors who took the oath May 25, 2016, were John Blankenship, a former member of the Killeen Independent School District board of trustees who has served the water district for 20 years; Don Farek, a former Killeen council member and a homebuilder who has served the district for 13 years; and Dr. Mitchell Jacobs, the president of the Bell County Expo Center board and a veterinarian in Killeen who has served the district for 15 years.
Also on the board are Cloud, a former mayor of Killeen and owner of Cloud Real Estate who has served the district for 11 years; and Miller, a former Harker Heights councilman and owner of Miller & Co. Insurance in Heights who has served for six years.
The district said in January 2016 that only Killeen residents could vote in a board of directors election, but the district did not specify which Killeen voters were included in the district’s jurisdiction. Although the district supplies water to other municipalities such as Copperas Cove, Harker Heights and Belton, residents of those communities do not vote in the district’s elections.