KILLEEN FINANCES

A possible state grant for rifle-resistant police body armor got the Killeen City Council thinking about the future Tuesday during a discussion on long-term effects of the equipment on the city budget.

The city applied earlier this year for a newly minted body armor grant program approved by the Texas Legislature following the ambush-style killing of five police officers during a protest in downtown Dallas in July 2016.

According to an email from Killeen Police Department Cmdr. Alex Gearhart to Killeen City Manager Ron Olson on Aug. 4, the department has noted an increase in violent crime involving rifles in Killeen.

“Current armor leaves a gap in the protection we are providing to our officers who must respond to these threats,” Gearhart wrote.

The grant will provide $127,350 in body armor plating and plate carriers with no local match needed. The equipment has a five-year warranty and replacement period with the state before the grant expires. But the council was interested in how the city would fund replacing and maintaining the armor once the grant expired, after council members asked no questions on funding demands during earlier discussions on the grant.

Olson said the city’s new financial policies currently under consideration would require city staff to create an in-house plan for future funding of grant opportunities years before the grants expired. However, the policy would not require the city to have a spending plan outlined at the time a grant was approved.

“(The policy) sets the framework for us to think ahead,” Olson said. “We have lots of expensive things that we don’t have adequate plans for.”

An external management audit of the city’s finances completed in August found the city had previously accepted grants without a plan to cover local matching funds and continuing expenses, contributing to years of overspending. Olson has worked to phase the city out of the most cumbersome of those grants, tying recurring funds to police and fire salaries.

Councilman Steve Harris said while funding wasn’t certain for the armor, he trusted the city to find the funds to cover what he considered a necessary expense.

“I’m putting faith in all of us,” Harris said. “I have to believe we can come up with the (money). If that doesn’t happen, I would be very disappointed.”

The city estimated the cost to replace the armor plates alone at the end of the program will be $81,675, not accounting for inflation.

In other business, the council:

Appointed an ad hoc committee to discuss an overhaul of city council meeting protocol. The committee will be comprised of council members Harris and Gregory Johnson and chaired by Councilman Juan Rivera.

Discussed the purchase of $95,000 of training and duty ammunition for the Killeen Police Department. Funds for the purchase were allocated in the fiscal year 2018 budget.

Discussed the purchase of $300,000 in Killeen Fire Department uniforms paid over the next three years. Funds for the purchase were allocated in the 2018 budget.

Discussed the purchase of $450,000 in consumable medical supplies for the fire department paid over the next three years. Funds for the purchase were allocated in the 2018 budget.

kyleb@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

(3) comments

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.

@eyewatchingu: I wish you all of the success in this matter. I for years have watched this city go deeper and deeper in debt. This city and school department are proposing new bond endeavors with, as I see it, no thought of how this is all going to work.

Maybe, if through your endeavors, people will start to realize that by going deeper in debt, this is not the way to build better 'bridges' with people in this city. To my way of thinking, this city is just alienating it's citizens.

And I read an article tonight, which is in same vein, that said 'NAACP plans separate event as Trump heads to civil rights museum'
Continuation of copy: 'The civil rights advocates said their event was meant "to pay homage and recognition to those individuals who have dedicated their lives to the civil and human rights of Mississippians minus the presence of President Donald Trump." End of copy.

Yes we are indeed a divided Nation. But if it is for us to right this wrong and we are not going to do it by staying apart. We are not going to do it by tearing down Confederate statues. And we are not going to do it with what I think is a racist organization. Now you can object to me for saying this, but 'what about the freedom of speech???? In my minds eye, this group emboldens what is wrong with this country.

Yes the NAACP can 'plan for another event, but by doing this, then the NAACP is setting themselves up, just because President Trump is going to attend', with a separate function. Now I ask you, 'The NAACP does not think that it is desirable for the president of the United States to attend this event???? Most people would be glad that the President of the United States would be going to the event, and that to me says, 'the NAACP is a racist organization'.

If we continue down this road, it is my opinion that 'This Nation will never heal itself'. We will never heal this racial divide because people will never want it.

This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

eyewatchingu

This is just a joke, this whole city is a joke. Ran by the demons themselves.

I will have a website up this weekend, also a paint your own vote no signs for the bonds.
It will have all the facts and a place where others can put other Killeen news as well.
I figure we need a website to fight back and might as well start it.

See you all Monday or Tuesday with the web link.

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.

Copy: 'In other business, the council:
Appointed an ad hoc committee to discuss an overhaul of city council meeting protocol. The committee will be comprised of council members Harris and Gregory Johnson and chaired by Councilman Juan Rivera.' End of copy.

That is the extent of what this journalist had to say about what another journalist had to say. Seems like a whole lot of difference in the way the newspaper looks at it.

And look how this article started:

Copy: 'A possible state grant for rifle-resistant police body armor got the Killeen City Council thinking about the future Tuesday during a discussion on long-term effects of the equipment on the city budget.' End of copy.

I don't think any of us would be against the best protection of our police department, but I question 'Why it has become so, to continually increase the effects of a bullet, rather than why it has become so in the first place'. Has our society deteriorated to the point where we should be fearful of going out the door????

It would seem to me that we should be looking to 'cause and effect', what causes a society to deteriorate to this result and what are the resultant effects of this deterioration???? That I would consider a better subject for an 'Ad Hoc' committee rather than one in which to study a 'city council meeting protocol'.

This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

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