KILLEEN FINANCES

The Killeen City Council and city staff are working to institute a sweeping reform of Killeen’s municipal finance policy.

Who cares, right?

While policy discussion sounds to some like nails on a chalkboard, how the city manages taxpayer money was at the center of the council’s catastrophic recall election in 2011 — in which five council members were removed from office — and the recently completed management audit of the city’s finances.

The audit, resulting in part from residents’ anger over the handling of public funds, revealed a web of mismanagement and a lack of financial controls that precipitated years of questionable spending practices and poor council decision making.

In short, Killeen residents care about how their taxpayer money is spent, and tight fiscal control helps prevent waste and promote growth.

Here are some of the biggest highlights of the new policy and how it affects taxpayer money.

NEW DEBT

The city’s updated debt policy would limit the amount of property tax used to service debt and limit the ability of the council to increase the city’s indebtedness.

The city’s new policies governing debt servicing would require the city to move toward a goal of 25 percent for the interest and sinking portion of the total property tax rate.

“The city will be considered compliant with this policy as long as the interest and sinking portion of the tax rate continuously decreases until it reaches the 25% level,” the policy states.

The city’s current interest and sinking portion of the property tax rate is 34.2 percent.

The new policy would ensure that more of the property tax bill a home- and business owner pays each year go to city operational expenses such as paying for public safety and improving community services.

In addition, the new policy ensures the council can propose a general obligation bond election — voted on by Killeen residents and paid for by property tax revenue — only if the debt service portion of the property tax stays level or decreases.

That effectively means the council cannot propose a bond election without an accompanying increase in the city’s property tax, adding a clear mechanism to pay back the floated debt.

“The staff is going to be compelled to come back to the council and say ‘you’re violating your policy,’” City Manager Ron Olson said Nov. 10. “It will help us understand (that) issuing debt without raising the tax rate is going to take us in the wrong direction,”

The city of Killeen currently holds $252 million in debt paid back through property tax revenue and utility payments, according to the Texas Bond Review Board.

While that debt figure is not unusual in relation to cities of similar size, the amount of an average resident’s property tax dedicated to servicing the city’s debt is unusually high for comparable municipalities.

In fiscal year 2017, the city paid 30 cents per $100 of taxable value assessed toward servicing its debt.

That number is only bested by the cities of Copperas Cove, which paid 32 cents per $100, and Temple, which paid 34 cents per $100, in the city’s 10-member benchmark group of cities comparable in demographics and size.

GRANT MONEY

As revealed in the city’s external management audit in August, past Killeen administrators did not have a plan to pay for annual grant expenditures after the limited-time money ran out.

Without a future plan, the city has scrambled to identify funds to pay for expenses covered by state or federal money.

For example, the city accepted three separate COPS grants — federal money used to fund police department positions — and has struggled annually to pay for salaries and benefits when those grants ended.

The city’s new policy would tackle that issue head on — but there are still kinks in the system.

The section devoted to grant funding in the policy ensures that the city will propose accepting a grant only if a long-term funding plan is concurrently presented.

But just before the policy discussion Nov. 10, the council asked no questions about long-term funding for a state grant outfitting Killeen police officers with rifle-resistant body armor.

As part of the city’s resolution, the state would offer more than $127,000 for the plating and vests with a five-year warranty period before the cost of maintaining and replacing the equipment falls on the city. The cost of replacing the entire armor inventory alone is more than $81,675.

But in the council memorandum for the resolution, there is no plan for future funding for the equipment, only a passing reference to the department’s intent to ask for budgeted funds or seek other grant opportunities.

During the policy discussion, Olson said: “The intent of the language is to say we won’t accept a grant unless we have plan to pay for it.”

The council will vote on the armor grant resolution Tuesday.

CITY RESERVES

The city will plan to expand its policy of requiring the city’s operational fund to maintain a 25 percent reserve to all funds within the city enterprise.

The city has long maintained a 22 percent to 25 percent threshold for the city’s operations as a way to accommodate emergency expenses.

But as the city underwent a six-year span of deficit spending from 2011-2016, that fund reserve continuously dipped below the city’s targeted range.

In January, then-interim City Manager Dennis Baldwin proposed moving $1.67 million from the city’s solid waste enterprise fund to the operations reserve fund to prop up the city’s operational savings and prevent — in the worst-case scenario — a downgrading of the city’s credit rating.

The council approved that move Dec. 13.

But when Olson was hired in February, he promised to bring a balanced budget before the council — a promise that he kept.

The city’s policy would now stipulate if fund reserves reach higher than 25 percent, those funds would immediately be transferred to the corresponding capital improvement funds.

Shorthand: If the solid waste enterprise is operating at a significant profit, those proceeds would go to improving and replacing solid waste vehicles. If the general fund exceeds expectations financially, the proceeds would go toward improved buildings, community services and more.

But Councilman Jim Kilpatrick said Nov. 10 another option could be on the table: Lowering the city’s reserve range and freeing up more money each year for city departments to play with.

Lowering the operations reserve account range just 3 percent each year could free up to $2.5 million each year for operational expenditures, including police overtime, expanded community services, road repairs and more.

The city is expected to discuss that idea at a workshop session this month.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

INTERNAL CONTROLS: The highlight of the internal controls section is the stipulation of segregation of duties, in which procedures to detect errors or irregularities are performed by staff that did not perform the original transaction.

The individuals double-checking their co-workers’ work will also be informed where to report irregularities of fraud if it is found, namely through City Auditor Matthew Grady and Olson.

Access to city assets will only be allowed after management authorization, and departments will also undergo “periodic independent verification” to ensure departments are adhering to financial policy.

FINANCIAL REPORTING: While the city already posts its monthly financial statements online at www.killeentexas.gov, Olson said the reports often take months to post — and he wants them sooner.

The city previously waited to post financial statements when its monthly books closed, but Olson said he expects statements to be received by his office within 30 days of month’s end and posted online immediately, giving residents a quicker snapshot of the city’s finances.

“They will be accurate enough for to manage this city,” Olson said of the reports. “It took a little arm twisting and convincing, but we can do it.”

BUDGETING: The schedule for the city’s budgeting, governed primarily by state law, will stay mostly the same, but Olson has said annual budgets will be balanced and rely on conservative estimates of past expenditures and revenues.

Importantly, the council will be tasked early each calendar year with reviewing its budgets passed each September and also its entire financial policy package.

Olson said the council would be provided with reports on the city’s conformity with the policy and any room for improvements.

The city also set percentage amounts for each department in the operational fund.

Those percentages are:

Public safety (police and fire) — 73.0213 percent.

General government — 7.3853 percent.

Community services — 7.5623 percent.

Public works — 6.1836 percent.

Community development — 4.8431 percent.

Planning & development — 1.0044 percent.

kyleb@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

(2) comments

eyewatchingu

I am still at a lost as to why none of these sitting council members and past council members are not in jail for misuse of public funds and many more crimes they have committed.
Please take a look and read over this. Any one running for a position should have read this and watched the movie. No matter how we change the handling of tax payer money and city funding, will not change the fact these members and past members have committed serious crimes.

https://www.tml.org/legal_pdf/Personal%20Liability%20Primer.pdf

TEXAS MUNICIPAL LEAGUE
Understanding Your Personal Liability as a City Official: A Primer
This paper is meant to provide basic information regarding state laws that may result in criminal or personal liability for city officials. A home rule charter, local policy, or ordinance may provide for more stringent requirements in some circumstances. This paper is not comprehensive in nature, but rather is intended to highlight some of the state law provisions that most commonly give rise to personal liability in connection with the holding of or running for a city office. Please consult the individual state laws cited for detailed information about the issues discussed here. You can find additional resources regarding many of the topics discussed here on our Web site at www.tml.org.

Pg. 15
IV. PURCHASING

At meetings throughout the budget year, the city council may be called on to approve the purchase of goods, services, and property. With limited exceptions, before a city enters into a contract that requires an expenditure of more than $50,000, it must comply with the procedures for competitive sealed bidding or competitive sealed proposals in Chapter 252 of the Texas Local Government Code.126 As an alternative to competitive sealed bidding or proposals, a city may use the following procurement methods: (1) the reverse auction procedure for purchasing in Section 2155.062(d) of the Government Code; (2) a cooperative purchasing program under Subchapters D and F of Chapter 271 of the Local Government Code; or (3) an alternative procurement method for city construction projects set out in Chapter 2267 of the Texas Government Code (formerly contained in Subchapter H of Chapter 271 of the Local Government Code).127

A city may use competitive sealed proposals for the purchase of any goods or services, including high technology items and insurance.128 However, construction projects must generally be procured using competitive bidding or specific alternative methods (discussed below).

For general procurement of goods or services (as discussed below, special rules may apply to construction procurement), a contract must be awarded to: (a) the lowest responsible bidder, or (b) the bidder who provides goods or services at the ―best value.‖129 When determining ―best value,‖ the city may consider factors other than the purchase price of the goods and services, including among other things: (1) the reputation of the bidder and the bidder‘s goods or services; (2) the quality of the bidder‘s goods or services; (3) the bidder‘s past relationship with the city; and/or (4) any other lawful criteria.130

The city must indicate in the bid specifications and requirements that the contract will be awarded either to the lowest responsible bidder or to the bidder who provides goods or services at the ―best value‖ for the city.131

In addition, two provisions—Local Government Code Sections 271.905 and 271.9051— authorize the use of local preference when awarding a contract. Section 271.905 allows a city to consider a bidder‘s principal place of business when a city awards a contract for real or personal property.132 Specifically, it provides that if a city receives one or more bids from a bidder whose principal place of business is in the city and whose bid is within three percent of the lowest bid price of a non-resident, the city may pick the resident bidder after a written determination that the decision is in the best interests of the city.133 This is a useful provision for awarding contracts, but it appears to be directed towards the purchase of tangible items rather than services.

Section 271.9051 authorizes a city to give a preference to a local bidder when awarding a contract for personal property or services if: (1) the local bid is within five percent of the lowest bid that isn‘t local, and (2) the city‘s governing body finds in writing that the local bid offers the best combination of price and economic development factors such as local employment and tax revenues. Legislation passed in 2009 and 2011 limits the applicability of this provision to contracts for construction services that are less than $100,000 and contracts for other purchases that are less than $500,000. A city does not have to comply with competitive procurement requirements for certain expenditures, even if the expenditure is over $50,000. The most common exemptions are as follows (see Section 252.022(a) of the Local Government Code for a complete list of exemptions):

 A procurement made because of a public calamity that requires the immediate appropriation of money to relieve the necessity of the city‘s residents or to preserve the property of the municipality.134  A procurement necessary to preserve or protect the public health or safety of the city's residents.135  A procurement necessary because of unforeseen damage to public machinery, equipment, or other property.136  A procurement for personal, professional, or planning services.137  A purchase of land or a right-of-way.138  A procurement of items that are available from only one source.139

Whether or not to use any of the exemptions is up to each city, and the decision should be made based on the advice of local legal counsel.

A city, in making an expenditure of more than $3,000 but less than $50,000, shall contact at least two HUBs on a rotating basis, based on information provided by the Texas Comptroller‘s Office pursuant to Chapter 2161 of the Government Code, see information at http://cpa.state.tx.us/procurement/prog/hub/.140 If the list fails to identify a HUB in the county in which the city is located, the city is exempt.141

For construction projects that involve the construction of a building that is to be designed and constructed in accordance with accepted building codes (commonly referred to as ―vertical construction projects‖), and those that are civil engineering projects (commonly referred to as ―horizontal construction projects‖), a city may use many of the alternative procurement methods set out in Chapter 2267 of the Texas Government Code (formerly Chapter 271, Subchapters H and J, of the Local Government Code).142 The alternative methods are:
 Competitive bidding (which is different than the ―standard‖ competitive bidding processes in Chapter 252/Chapter 271, Subchapter B).143  Competitive sealed proposals (may be used for civil engineering projects).144  Construction manager agent.145  Construction manager at risk (may be used for civil engineering projects).146  Design-build147 (may not generally be used for civil engineering projects, although a handful of very large cities—those over 100,000 in population—may use design-build for a limited number of civil works projects under Government Code Chapter 2267, Subchapter H).  Job order contract (may not be used for civil engineering projects).148

For each of the methods listed above, a city awards the contract to the contractor who provides the ―best value‖ to the city based on the selection criteria established by the city in its procurement documents. The selection criteria may generally include factors other than the construction cost, including among other things: (1) the reputation of the contractor and the contractor‘s goods or services; (2) the quality of the contractor‘s goods or services; and (3) the contractor‘s past relationship with the city.149

Any provision in the charter of a home rule city that relates to the notice of contracts, advertisement of the notice, requirements for the taking of sealed bids based on specifications for public improvements or purchases, the manner of publicly opening bids or reading them aloud, or the manner of letting contracts that is in conflict with Chapter 252 controls unless the governing body elects to have Chapter 252 supersede the charter.150

Chapter 271, Subchapters D and F, of the Local Government Code (Cooperative Purchasing Programs) authorize cities to enter into cooperatives with the state or other local governments for the purpose of procuring goods and services. The state purchasing cooperative is online at http://www.window.state.tx.us/procurement/, and a joint TML/Texas Association of School Board cooperative is online at www.tml.org. In addition, several councils of governments offer cooperative purchasing.

Section 2155.062(d) of the Texas Government Code authorizes the use of the reverse auction method for the purchase of goods and services. A reverse auction procedure is: (1) real-time bidding process usually lasting less than one hour and taking place at a previously scheduled time and Internet location in which multiple suppliers, anonymous to each other, submit bids to provide the designated goods or services; or (2) a bidding process usually lasting less than two weeks and taking place during a previously scheduled period and at a previously scheduled Internet location, in which multiple suppliers, anonymous to each other, submit bids to provide the designated goods or services.151

A contract made without compliance with competitive procurement laws is void, and performance of the contract may be enjoined by any property tax paying resident or a person who submitted a bid for a contract to which the competitive sealed bidding requirement applies, regardless of residency, if the contract is for the construction of public works.152 The specific criminal penalties are as follows:

 A municipal officer or employee who intentionally or knowingly makes or authorizes separate, sequential, or component purchases to avoid the competitive procurement requirements of Chapter 252 commits a Class B misdemeanor.153  A municipal officer or employee who intentionally or knowingly violates the competitive procurement requirements of Chapter 252 commits a Class B misdemeanor.154  A municipal officer or employee who intentionally or knowingly violates Chapter 252 other than by conduct described above commits a Class C misdemeanor.155

A final conviction for an offense constituting a Class B misdemeanor results in the immediate removal of that person from office or employment. For a period of four years following conviction, the removed officer or employee is ineligible to be appointed or elected to a public office in Texas, to be re-employed by the city, or to receive any compensation through a contract with that city.156

A. Bribery, Gifts, and Honorariums
Chapter 36 of the Texas Penal Code, entitled ―Bribery and Corrupt Influences,‖ proscribes certain conduct such as bribery, coercion of a public servant or voter, attempts to influence the outcome of certain proceedings, and tampering with a witness.169 The Chapter deals generally with offenses involving a ―public servant,‖ which is defined to mean a person elected, selected, appointed, employed or otherwise designated as an ―officer, employee, or agent of government,‖ which includes a city.170 The Texas Ethics Commission is authorized to prepare written advisory opinions regarding Chapter 36 and those opinions are available on the Commission‘s Web site.171

1. Bribery
―A person commits the offense of bribery if he intentionally or knowingly offers, confers, or agrees to confer on another, or solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept from another any benefit as consideration for the recipient‘s decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other exercise of discretion as a public servant.‖172 It is no defense to prosecution that a person whom the actor sought to influence was not qualified to act in the desired manner because he had not assumed office or, for some other reason, lacked jurisdiction.173
A ―benefit‖ is anything reasonably regarded as pecuniary gain or advantage, including benefit to any other person in whose welfare the beneficiary has a direct and substantial interest (such as a relative or business partner).174 At least one Texas Court has indicated that the term should be broadly construed to promote justice.175 The offense of bribery is a second degree felony.176
2. Honorariums and Other Gifts
A councilmember may not solicit, accept, or agree to accept an honorarium in consideration for services that the member would not have been requested to provide but for the member‘s official position or duties.177 The term ―‗honorarium‘ is commonly understood to be ‗a payment in recognition of acts or professional services for which custom or propriety forbids a price to be set.‘‖178 An honorarium may include such things as fees for speaking, fees for teaching, severance pay, and moving expenses.179
Not included in the honorarium prohibition are: (1) transportation and lodging expenses in connection with conferences or similar events where the councilmember provides services (e.g., addressing the audience) so long as the service is more than merely perfunctory (i.e., superficial); and (2) meals provided in connection with an event described in (1) above.180
A councilmember may not solicit, accept, or agree to accept any benefit from a person the councilmember knows is interested in or likely to become interested in any contract, purchase payment, claims, or transaction involving the exercise of the member‘s discretion.181 Texas Penal Code Section 36.10 carves out exceptions under which a city official may accept certain gifts or benefits, including:
(1) fees prescribed by law to be received by a councilmember or any other benefit to which the member is lawfully entitled or for which he gives legitimate consideration in a capacity other than as a councilmember (e.g., a jury duty fee);
(2) gifts given by a person with whom the councilmember has a familial, personal, business or professional relationship, independent of the member‘s official status (e.g., birthday gift from a family member);
(3) certain benefits for which the councilmember files a statement under Chapter 572, Government Code, or a report under Title 15 of the Texas Election Code (TEX. ELEC. CODE § 251.001 et seq.);
(4) political contributions as defined by Title 15 of the Texas Election Code (TEX. ELEC. CODE § 251.001 et seq.);
(5) items with a value of less than $50, excluding cash or a negotiable instrument, such as a check;
(6) items issued by a governmental entity that allows the use of property or facilities owned, leased, or operated by the governmental entity;
(7) transportation, lodging, and meals that are allowed under the honorarium prohibition (Penal Code § 36.07(b)); and
(8) food, lodging, transportation, or entertainment accepted as a guest, if the donee is required by law to report those items.182
If a city official receives an unsolicited benefit from someone under the official‘s jurisdiction that he is prohibited from accepting under Texas Penal Code Section 36.08, he may donate the benefit to a governmental entity that has the authority to accept the gift or may donate the benefit to a recognized tax-exempt charitable organization formed for educational, religious, or scientific purposes.183 A violation of either of the bribery and gift laws described above is a Class A misdemeanor.184 There are no specific provisions in Chapter 36 of the Texas Penal Code providing for removal of a public official or employee due to a conviction under these laws. However, such a conviction may be grounds for removal under the ―official misconduct‖ provisions of Texas Local Government Code Sections 21.025(a)(2) and 21.031(a) or through a recall or other removal action authorized by a city charter.
B. Falsification of Government Documents and the Misuse of Information
City officials have access to and responsibility for documents and information. For instance, under the Public Information Act, a councilmember acting in his official capacity may review records of the city without implicating the PIA‘s prohibition against selective disclosure.185 And under the Open Meetings Act, a councilmember may participate in a closed session to discuss the purchase or lease of real property.186 Once privy to information or documents not available to the public, it is important for a councilmember to understand what liability he or she may have in regard to those documents and that information.
1. Falsification of Governmental Records
Penal Code Section 37.10 works to prevent the falsification of governmental records. A governmental record is broadly defined to include, among other things, anything belonging to, received by, or kept by government for information, including court and election records.187
The following activities are prohibited: (1) knowingly making a false entry in or false alteration of a governmental record; (2) making, presenting, or using a record, document or thing with knowledge of its falsity and an intent that it be taken as a legitimate government record; (3) intentionally destroying, concealing, removing or impairing the truth, legibility, or availability of a governmental record; (4) possessing, selling, or offering to sell a governmental record or blank form with the intent that it be used unlawfully; (5) making, presenting, or using a governmental record with knowledge of its falsity; or (6) possessing, selling, or offering to sell a governmental record or blank form with knowledge that it was obtained unlawfully.188
A violation of Section 37.10 can range from a misdemeanor to a third degree felony, depending upon the intent of the actor and type of record involved.
2. Misuse of Official Information

Penal Code Section 39.06 proscribes the misuse of official information. A public servant commits an offense if, in reliance on information to which he has access by virtue of his office or employment and that ―has not been made public,‖ he: (1) acquires or helps another acquire a pecuniary interest in any property, transaction, or enterprise that may be affected by the information; (2) speculates or helps another speculate on the basis of the information; or (3) coerces another into suppressing or failing to report that information to a law enforcement agency.189

A public servant commits an offense if, with intent to obtain a benefit or intent to harm or defraud another, he discloses or uses information for a nongovernmental purpose that: (1) he has access to by means of his office or employment; and (2) is not public.190 Conversely, a person commits an offense if, with intent to obtain a benefit or intent to harm or defraud another, he solicits or receives from a public servant information that: (1) the public servant has access to by mean of his office or employment; and (2) is not public.191

For purposes of this statute, ―information that has not been made public‖ is information to which the public does not generally have access, and that is prohibited from disclosure under Chapter 552 of the Government Code (the Public Information Act),192 such as the social security number of a peace officer where the officer has chosen to restrict access to that information or the proprietary information received from a third party in response to a request for proposals.

Coercing an employee into suppressing or failing to report information is a Class C misdemeanor.193 Misusing official information is a third degree felony.194

3. Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information

Penal Code Section 32.51 prohibits the fraudulent use or possession of identifying information (e.g., social security number, date of birth, fingerprints, bank account number). It is an offense, with the intent to harm or defraud another, to obtain, possess, transfer or use an item of (1) identifying information of another person without that person‘s consent; (2) information concerning a deceased person if obtained, possessed, transferred or used without legal authorization; or (3) identifying information of a child younger than eighteen years.195 An offense is a felony.196

C. Abuse of Official Capacity

A public servant may not intentionally or knowingly, with the intent to obtain a benefit or harm or defraud another, violate a law relating to the public servant‘s office or employment.197 This provision may be best described as a ―catch all‖ for bad government officials and because of its broad language may be used to attach a criminal penalty to varied conduct that may not have another criminal statute tied to it. A violation of this prohibition is a Class A misdemeanor.

A public servant may not intentionally or knowingly, with the intent to obtain a benefit or harm or defraud another, misuse government property, services, personnel or other thing of value belonging to the government that has come into the public servant‘s custody or possession by virtue of his office or employment.198 For instance, a city councilmember may not use city staff to gather information for use in a reelection campaign199 or use city funds to purchase paint for use on his house.200 Items such as frequent flyer miles, rental car or hotel discounts, or food coupons are not things of value belonging to the government for the purposes of Penal Code section 39.02.201

The penalty for misusing government property, services, or personnel varies, depends upon the value of the thing misused:

(1) Class C misdemeanor if the value is less than $20; (2) Class B misdemeanor if the value is $20 or more but less than $500; (3) Class A misdemeanor if the value is $500 or more but less than $1,500; (4) State jail felony if the value is $1,500 or more but less than $20,000; (5) Third degree felony if the value is $20,000 or more but less than $100,000; (6) Second degree felony if the value is $100,000 or more but less than $200,000; and (7) First degree felony if the value is $200,000 or more.202

D. Official Oppression

A public servant commits an offense by acting under color of his office or employment to intentionally: (1) subject another person to mistreatment, arrest, detention, search, seizure, dispossession, assessment, or lien that the public servant knows is unlawful; (2) deny or impede another person in the exercise or enjoyment of a right, privilege, power, or immunity, knowing his conduct is unlawful; or (3) subject another to sexual harassment.203 These offenses constitute a Class A misdemeanor.
Theft

It is unlawful to appropriate property with the intent to deprive the owner of the property.210 There is a value ladder to determine the punishment range such that the higher the value of the property stolen, the more severe the punishment. An offense is increased to the next higher category of offense if: (1) the actor was a public servant at the time of the offense and the property appropriated came into the actor‘s custody, possession, or control by virtue of his status as a public servant; or (2) the actor was in a contractual relationship with government at the time of the offense and the property appropriated came into the actor‘s custody, possession, or control by virtue of that contractual relationship

I will not get into the how they all have Violated Campaign laws you can read that for yourself.
VII. POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS, POLITICAL ADVERTISING, AND CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS

This city officials have violated The Hobbs Act, RICCO Act and many more Laws then I have ever seen in any city. I have lived all over this big country from Maine to Hawaii. I have seen corruption in cities before, yet this city takes the cake.

It is time we demand them out of office and put someone in that will let the FBI come in, the only way the FBI will come in is if they are asked to, by city officials.

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.

Copy: 'The Killeen City Council and city staff are working to institute a sweeping reform of Killeen’s municipal finance policy.' End of copy.

In my opinion, regardless of what number they come up with, 'it's too little and too late'.

Copy: 'The audit, resulting in part from residents’ anger over the handling of public funds, revealed a web of mismanagement and a lack of financial controls that precipitated years of questionable spending practices and poor council decision making.'
Continuation of copy: 'The city’s updated debt policy would limit the amount of property tax used to service debt and limit the ability of the council to increase the city’s indebtedness.'
Continuation of copy: 'The city’s current interest and sinking portion of the property tax rate is 34.2 percent.'
Continuation of copy: '“The city will be considered compliant with this policy as long as the interest and sinking portion of the tax rate continuously decreases until it reaches the 25% level,” the policy states.

Continuation of copy: 'In addition, the new policy ensures the council can propose a general obligation bond election — voted on by Killeen residents and paid for by property tax revenue — only if the debt service portion of the property tax stays level or decreases.' End of copy.

This is in essence a way of say, 'It's too little for the indebtedness of this city and it's too late for this city in which the 'City Management Group' can address the large and massive indebtedness this city already owes. This says that the city's current interest and sinking portion of the property tax rate is 34.2 percent, but it also says that the council can and almost certainly will propose a general obligation election, 'only if the debt service portion of the property tax stays level or decreases, or you can't have your cake and eat it to'.

Copy: 'That effectively means the council cannot propose a bond election without an accompanying increase in the city’s property tax, adding a clear mechanism to pay back the floated debt.' End of copy.

With that last statement, it says that 'The public safety is moving up to a resounding 73 percent from where it has been in the neighborhood of 60 percent. And my question is 'why are we continuing to climb to these numbers???? Does this encompass the general budget where the police academy is operated in the general account, and the first 18 months after graduation, the payroll is supplied from the general fund. This cost just continues to go up.

Copy: 'The city of Killeen currently holds $252 million in debt paid back through property tax revenue and utility payments, according to the Texas Bond Review Board.'
Continuation of copy: 'While that debt figure is not unusual in relation to cities of similar size, the amount of an average resident’s property tax dedicated to servicing the city’s debt is unusually high for comparable municipalities.' End of copy.

This city is holding $252 million in debt. Why don't we concentrate in 'Reducing this debt' and start with the new water plant that incurs what started out at $50 million and immediately started growing by adding debt to that package and will continue to add growth debt. Kill that project and stop the growth outside of this city's municipal boundary.

Copy: 'But in the council memorandum for the resolution, there is no plan for future funding for the equipment, only a passing reference to the department’s intent to ask for budgeted funds or seek other grant opportunities.'
Continuation of copy: 'During the policy discussion, Olson said: “The intent of the language is to say we won’t accept a grant unless we have plan to pay for it.”
The council will vote on the armor grant resolution Tuesday.' End of copy.

But there is a fly in the ointment, 'If the language is such that we must provide services for the police and fire departments if it can be stated that without these services, the departments will be lacking, and I'm thinking about the cost that have been incurred in police cars that were too small, the body armor that continually needs to be upgraded, the armored car that chief Baldwin ask for and it was given. I still haven't been given an answer as to 'how many times has the new armored car been used that the old armored car that was given to the city of Killeen 'free' as that old armored car was too heavy for some of the bridges. These are the types of activities that are should be carefully studied and apprised.

Copy: 'In January, then-interim City Manager Dennis Baldwin proposed moving $1.67 million from the city’s solid waste enterprise fund to the operations reserve fund to prop up the city’s operational savings and prevent — in the worst-case scenario — a downgrading of the city’s credit rating.'
Continuation of copy: 'But when Olson was hired in February, he promised to bring a balanced budget before the council — a promise that he kept.' End of copy.

To me this is not 'saving' anything. It was stated that Olsen saved some money by deactivating some of the police departments, I think it was around 20 odd personnel that weren't filled in the first place. How can you save money when the additional money is spent somewhere else????


Copy: 'Shorthand: If the solid waste enterprise is operating at a significant profit, those proceeds would go to improving and replacing solid waste vehicles. If the general fund exceeds expectations financially, the proceeds would go toward improved buildings, community services and more.'

Continuation of copy: 'But Councilman Jim Kilpatrick said Nov. 10 another option could be on the table: Lowering the city’s reserve range and freeing up more money each year for city departments to play with.' End of copy.

That will not fly as this is a mechanism in which the 25 percent reserve range will be going for the pet projects of the council, exhausting the funds and then start saying 'we need more operating capital' and will be right back where we started only more so and deeper in debt.

Copy: 'BUDGETING: The schedule for the city’s budgeting, governed primarily by state law, will stay mostly the same, but Olson has said annual budgets will be balanced and rely on conservative estimates of past expenditures and revenues.' End of copy.

This was not adhered to in the past.


Copy: 'Access to city assets will only be allowed after management authorization, and departments will also undergo “periodic independent verification” to ensure departments are adhering to financial policy.' End of copy.

Who is considered as 'management' to 'authorize access to city assets???? This is a question I've asked repeatedly and I have not received an answer. I would really like to know who is classified as management to authorize access to city assets. Would it be some of those individuals who managed to loose millions from this city's treasury????

Copy: 'Public safety (police and fire) — 73.0213 percent.
General government — 7.3853 percent.
Community services — 7.5623 percent.
Public works — 6.1836 percent.
Community development — 4.8431 percent.
Planning & development — 1.0044 percent.
End of copy.

There seem to be an imbalance between public safety at 73 percent and then the general operating of this city, say the rest of the breakdown which equates to the remaining 27 percent to operate this city.

I'm curious to see how this city council operates in which there is already bonds and grants already on the table and still have not completed 2 months into the new budget. How about getting a city council in-session and vote on the new chemical plant????

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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