By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
NOLANVILLE - The City Council agreed Wednesday to place a city manager's salary into the next fiscal year's budget, which will officially be proposed to the governing body tonight.
Mayor Charlie Stewart Sr. will present a proposed budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year to the council at a 7 p.m. meeting.
The budget included general fund revenues of about $825,000 and general fund expenditures of about $742,000, before it was amended during a workshop Wednesday.
After some debate, the council agreed to add to the budget the additional cost of a city manager and a part-time administrative assistant for the police department.
"I don't think we are ready for a city manager," Councilwoman Christina Rosenthal said before changing her mind.
City Treasurer Stephen Peters suggested the city should plan for the position because of the charter election. If the charter is approved, it will change the city's government to a home-rule, city manager-city council form of government.
"Since y'all asked the residents to go to election, I don't know if you have a choice," Peters said.
After hearing Peters' argument and discussing the issue more at length, council members agreed to budget the position for nine months of the fiscal year starting in January.
The total cost of the position was estimated at about $57,000.
Two other additions were suggested to the council, but one - another police officer - was agreed to be left out of the budget.
The other - health benefits for Police Chief Lester Holsey Jr. or the decision to compensate him for the loss of pay - was moved to a closed meeting set for later this month.
When Holsey's contract ends in September, he will lose benefits and thus will be losing money, Councilman Ken Miller told the council.
"We should be giving (the benefits or be compensated monetarily) because he will be making less than he did last year," Miller said. "No one should start out the year making less than they did the year before."
Council members Skip Matthews and Brenda Huckaba disagreed with Miller. The benefits shouldn't count as part of his salary, they said.
"I don't want a raise," Holsey said, interjecting. "I just don't want to lose money."
Holsey doesn't deserve the monetary compensation and should get the 3 percent raise just like everyone else, Matthews said.
"You are no more important than anyone else," Matthews said.
The council meets at the J.W. Sims Community Center at 7 tonight for the mayor to officially present the budget to the council.
The council will also:
Consider ordering a special election for residents to consider adopting a city charter.
Consider waiving permit fees for a Kay's Motorcycle Mania event Sept. 9-12.
Consider closing a state right of way for a Kay's Motorcycle Mania event from 6 to 10 p.m. Sept. 10.
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7554. Follow him on Twitter at KDHheights.