A unanimous Killeen City Council elected Elizabeth Blackstone as the new mayor pro tem at its regular meeting Tuesday.
As the mayor pro tem, Blackstone will preside over meetings when Mayor Dan Corbin is absent. If Corbin were to step down or be recalled, Blackstone would assume the seat until the next general election.
Blackstone, who is retired, said she fit the position because she was not as busy as many of the other council members, who have full-time jobs and might not be able to attend certain public functions.
“I am very pleased to be chosen for this position,” Blackstone said. “This city is my home and it is important to me to serve it any way that I can.”
Blackstone, who was elected as an at-large council member in May 2012, will take over for former Mayor Pro Tem Michael Lower, who was defeated in a council race for District 3 by Terry Clark.
On Tuesday, the council presented Lower with a plaque of recognition — a gesture that has not been made to outgoing council members for many years.
“On behalf of prior city council members, I accept this,” Lower said. “There are not words that can say how much of a privilege it was serving this city.”
Before electing Blackstone as mayor pro tem, the council canvassed the results of the Saturday election, which included the re-election of District 1 Councilman Wayne Gilmore, District 2 Councilman Jose Segarra, District 3 Councilman Terry Clark and the election of District 4 Councilman Steve Harris.
The council also canvassed the election of 33 amendments to the Killeen city charter, which were approved by voters Saturday.
In other business, the council approved changes to the city’s code of ordinances in an ongoing effort to improve the city’s appearance through more stringent property maintenance laws.
An ordinance requiring properties of two acres or larger to keep all high weeds, grass or brush below 2 feet in height was approved with an exemption for properties zoned as agriculture.
Properties with an agriculture exemption filed through Bell County also are exempt from the ordinance.
Lower, who requested that the zoning exemption be added, questioned the feasibility of mowing a yard that is 100 acres in size.
“I am concerned about those who do not have the (county agriculture) exemption and don’t plan on doing it,” Lower said. “I have no idea what it would cost to mow 100 acres.”
Lower’s amendment allows property owners to request a zoning change through the city to avoid fines.