About two dozen residents attended the Killeen budget forum Wednesday to give input as the city moves forward in planning for the upcoming fiscal year.
City Manager Glenn Morrison said it was the biggest turnout the city’s had at a budget forum in “a long time.”
“That really is encouraging to us as a staff,” he said. “What I’m really proud about is that we have a number of staff here.
“We have nine executive directors, department heads and support staff ... it’s just a really good turnout and I really appreciate staff being here. It means a lot
to me to have their support here.”
The 6 p.m. meeting was the first stage in the budget planning process in which city officials gather opinions from the public on how they think the city should spend its money in the 2015 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
Morrison said the city establishes “fence posts” when developing the budget to keep the budget on track.
The priorities include fiscal soundness in the existing tax rate, focus on the city’s mission and service levels, the alignment of programs and services with strategic plans, focus on people and focus on economic development.
Ten residents addressed issues, with the most widely requested attention being for the city’s two senior centers.
Several attendees asked for computer updates at the senior centers, the addition of Wi-Fi, recreation equipment for sports like pickle ball and volleyball and updates to some of the furniture and expanding the Bob Gilmore Senior Center.
Another hot topic was animal control.
Several residents asked the city to look at expanding the animal control facility to make it more efficient, increasing the number of officers and the facility’s operating hours.
Residents also requested that the city look into establishing a component to educate the public on ordinances and what to do if encountering a strange dog.
One resident asked the city to look at increasing Killeen Police Department patrols downtown and adding officers on bicycles to the area. After receiving input from residents, the city will form a draft budget, which it will present to the council July 8.
Morrison said the public will have several opportunities to comment on the budget during public hearings.
The budget document is scheduled for adoption Sept. 9.
Residents who were unable to attend the forum can email comments to email@example.com.