Two former Killeen councilmen are vying for the mayor’s post, and both believe their service in various capacities spanning more than a decade gives them an edge.
Scott Cosper and Richard “Dick” Young both served on the Killeen City Council and prior to that, each had experience serving on planning and zoning commissions.
Their opponent, Harold “Hal” Butchart, has never held an elected spot in city government or served on any municipal boards.
Cosper’s tenure in city government spans back to the mid-1990s, when he served on the city’s planning and zoning commission from 1996 to 2000. In 2000, he was elected to the council, on which he served until 2006. He returned to the council after being elected in 2008 and served as mayor pro tem until he was recalled in November 2011 along with four other council members.
“My entire career as a public servant has been directed toward our community, our soldiers and our children,” he said. “I have served in just about every capacity that there is.”
Cosper said through his tenure on the planning and zoning commission and the council, he’s familiar with the inner-workings of the city regarding ordinances in place and the annual budgeting process.
“I believe, absolutely, my experience interacting with state and federal legislators, with the (Federal Aviation Administration) and with the (Texas Department of Transportation) is experience that you can’t get anywhere else,” he said. “The only way you can get that (experience) is to roll up your sleeves, get busy and be involved and I am ready and prepared to work hard for our community and our region to make this great place better.”
In addition to serving on the planning and zoning commission and the council, Cosper has served on various boards, including the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance, the foundation board for Texas A&M University, the Association of the United States Army board of governors and the Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization policy board.
Young served seven years on the Harker Heights planning and zoning board and three terms on the Killeen City Council from 2001 to 2007. “We oversaw and budgeted nearly three-quarters of a billion of your tax dollars,” he said of his tenure on the council. “During those six budgets, I identified and purposed over $6 million in cuts that would not have affected service levels in the city. Approximately $2.3 million was cut, and during my time in office we actually cut taxes.”
Young said he chaired several committees, including the parks and recreation committee, the panel that designed the solid waste transfer station and the commercial landscaping committee. “I understand Killeen city government,” he said. “I am fully trained and prepared to lead our city forward, having learned from the past with a vision and plan for the future.”
Young said his “proven successful job creation” through his local business qualifies him for the city’s top-elected post.
“My proven successful job creation record over the last 44 years that has created or maintained hundreds of good paying jobs in privately owned small-business investment, overseeing millions of dollars in salaries and inventories without relying on city or federal government help uniquely qualifies me to be full-time mayor of Killeen,” he said. “Killeen voters and taxpayers can’t afford on-the-job training for the mayor’s job. Elected city experience counts. A lifetime of leadership counts and a proven job creation record counts.”
Butchart, a retired lieutenant colonel, said Cosper’s and Young’s prior service in city government is “a double-edged sword.”
“Having been on the council is a good thing, but having been on too long is another,” he said. “Between the two of them, it’s too long in city government.”
Butchart said he offers residents a different perspective. “I offer something new. (City government) hasn’t worn me down. I offer some new energy, some new ideas that just aren’t there with them.”
Butchart said his military service spanning more than three decades gives him a different vantage point.
“I bring the kind of things I’ve seen in other cities I’ve been stationed in,” he said. “I’ve seen the good and bad of governments in each of these places.
“Certainly, I have some ideas on how to use what I have seen in other places and bring them to Killeen. ”