By Jacqueline Brown

Killeen Daily Herald

COPPERAS COVE The Copperas Cove Fire Depart-ment is requesting a dramatic increase in ambulance fees for the 2005-06 fiscal year.

We just want to remain competitive and try to get reimbursed as much as possible, said Chief Dennis Haas.

The budget proposal would increase ambulance rates an average of $220 plus mileage, which means basic life support service from downtown Copperas Cove to Metroplex Hospital in Killeen would increase from $365 to $560.

City Manager Steven Alexander said the city budgeted a revenue increase of $75,000 based on the fee adjustments, so any changes would force the city to re-evaluate its expenditures.

Haas said Copperas Cove currently has the lowest fee schedule in the region.

The projected revenue could help combat the $71,000 increase in fuel and oil expenditures expected by the city. The police department alone expects to spend $37,500 more on fuel than it did in the 2004-05 fiscal year.

Salaries and benefits are expected to increase for most City of Copperas Cove employees. That is, all except one.

City Planner/Chief Building Inspector David Lilley could receive a significant pay cut because of a new stand-alone city planner position.

There will be some adjustments to pay, Alexander said. There is a distinct and definite change in the position.

Alexander explained that there used to be two separate positions in Copperas Cove.

At one time, we didnt have any growth, said Council Member Ray Don Clayton.

Alexander said with the recent increase in growth for the city, Lilleys work load has become increasingly difficult.

From time to time, reorganizations take place, Alexander said. We are at a point where we need a professional planner on staff.

Instead of dealing with Alexander directly, if the council approves the proposal, Lilleys position will fall beneath that of the city planner.

Lilley was not present at the meeting.

Council Member Fred Harris said he would like to talk separately about what the ramifications may be for splitting the position because it is a personnel issue.

Contact Jacqueline Brown at

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