By Sarah Chacko
Killeen Daily Herald
Council members stood silently in the back foyer of City Hall Tuesday as one of their fellow councilmen announced his resignation.
Councilman Dan Corbin said publicly that he will be stepping down from his Ward 1 position after the Sept. 13 meeting at which the council plans to adopt the city budget to declare his candidacy for the Texas House District 54 seat.
In good conscience, I could not abandon the budget process, he said.
Corbin joined the council in 2003 and said he has enjoyed his time making a difference in Killeen. His influence has helped construct a five-year financial plan (that works), in-creased the budgets emphasis on public safety and changed the citys outlook on its own appearance, he said.
Supreme Court and Texas state laws led Corbin to resign months before filing to avoid conflicts of interest and overlapping terms. His council term will end in May 2007. If he wins the state seat, that term would start in January 2007.
Since there will be only one open seat, the council can appoint someone to finish Corbins term.
Councilman Tim Hancock, teasingly referred to as Corbins opposite, said the announcement came as somewhat of a surprise.
He will be missed, he said. He offered a lot of input, asked a lot of questions ... he was thorough.
With the budgets end in sight, it is good that Corbin, one of the most watchful eyes on the budget, stayed to see it through, Hancock said.
Hopefully it wont be long before a replacement arrives, he said, but the council will continue to function.
In other business, the council approved increases in the maximum rates charged by taxicabs operating in the city of Killeen.
As gas prices have in-creased, the Copperas Cove and Killeen cab companies requested an increase in fares.
For the first one-tenth mile, the rate was raised from $1.50 to $2. Each additional one-tenth mile was raised from 13.5 cents to 25 cents.
Each hour of wait time was raised from $18 to $22. The minimum fare per trip was raised from $3 to $4.
Attorney Mary Wiley said there had been a 48-percent increase in retail fuel from 2000 to 2004 alone, as well as a cost of living increase.
What we are requesting is economically feasible and, more importantly, what similar cities are doing, she said.
Council members ex-pressed interest in wanting to apply a fuel surcharge that could fluctuate with the fuel prices, but the consensus vote resulted in a tie. Mayor Maureen Jouett broke the tie and voted on the rate change, saying that the rate hasnt been adjusted since 2000.
Clarence Page, an employee at Cove Taxi, said drivers are spending as much as 68 percent of their profit to buy fuel. With the increase, it will go down to about 40 percent.
Itll help them in the long run, he said.
Contact Sarah Chacko at firstname.lastname@example.org