By Lisa Soule
Killeen Daily Herald
Most Killeen Charter Review Committee members Thursday were not inclined to set another public hearing after the poor attendance shown at four previously scheduled meetings.
"Seven people out of 106,000 attended?" Committee member Kathy Gilmore said of the prior hearings. "What is the purpose of another public hearing?"
Residents were no-shows at the first two public hearings. Seven showed for a third meeting and one for a fourth, although there weren't enough committee members at the last meeting to make a quorum.
The committee has been considering which recommendations should be made to the City Council for a charter amendment election in May. Some of the issues they have considered include single-member districting, adding more wards and whether the mayor should be allowed to vote in all matters before the council.
City Attorney Kathy Davis said she would poll committee members who were not at Thursday's meeting, but if one more person decided against an additional hearing, it would mean a simple majority of the group.
Committee Vice Chairman Jules Petit registered his disappointment.
"This is something I think is really important and we're going to blow it off," Petit said. "I get the feeling this is a foregone conclusion."
Other committee members said residents have had ample time and opportunities to make their voices heard. A comment form is available on the city's Web site, and hearings were held in each of the four wards.
"The meetings where we had people, it was the NAACP and LULAC," said Committee Member Richard Banta. "That's just two organizations. I just can't see having another one."
Committee Member Allen Cloud agreed.
"I just don't have a lot of confidence that people will come out," Cloud said.
Committee members also discussed whether they would be able to meet their own timeline.
Davis said that if the committee was having difficulties preparing its recommendations to the council in a three-month time frame, council members may also be crunched by the timeline.
The committee was aiming for a May 7 charter election.
"If you really feel you don't have enough time, I suggest you talk to them (the council) as soon as possible," Davis said.
Cloud expressed confidence that the job could be completed on time.
"I keep thinking about all the people in the community and the small turnout we've had," Cloud said. "I think we can wrap this up."
Cloud suggested moving through the matters at hand in the next meeting set for Jan. 6 and deciding what to recommend to the council.
"I haven't heard a clamoring for change," Cloud said. "We've had some good, responsible input. That tells me, that by and large, most didn't see enough need for change to come out."
Contact Lisa Soule at firstname.lastname@example.org