By Lisa Soule
Killeen Daily Herald
Recent confusion and concern about how items come before the Killeen City Council may soon have council members examining their methods.
Councilman Tim Hancock on Tuesday called for a review of how action items are placed on the council agenda.
After the meeting, another councilman questioned the legality of the request.
In my opinion, it should be the same as calling a special meeting, Hancock said near the end of Tuesdays 4-hour workshop. It takes four of the seven council members or the mayor to call a special meeting.
If it gets defeated, fine, Hancock said, noting he was most interested that a discussion take place.
City Manager David Blackburn said he would appreciate some clarity on how items flow to the council agenda.
A lot of issues are being brought up that we should look at this, look at that, said Councilman Scott Cosper. We all want to look at ways to save the city money.
But Cosper noted that recent calls to change or review various programs and departments result in excessive work from city staff, only to fall by the wayside.
With a recent committee move to draft a request for proposals to consider outsourcing solid waste services, Cosper questioned what he called a major change in direction.
Its like trying to turn a battleship around in Lake Belton, Cosper said, noting that nobody had bothered to ask how much time and work would go into creating a proposal.
Blackburn said drafting the requests would be a labor-intensive process. Im certainly open to council advice, Blackburn said. If we do not want to start that process, I could save significant time, energy and work if that is not the council direction.
Cosper also made note of a $60,000 consultants study that recommended keeping the solid waste services in-house. Cosper asked Blackburn if he thought a private contractor could be found to do the job for less money than the city.
In my opinion, no, Blackburn said.
Councilman Eddie Vale, who chairs the solid waste committee, said there are 9 million reasons to look into privatizing solid waste.
Killeen has already paid about $400,000 in design, engineering and permit fees in anticipation of about $9 million worth of solid waste projects that are planned to take the citys program out about 25 years.
Why not look at other options on the table? Vale said. I believe there are other cities happy working with private entities.
Vale said if it would diminish services or increase the rate for customers, he would not be in favor of privatization.
Councilmen Dick Young and Dan Corbin and the assistant city attorney left Tuesdays workshop at 3 p.m. to attend a committee meeting of the animal advisory board.
Although Young didnt hear the discussion that surrounded Hancocks request, after the meeting, he questioned whether the conversation was legitimate because it strayed from the agenda.
When Assistant City Attorney Traci Briggs returned to the workshop with the councilmen, she advised the group not to get into a detailed discussion because they were supposed to be hearing a committee report.
When Hancock strayed from the solid waste committee topic, he said he had other issues that couldnt be brought up. However, he continued the conversation without objection.
Young said he thought the council workshop was supposed to end at 2 p.m.
If they want to go on and on and on, thats OK, Young said. But we should stay on the agenda. Someone in that room should have put an end to that discussion.
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