By Wendy Gragg
Killeen Daily Herald
The budget process heated up Tuesday at Killeen City Hall as the City Council entertained pitches for more than $6 million worth of "wish list" items from city departments.
Much of the FY 2006-07 budget requests – submitted this round by human resources, municipal courts, the finance department, fire department, community services, the golf course and the police department – seemed to be a reaction to the city's increasing population growth. Though the needs may have grown with the number of residents, the needs ultimately have to be reconciled with the city's fiscal reality.
"We kind of have to live within our means also," City Manager Connie Green said.
Green said department heads have submitted a total of $21.6 million in new program and service requests, but only $9 million of those requests made their way into the preliminary budget.
The Killeen Police Department submitted to the council a large list of unmet needs Tuesday. The list, totalling $2.8 million, included more than $300,000 for unfunded overtime, which, Chief Dennis Baldwin said, may take care of itself once more officers hit the streets.
Asked to pick other priorities, Baldwin said he would like to see the bilingual assignment pay come through ($25,688) as well as pay for officers who trained to be part of the Disturbance Control Unit ($20,550).
The Killeen Fire Department made requests for nearly $300,000 in unmet needs, which included three new positions as well as funding for radios.
The fire department also had an additional list, requesting $2.8 million in new vehicles and equipment.
The finance department listed about $495,000 worth of unmet needs, including $75,000 for the elderly transportation program, which was to get cut roughly in half next year.
The community services department asked for $112,000, which pays for a professional librarian, a custodian at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center and a parks principal secretary, among other things.
The human resources department listed about $71,000 in unmet needs, including a bilingual incentive pay program.
Municipal courts requested one unmet need be funded, an accounting clerk, for about $28,000.
The city's legal department listed no unmet needs.
The department presentations – Permits and Inspections, Public Information, City Wide Technology, Aviation, Public Works, and Emergency Management and Homeland Security – will continue July 25 at the afternoon workshop. The meeting following the workshop will include a public hearing on the budget.
Contact Wendy Gragg at firstname.lastname@example.org