By Lisa Soule
Killeen Daily Herald
Today may be decision time for Killeen City Council members as they consider whether to look elsewhere for garbage pickup.
The regular council meeting starts at 6 p.m. and a workshop begins at 4 p.m. in City Hall.
With about $9 million of solid waste capital improvement projects on the table, Councilman Dick Young said now is a good time to consider outsourcing the job.
The idea is likely to face opposition.
Two years ago, Killeen paid a consultant $60,000 to study the citys solid waste operations. The consultants report recommended keeping the citys solid waste collections in house.
Weve already done this drill, said Councilman Fred Latham, referencing the consultants study. I havent seen anything that makes me believe (outsourcing) may be any cheaper.
Latham said he plans to vote against the measure. I think its wasting time and money.
Latham said he was surprised the solid waste committee had recommended the plan to seek outside proposals. They havent proven anything. They are just hoping.
But Young, a member of the solid waste committee, said he doesnt see a downside to issuing the proposals just to see what the cost of outsourcing might be.
Weve never looked, Young said. It doesnt hurt anything to look.
About half the cities nationwide outsource some or all of their garbage services, Young said. In Texas, many that do find their rates are cheaper.
Young said looking outside is not a question about how the city or its employees are doing business.
I just want to make sure, before we spend $9.2 million, plus $2 million for new vehicles, Young said. I just think some sanity ought to take over before we spend this much money.
Although developing the requests for proposals will not pose any direct fiscal impact, the city manager noted, in a memo to the council, the groups timeline and direction may create significant fiscal and operational issues if the capital improvement program is deferred.
Councilman Ernest Wilkerson said he has some questions for the committee before he decides how he will vote on the issue.
During the presession workshop, the council is set to discuss the process by which a council member places items on the agenda.
In another memo to the council, City Manager David Blackburn said that while any single elected official may request an item for the agenda, historical practice has been to first discuss items in a workshop before they move to the regular agenda.
In a previous workshop, Mayor Pro Tem Tim Hancock questioned the protocol and asked the council to consider requiring a four-member consensus to place an item on the agenda.
Wilkerson said he was not in agreement with the request.
I think any council member should be able to bring any item they choose to the table. Protocol is already in place, it just seemed unfair for awhile, Wilkerson said.
I dont think anyones voice should be stifled or limited. We were all elected by the citizens, and that would be limiting the citizens voice.
The council is also set to discuss an abortion ordinance in closed session.
Contact Lisa Soule at email@example.com