By Kevin M. Smith
Killeen Daily Herald
Killeen City Councilman Billy Workman said he feels the cards are stacked against him.
At Tuesday's meeting, the council approved 4-2 the city board and commission, subcommittees and ad hoc committee appointments. Workman and council member Claudia Brown voted against the appointments.
Workman protested the appointments, upset because he was taken off what he said were important committees and placed on "menial" committees.
Mayor Timothy Hancock, at last week's workshop, handed out his list of committee appointment recommendations. Workman wasabsent because he was escorting students on a trip to Killeen's sister city, Osan, Korea.
"I was not here to have a voice," Workman said.
Hancock said the council does not have to accept his recommendation.
Hancock's recommendation included putting Workman on the Animal Advisory Committee. Workman had also held a position on the Land Development Committee and Land Use Committee. Those committees were combined into one committee to include Larry Cole, Otis Evans and Juan Rivera on the new Land Use Committee.
Taking Workman off the land-related committees and putting him on the Animal Advisory Committee was the only change for Workman.
"I think this is a travesty," Workman said, noting he believes being taken off the Land Use Committee is a sign that developers run the city. "This is not in the best interest of the people."
Councilman Otis Evans made a motion to approve the mayor's recommendation with one change: That Councilman Juan Rivera sit on the Animal Advisory in place of Workman. That still did not please Workman. He said his seniority on the council gives him the right to choose committees over new council members. Workman was elected May 13, 2006, and sworn in May 23, 2006.
"This is not normal practice to take a senior member off a committee," Workman said, addressing
the audience. "Putting me on something that is menial is showing this council is more geared toward developers and not citizens."
Rivera asked to postpone the vote on the committees until the full council was present. Councilman Kenny Wells was absent at Tuesday's meeting.
"It is not this council's responsibility to hold up votes because someone is absent," Hancock said.
"I'm willing to live with the recommendations," Cole said. "There is business before the city ... delaying action on this would delay action on those committees."
The council approved Hancock's recommendation, with Evans' change, 4-2.
In other business:
The council received no comments in a public hearing to amend the 2005-09 consolidated strategic plan, reprogram the prior year funds for use in the 2007-08 program year and consider the Community Development Advisory Committee's recommendation for the proposed 2007-08 annual action plan. That includes allocating Community Development Block Grant and HOME Program funds.
CDBG is a federal grant program that has been in place since 1974 that is a neighborhood approach to improving physical, social and economic conditions within communities. The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development oversees the funds that are distributed to cities based on population. CDBG funds must benefit low- and moderate-income residents, aid in the prevention or elimination of blight or meet urgent community development needs.
Killeen will receive $967,866 for the 2007-08 program year and has $348,412 in funds from the prior year for a total of more than $1.3 million to dole out to local organizations.
The HOME Investment Partnership Program was created under Title II of the National Affordable Housing Act. It is to be used for homeowner purchase, rehabilitation or financing; to build or rehabilitate housing for rent or ownership; for demolition or improvement to develop non-luxury housing; and for tenant-based rental assistance or low-interest loans.
The city is receiving $455,179 in its allocation for 2007-08 and has $321,194 in funds from the prior year for a total of $776,373 to award to local organizations.
Following the public hearing, the council approved for the committee's recommendations to be published and will vote on an ordinance allocating the funds at the June 26 meeting.
The council reappointed Judge Gregory Simmons to the position of associate municipal court judge. Simmons was originally appointed Feb. 3, 2003. He was recalled to active duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On April 4, 2006, the council appointed Ursula Keen to temporarily replace Simmons. Simmons is back from Iraq and will resume his position today.
No residents commented in a public hearing for input on municipal services. A town hall meeting to get input from residents for the city's 2007-08 budget, which begins in October, will be at noon today at the Fire Training Center, 207 N. 28th St.
Contact Kevin M. Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7550