To the Editor:
The most important thing a city does is provide water for citizens, followed closely by sewer and solid waste. Instead we have over 60 percent of the budget going to public safety.
This statement is made not to say that the public safety is not important; I believe it is. The problem lies in the bald fact that if there is no water, there is no public safety. In fact, there will be no city to be safe in!
The city has initiated a solid plan to get water from a new plant on Stillhouse Hollow Lake and is now hiring someone to tell us how to get this future water to the city itself.
We are seeing great steps taken to improve the water treatment plant, which, taken with the new source of water, will set Killeen on a good footing for the future.
Unfortunately, the city has been slow to recognize the threat to the south. We often hear that the future growth of Killeen is going to occur in the much-ballyhooed southern corridor.
The problem lies in the failure of Killeen to address the collapse of the Chisholm Trail water system.
Georgetown was very proactive, scooped them up and now is very close to having a lock on the southern corridor water. This is going to make expansion to the south very tricky.
The old Chisholm Trail water delivery system includes much of southern Bell County, exactly in the path of the great southern expansion plans of Killeen. Anyone who thinks Georgetown politicians are going to prioritize water for southern Bell citizens, who cannot vote for them, over their own interests are living in a dream world.
The citizens of Killeen need forward-thinking council members who can balance a checkbook and are not beholden to special interests and big unions.
We need individuals who understand that when you borrow money (bonds) to pay for everyday city maintenance functions such as streets, sewers, you are not being a good steward of the citizens’ money.
When you transfer money from Solid Waste to fund the General Fund or when you “find” $5 million you did not know you had, I suspect someone is not doing their job. The concept of how to fix the city’s financial problems is not difficult. Spend less than you earn and save for those inevitable unforeseen emergencies! The problem comes with the execution.
Citizens should realize that a bond is a debt. A debt that the citizens will pay, not the politicians who may be long gone! It took us quite a while to get into this mess and it may take us a while to get out.
James ‘Jack’ Ralston