After a pair of meetings were canceled Tuesday night, the Killeen City Council will convene next week to begin discussions on the annual budget for the fiscal year of 2022.
Meetings to introduce the budget and handle other topics were canceled Tuesday due to a lack of a quorum.
Councilmembers Nina Cobb, Debbie Nash-King, Jessica Gonzales and Ken Wilkerson were unable to attend, according to Killeen spokeswoman Hilary Shine. At least four voting council members are needed to have a legitimate quorum.
Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra, who became mayor in 2016, said this is the first time as mayor that a council meeting was canceled due to lack of a quorum. Segarra said three of the council members were going to chime in through Zoom, which doesn’t count towards a quorum.
However, even with the three members telecommuting, the council still had enough to proceed. The mayor said the cancellation was unexpected because one council member couldn’t attend due to an emergency.
City officials on Tuesday morning sent out a news release, saying the Tuesday night meetings were canceled, and the items that were on those agendas, including the introduction of the budget, will now be moved to next week with a start time of two hours earlier than usual.
The next council regular meeting will take place 3 p.m. July 13 in the usual location at City Hall in the council chambers.
Shine said Tuesday the cancellation will not delay the budget adoption deadline. The charter requires the budget to be adopted each year by Sept. 20, which will then take effect Oct. 1 and run until Sept. 30, 2022. Shine also said the council is scheduled to consider the budget adoption on Sept. 14.
Residents can find Killeen City Council agendas here: killeen.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx. The agendas are downloadable and printable.
2021 IN REVIEW
Killeen’s 2021 budget was $204.5 million, with an operating budget of $96.5 million. The council also voted to approve a lower tax rate. As of right now, the property tax rate stands at 73.3 cents per $100 valuation. It was formally adopted last year on Sept. 8.
Killeen’s population, according to 2019 U.S. Census estimates, is 157,603.
There’s no projected amount available to the public at the moment for the 2022 budget. However, the city is set to receive $29 million in COVID relief funds from the federal government.
City Manager Kent Cagle said, during a public forum held by Mayor Pro Tem Debbie Nash-King June 28, there will be a meeting to discuss how council will utilize that money in next year’s budget.
He also noted that the COVID funds couldn’t be allocated toward the city’s much-needed road repairs. Cagle had also mentioned a possible discussion to be had about tax and utility raises for the new fiscal year.
A draft of the 2022 budget is not available on the city’s website, but residents can find past and current budgets at killeentexas.gov/417/Budget
Bell County’s second largest city, Temple, is already underway with plans to hold public hearings on its proposed $216 million budget for fiscal year 2022.
Last fiscal year’s budget was $174 million, $41.8 million less than the newly proposed budget. There’s an estimated property tax rate of 64.25 cents, which is one cent less than the fiscal year 2021 tax rate.
Temple’s population, according to 2019 U.S. Census figures, is 78,439.
The Temple City Council will meet at 5 p.m. July 15 for a public hearing regarding the budget and proposed tax rate.
The second meeting will be held Aug. 13 before the council votes to approve the budget. Both meetings will be held at Temple City Hall, 2 North Main St.
The Killeen council was also scheduled to discuss Tuesday an appointment for a new executive director of communications. Shine is set to retire from the position effective Aug. 1. She has served in the role since 2001. Shine announced her retirement on April 1.
According to a staff report from the city of Killeen, Cagle has extended a conditional offer to Janell Ford for the position. Ford most recently served as a public affairs officer for the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. She has 20 years of journalism, communications and television news experience. Ford has worked for news stations NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox News.
If confirmed by the council, Ford would assume her new role on July 19. Her annual salary would be $105,000 with benefits and a $3,000 annual car allowance.