UPDATE: April 6 is the new date for the Killeen ISD candidates forum, sponsored by the Killeen Daily Herald.
Local taxpayers are paying for the cost of growth, both in roads and streets in the city and new schools for the school district.
The cost is one of many issues facing Killeen and Killeen school district residents and is one reason why residents should care about the May 2 election of three city council members and two school board members.
The Herald is sponsoring two candidate forums so the public can find out what candidates have to say on these and other issues.
The first of these forums is Monday and is with Killeen City Council candidates. The second forum is March 16, with Killeen Independent School District board candidates.
These forums are free to the public and are designed to help residents learn about the candidates’ priorities and opinions. Both forums will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and will be held at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, 3601 South W.S. Young Drive.
Residents have important issues before both groups of candidates.
In December 2019, the Killeen City Council, on a 4-3 vote, chose not to impose a one-time charge to developers and builders of new private projects to help pay for the infrastructure leading up to their private developments. That left Killeen property taxpayers continuing to foot the bill. Meanwhile, Killeen has a backlog of maintenance on older streets and began charging Killeen water customers a fee for work on existing streets.
Other issues concerning Killeen residents include a steady increase in crime. In 2020, Killeen has six reported homicides — three of which occurred in a span of two days.
In 2019, there were 16. In 2018, there were seven criminal homicides, according to police.
Also affecting an area of Killeen were two grocery stores closing one month apart. IGA Foodliner and H-E-B closed stores in north Killeen in August and September, respectively. As of Friday, no plans had been announced for a replacement grocer.
On the school district side is an issue on the May 2 ballot that would also affect taxpayers — $265 million bonds for new school and stadium construction. The ballot issue comes two years after voters approved $426 million in school bonds that taxpayers continue to fund.
If approved, the new bonds would pay for two new elementary schools, the rebuilding of Harker Heights and Peebles elementary schools, the renovation of Ellison High School and upgrades to the athletic stadiums at Shoemaker, Harker Heights and Ellison high schools.
The athletic stadiums will be voted on in a separate proposition for $56 million while the school projects will be in the first proposition for $209 million.
The Herald will continue its coverage of these and other important issues.
In addition to the forums and news stories, the Herald will have videotaped interviews with candidates at kdhnews.com/centerforpolitics and will publish an Election Guide that will be distributed in the Herald on April 19.
The Herald encourages the public to attend its two candidate forums. On Monday, Killeen City Council candidates will talk about city issues. The following Monday, March 16, the Killeen Independent School Board candidates will answer questions about school district issues. The events each begin at 6:30 p.m., end at 8 p.m. and will be held at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, 3601 South W.S. Young Drive. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Here is the format:
First, each candidate will have up to one minute to present an opening statement.
Then, Killeen Daily Herald journalists will ask a series of issue-oriented questions and each candidate has a minute to respond.
Because of the large number of City Council candidates, questions will be asked in two sets. The groups will be divided alphabetically. Group A will be asked one question, Group B will be asked a different question on the same topic. Then, the second question will be asked of Group B, then a different question on the same topic to Group A. All council candidates will be on the stage throughout the forum.
At the end of questioning, candidates may give one-minute closing statements.
Further information will be presented to council candidates at a 6 p.m. briefing next to the stage. Here are the main topics for the council forum:
- Impact fees
- The Killeen budget, financial problems and spending
- City services
Candidates and residents can find more information on all of these topics at kdhnews.com.
The KISD candidate forum will be March 16. Further information for KISD candidates will be emailed to them this week. More information on the topics for that forum will be in next Sunday’s paper.
OTHER POLITICAL COVERAGE
In addition to the forums, the Herald will present videos of candidates addressing questions about issue. Candidates should schedule videos with the newsroom. Videos will be recorded by appointment during specific hours — generally 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Request an appointment by emailing email@example.com and putting CANDIDATE VIDEO in the subject line. See more details in the box with this story.
The Herald also will publish an Election Guide. Questions will be emailed to candidates and responses are due April 3. The Guide is being compiled that week and will be distributed on April 19, the Sunday before early voting begins.
Candidates will be asked to address each question in 100 words or fewer. Answers that are too long will be cut. Answers need to fit into boxes in the Q&A matrix.
Questions will be emailed to candidates the week of March 23 and must be returned by April 3 to be included in the guide. Due to its design complexity, the guide is compiled and printed in advance of publication, so please note the April 3 deadline to respond.
Also in the guide, the Herald will run headshot photos of candidates. Candidates should make sure the Herald has their headshot photos that will be used with stories and in the Election Guide.
If candidates have not heard from the Herald, please email your email and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Herald Managing Editor Rose Fitzpatrick and Reporters Monique Brand and Hunter King contributed to this report.
If you go:
What: Killeen City Council candidate forum
When: 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 9, doors open at 6 p.m.
Where: Killeen Civic and Conference Center, 3601 South W.S. Young Drive.
Candidates: Elizabeth Blackstone, Mellisa Brown, Nina M. Cobb, Carla Escalante, Rosalyn “Roz” Finley, Leo J. Gukeisen, Tolly James Jr., Butch Menking, P. Juan Rivera, Edward Skinner, Kenny Wells, Ken Wilkerson, Rickey “Rick” Williams. Twelve of the 13 had confirmed their attendance by Saturday.
Important coverage dates
March 9 - Herald forum for Killeen City Council candidates
March 16 - Herald forum for KISD candidates
March 23 - Questions for the Election Guide will have been emailed to candidates
April 3 - Deadline for candidates to send responses for the guide, which is being produced that week.
April 19 - Election Guide is distributed in the Herald
April 2 - Last day to register to vote
April 20 - Early voting begins
April 28 - Early voting ends
May 2 - Election for city and school candidates
Appointments: Email email@example.com and put CANDIDATE VIDEO in the subject line. Candidates will be asked five questions about the election and local city or school board issues.
Appointment hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Herald. If a candidate is unable to come during those hours, the Herald will try to make an accommodation. For example, it might offer an evening session once or twice. Posting turnaround: All videos will be posted within two business days. If a video is shot on a Thursday, it might not be edited and posted until the following week.
Deadline: The deadline is April 16 to have a May 2 election video done.