Killeen City Councilmember Mellisa Brown is the only member who voted against a newly approved comprehensive plan for the city.
“The city has a lot of immediate financial needs,” Brown said by email on Thursday. “A contract with a consultant for almost $400,000 is a lot of money that could go toward those needs.
“Killeen has a history of paying for plans and then not adhering to them because of the way prior councils have voted. I don’t feel like this is the best use of our funds at this time.”
The project in question will be completed by Dallas-based Verdunity, Inc, at a cost of $349,140. A similar comprehensive plan was approved by the city in 2010 at a cost of $262,816, and was expected to last for 20 years, but so far as shown few tangible results.
Brown said she thinks a comprehensive plan is important, but takes issue with the method used with respect for the most recent one.
“It gives the city a map to follow for future growth and development plus how to use our budget most effectively,” she said. “We have a comprehensive plan and our internal departments have been working on plans that would ultimately be part of this process, and my understanding is that they are working based off the current plan. I believe a comprehensive plan is needed, but not at the expense to a consultant. We have very competent staff and city leadership who I fully believe could develop one internally with input from the community.”
When asked, Brown noted that as far as oversight of such a plan, there are no definite controls other than the votes of council members, and the council isn’t required to vote according to any plans.
Despite voting against it, Brown expressed optimism about the plan after its approval.
“I respect my peers on the city council, and the majority of the body feels like it is in the best interest of the city at this time,” she said. “What I will do now is make my best effort possible to make sure citizens have a say in the plan and that it is followed.
“Once it’s completed, I expect that it will include much-needed services and improvements to infrastructure and essential needs. My sincere hope is that it will include a grocery store for North Killeen.”