LOCAL GOVERNMENT

The Killeen City Council held the first of two official budget hearings as part of its regular meeting Tuesday, completing the hearing in a record 5.4 seconds.

Mayor Jose Segarra opened the floor to citizen comments regarding the proposed fiscal year 2022 budget, closing it moments later as a ringing silence spoke for the community.

The $244 million budget, if passed, would allocate tens of millions of dollars for street maintenance and reconstruction, create a wealth of new programs including a new ambulance crew and rental inspection unit, and increase the minimum wage for public safety officers to $13.47.

Costs to residents for the new budget come out to an increase of around $154 a year for the average homeowner. This number includes an average homestead assumption of around $150,000, and the proposed property tax rate of 70.56 cents per $100 valuation.

To maintain virtually the same property taxes as FY 2021, the council would need to adopt a tax rate of approximately 67.13 cents.

So far, there has been no formal complaint to the council regarding the increase in utility fees and property taxes.

The budget forum last Wednesday had a total turnout of around three residents, with the only spoken criticism of the budget given by Leo Gukeisen, who was wary of the creation of the new multifamily rental inspection unit team.

Council members have been supportive of the budget so far, contesting only the street maintenance fee and associated $60 million bond issue proposal.

The council will, however, get a second look at the budget proposal in its next budget workshop, which is scheduled for Aug. 28, the last Tuesday of the month.

In a confusing series of motions, Councilwoman Mellisa Brown moved to set a Saturday meeting date of Aug. 28, which was seconded by Nash-King, but after brief deliberation, Councilman Ken Wilkerson made a motion to hold the meeting on Aug. 31, after which Nash-King rescinded her second. Councilman Robert Williams then offered a second to Brown's original motion after which council voted and Brown's motion passed.

jdowling@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7552

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