LOCAL GOVERNMENT

As part of a charter review process that began in May, the Killeen City Council discussed articles V through VIII on Monday, completing its first pass-through of the city's charter.

The meeting was run by Mayor Pro Tem Debbie Nash-King. Mayor Jose Segarra was not present.

The first recommended change came from city staff, and would add a clause to the charter excusing the City Council from holding a public forum if the relevant item would not result in an increase in expenditures.

Councilwoman Mellisa Brown, speaking in favor of the original language, stated that no harm comes to the City Council by holding a public forum.

Councilman Rick Williams, however, disagreed.

“We are not talking about adding something that will be monumental or something significant that would change how the city would work. I do not see the necessity for us to have a meeting for something that is administrative in nature,” Williams said.

“We don’t know what’s going to be monumental … it’s there as an option,” Brown said.

The City Council voted in favor of the proposal to change the requirement in a 6-1 vote, with Brown casting the opposing vote.

Another administrative proposal would make it so the city would no longer be required to send a copy of its budget to the Texas Comptroller’s office in Austin.

“I’m told that, when we send it to the comptroller, he doesn’t do anything with it anyway,” Director of Planning Wallis Meshier said.

Additionally, Meshier recommended that the city remove language within its charter that allows it to secure bonds and debt issues with physical properties.

A healthy debate was held regarding the responsibility of the Director of Finance. While Brown requested that Article VII of the city charter be amended to require the director to oversee the finances of the Public Facilities Corporation, Councilman Ken Wilkerson disagreed with the change in a back and forth that culminated with the death of Brown’s motion to add the proposed language.

“I just don’t think that this is the mechanism to accomplish what you’re trying to do,” he said.

Another proposal from Brown would have allowed departments to save any unused funds into a rollover account moving into the new budget cycle.

However, City Manager Kent Cagle said the proposal was a “bad practice” that would make Killeen “unique” among its peers.

Additionally, he said that the issue was not a charter issue, but a management one.

Brown attempted to make a motion of direction for staff to bring back options for implementation, but it failed to receive a second.

The City Council will continue to review the city charter on a weekly basis, with a public forum scheduled for Dec. 13.

jdowling@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7552

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(1) comment

Alvin

Copy: 'The first recommended change came from city staff, and would add a clause to the charter excusing the City Council from holding a public forum if the relevant item would not result in an increase in expenditures.

Councilwoman Mellisa Brown, speaking in favor of the original language, stated that no harm comes to the City Council by holding a public forum.

Councilman Rick Williams, however, disagreed.

“We are not talking about adding something that will be monumental or something significant that would change how the city would work. I do not see the necessity for us to have a meeting for something that is administrative in nature,” Williams said.' End of copy

In the first paragraph, it states, according to this newspaper, that, and I copy: ' 'The first recommended change came from city staff, and would add a clause to the charter excusing the City Council from holding a public forum if the relevant item would not result in an increase in expenditures', does this then mean that 'In all cases of expenditure, that the city has the obligation to first produce a vote wherein the citizen has to vote on all expenditures?

I have questioned this extensively as the last city manager once put a note attached to one of my letters to the city manager stating, and I paraphrase here, 'the citizen is always in control of matters where money is involved', but it was separated by a coma saying just the opposite, that the city council was to run the railroad in all cases. I questioned this asking where was the vote taken, as to language that purveyed this right of acquiescence, on what date did this vote occur, and by what relative vote did the citizen 'give to the city council the right to vote in all accords on all measures in lieu of the citizens right to 'cast their own vote'. I had asked for this review, in writing, of this vote. All I received was a blank. Now this comes up again with a dissenting statement by Councilman Rick Williams that:

Copy: 'Councilman Rick Williams, however, disagreed.

“We are not talking about adding something that will be monumental or something significant that would change how the city would work. I do not see the necessity for us to have a meeting for something that is administrative in nature,” Williams said.' End of copy.

Now this has been brought up a number of times, the last being, ' I do not see the necessity for us to have a meeting for something that is administrative in nature,” Williams said'. But is it something that is administrative in nature as the terminology used just before, and I copy: 'The first recommended change came from city staff, and would add a clause to the charter excusing the City Council from holding a public forum if the relevant item would not result in an increase in expenditures.' This then is not just an administrative function but a dollars and cents function relative to 'spending the citizens money without their approval, and that is something that I have been clamoring for for years. This council does not have the right to spend the citizens money without the citizens approval.

Abstract from Killeen, Texas:

Copy: The adoption of the City Charter in 1949 established the council-manager form of government that the City of Killeen still operates under today. The mayor, Jose L. Segarra, is the city’s chief elected officer, but he has no administrative power. He does, however, preside over the city’s seven-member City Council, which sets all policy.'

But again, by what right does this city council have the authority to 'set all policy' including the spending of monetary funds which I'm inclined to believe belongs to the citizen who has to give the on a one by one vote and that vote belongs to the citizen.

So I ask once again that if such a vote was conducted, what were the results of that vote and what was the verbiage that was given to the voter in which he was given to vote on. Would you please present to the citizens the actual ballot that was presented and the actual count of that ballot or may we say that if not presented, then the verbiage that is presented here, that:

Copy: 'The first recommended change came from city staff, and would add a clause to the charter excusing the City Council from holding a public forum if the relevant item would not result in an increase in expenditures.' End of copy.

This, I believe, should remain as is stating that 'all increases regardless of the relevancy should be subject to a forum'. We now see why the previous council waited for 8 long years then put to a vote what was labled 'the Elevated Water Storage Tank Project' when it was not the simple matter of this project but 5 other projects combined with a price tag of #22 million dollars. That it seems would be the result of having a city council seeming to withhold information from the public and it should not be so.

Copy: 'The City Council voted in favor of the proposal to change the requirement in a 6-1 vote, with Brown casting the opposing vote.' End of copy.

This is your result when the city council performs in a dictatorial fashion, the city once again gets scr*wed.

And so it goes with a city council acting in that fashion.

Copy: 'Another proposal from Brown would have allowed departments to save any unused funds into a rollover account moving into the new budget cycle.

However, City Manager Kent Cagle said the proposal was a “bad practice” that would make Killeen “unique” among its peers.' End of copy.

So we go with a General fund that is like a revolving door that moves funds from hither to yon with no semblance of record keep as to what is in each fund so that one can 'borrow' from each fund with accurate balance sheet information. Yes Mr. City Manager, yo fight to keep your inept record keeping practices instead of making Killeen, Texas 'unique and forthright' with balance sheets that incorporate good and proper practices.

Copy: 'Additionally, Meshier recommended that the city remove language within its charter that allows it to secure bonds and debt issues with physical properties.

A healthy debate was held regarding the responsibility of the Director of Finance. While Brown requested that Article VII of the city charter be amended to require the director to oversee the finances of the Public Facilities Corporation, Councilman Ken Wilkerson disagreed with the change in a back and forth that culminated with the death of Brown’s motion to add the proposed language.

“I just don’t think that this is the mechanism to accomplish what you’re trying to do,” he said.' End of copy.

Again, what is the city of Killeen, Texas but one that is held by the citizens who 'own this city' so nothing should be conveyed without it going before the citizen. So I disagree with Mesmer in wanting to change language that would allow the indebtedness to secure bonds and debt issues with physical properties. This I would vote no on and so should the city council.

Copy: 'Another proposal from Brown would have allowed departments to save any unused funds into a rollover account moving into the new budget cycle.' End of copy.

This I agree with, lets not use 2 different sets of books by which this city is ran,

As I see it, it is preferable to make a ruse out of this city management, as in the case of the current city water failure so as to 'hide it in the brush' so we don't and can't talk about it and this city council has and is doing it so well.

Lets go back to letting the citizens have control of our budgeting process and in all matters where the expenditure of the citizens personal funds are required for a vote that will enable this council to proceed or deny any and all funds. Then we will have a city that enables the words; 'We the People' to stand for what it was meant.

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