pro tem

Bell County Chief appraiser Billy White and deputy chief Tammy Hubnik clarify on an exemption asked by an audience member

Killeen Mayor Pro Tem Debbie Nash-King held a town hall meeting Thursday night at Anderson Chapel A.M.E. Church.

The subject of the meeting concerned tax appraisals, but Nash-King also made sure to let residents know her concerns when it came to certain changes being proposed in the Killeen City Council’s charter review — both of which she voted against recently.

One of the proposed charter changes would increase council members’ compensation from the current $100 per month to $1,000 monthly. The mayor would receive $1,500, up from the current $150.

Nash-King talked about how she felt uncomfortable with the council members getting pay raises without there being a vote on the raises.

“You, the resident, are our boss and I feel that you should have the right to decide on how much we get on our raises. Whether it be 500 dollars or a 1,000 dollars, you should be able to decide what you feel is right,” Nash-King said to the crowd of about 30 people.

Another proposed charter change would give the council oversight over firing and disciplining city department heads.

Nash-King mentioned that it isn’t the right of the city council to take on the responsibilities of the city manager and fire department heads.

“We just do not have the time to do that. We are not the city manager,” she said.

Nash-King also stressed the importance of residents taking a part in the community and inviting them to come out to a public forum on the city charter that is being held on Dec. 13. Changes to the charter will go to the voters in May.

After Nash-King was finished speaking, the meeting’s special guest, Bell County’s chief tax appraiser, Billy White, took the floor to give a presentation on the basics of district property appraisals.

“My duty as the chief appraiser is to look at property tax and determine eligibility with tax exemptions and of course, certifying an appraisal,” White said.

During the presentation, White described what appraisals were and how they work.

White also showed that in the Bell County area, home sales were skyrocketing in 2021, with the exception of February, due to the winter storm.

White also showed the audience about qualifying for tax exemptions when it comes to their households — these exemptions ranging from being 65 years or older, being disabled or being a disabled veteran. Another exemption was agricultural land.

After White was done presenting, the audience took to the floor to ask questions.

One audience member was wondering about the tax delinquencies of the Killeen Independent School District.

“Things such as KISD not paying property tax, how is that collected? Does this fall under our responsibility despite the property owner not paying their taxes?” the audience member asked with Marvin Rainwater, a KISD school board member, sitting only a few feet away from her.

White responded that late fees are established with the property owner but if these bills are not paid, it is sent over to the appraisal district’s attorneys in order to collect the money that is owed.

At the end, Nash-King thanked residents for coming out and again stressed her concerns on the potential pay raises for council members.

tcooper@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7553 

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Alvin

Copy: “You, the resident, are our boss and I feel that you should have the right to decide on how much we get on our raises. Whether it be 500 dollars or a 1,000 dollars, you should be able to decide what you feel is right,” Nash-King said to the crowd of about 30 people.' End of copy.

I just don't know how you can stand up there and with a stone face say something like that especially when you voted to raise our 'contribution to the roads Fee from $1.70.month/water meter' and you voted to authorize the 'bond of $24 million dollars which affects the pocket books of each and every citizen of this city', then you can stand up there and say the words you just uttered about 'you don't think it is right for a city council to vote themselves a raise without the citizens approval.

Where is the 'approval' for anything, or to say it differently, 'where is the approval for everything'. Is that not the germane question? Is it not the question. 'to be or not to be', is that not the question? Are we a collection of individuals who have rights and the freedoms in which we are free to judge for ourselves the right to experience the freedom of choice as to who we are and what we want the future of our children to be and that is not a choice for you to make. But you just voted

Forms of government:

Section 2. The municipal government provided by this charter shall be known as the “council-manager government.” Pursuant to it's provisions and subject only to the limitations imposed by the state constitution and this city charter, all powers of the city shall be vested in an elective council, hereinafter referred to as “the council,” which shall enact local legislation, adopt budgets, determine policies and employ the city manager, who shall execute the laws and administer the government of the city. All powers of the city shall be exercised in the manner prescribed by the charter, or in the manner be not prescribed, then in such manner as prescribed by ordinance.

This then describes the way this city is to be 'vetted' and in simple terms, 'investigate (someone) thoroughly, especially in order to ensure that they are suitable for a job requiring secrecy, loyalty, or trustworthiness.' Do we now have such people? Do we now have such people as to bring before this city government people of such caliber as to have these people sit in judgment of the operation of this city. I venture to say, and this is my own personal opinion, that they are not the appropriate ones to say yea or nay as evidenced by the past subject matter; IE: the bringing about the rise in monetary evidence of passing the vote from $1.70/month/water meter, or the passing of the vote to initiate a $24 million dollar bond in which the streets and roads are to be repaired, and then there is always the upcoming vote of attesting, to certify, to demonstrate, etc. to all the power that they maintain among themselves to have the power to 'vote themselves a raise by whatever amount they deem necessary'. Those are the powers of the select 7 city council as determined by a city charter that was formulated in 1949.

But I ask again, what were the original powers that were assigned as per city charter of said date? What were the conditions of said city charter with respect to the citizens themselves having monetary powers that would say that 'in the event of, and with respect to moving this city forward, or in the event of any monies that are to be put forward the city council is hereby authorized, by the citizens vote in accordance with the bylaws of the city charter to proceed.

When did that vote commence to give them the authority to suppress the citizens vote in all monetary items and give the city council solely that authority. This I have been asking for and this I have been denied.

Copy: “My duty as the chief appraiser is to look at property tax and determine eligibility with tax exemptions and of course, certifying an appraisal,” White said.

White also showed the audience about qualifying for tax exemptions when it comes to their households — these exemptions ranging from being 65 years or older, being disabled or being a disabled veteran. Another exemption was agricultural land.' End of copy.

I as a person that is over the age of 65, a person that has previously applied for a 'homestead exemption, and we just recently were notified that our appraisal on our home was $95,000.00. Where do you get the appraised value of this property to be of such worth when the above mentioned exemptions are applied and to what are these exemptions applied.

Again I ask, if the city collects taxes from citizens then why does the city apply these taxes in apportionment to the city budget? Where is the amount that should be allocated to streets and road maintenance, but instead they produce a Fee wherein they, the city council take it upon themselves to seek money from the citizen to the tune now at a level of $10.00/month/water meter, and not only that they vote in accord to grant to the city manager a sum of $24 million dollars to be used by the city manager for street and road maintenance. Now it was said by the city manager that the sum for street and road maintenance was in fact $110 million, that sum has been steadily increasing over the years, so what is to be done with the paltry sum of $24 million dollars and the $10.00/month/water meter as this, in effect, does not equate to $110 million dollars. Seems like this city is evading the question once again and this council is not up to solving this question.

So it seems that we have but another delima that does not seem to be solveable.

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