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James “Kent” Cagle

It’s been one month since James “Kent” Cagle took the helm as Killeen’s new city manager.

Cagle, 58, replaced former City Manager Ron Olson, who retired Oct. 1, 2019, after more than 40 years of city management in various cities, including Killeen.

Cagle was selected in November out of a total 29 nationwide candidates. His official start date was Dec. 3.

Since 1987, the Tulia, Texas, native has worked in local government — beginning his city management career in January 2001.

Cagle said his reception in Killeen has been a warm one, and he enjoyed “getting to know them (department heads).” The proud Texas Tech Red Raiders fan also said there were no surprises when he came to Killeen as he did “extensive research.”

He also added that during his time as city manager “we will deliver a balanced budget.”

“I will be engaging city council and staff very soon to help establish priorities. I know we have a very sizeable list of issues that require more resources than are available, so we will do our best to prioritize and make the best use of the funds that we have,” Cagle said.

When asked if he’d set any goals for his first year as city manager Cagle said two issues “come to mind immediately.”

HOMELESSNESS

Killeen’s homelessness needs came to light in the summer of 2019 when the local shelter closed down for about three months due to financial issues.

The nonprofit shelter closed temporarily May 18 after a grant for $123,000 was discontinued and an Emergency Solutions Grant for $93,500 was cut to $51,273.

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Killeen City Manager James "Kent" Cagle talks to a attendee before a council meeting in November.

In June, a slew of camping tents were pitched in front of Friends in Crisis homeless shelter in downtown Killeen. It was dubbed “Tent City.”

Killeen area residents helped bring food, water and portable sanitary facilities to the encampment. Some people donated money.

The shelter raised enough funds to reopen in July.

Today, the shelter remains open but there are still signs of homelessness in Killeen, mainly downtown.

Cagle said he would like to see the community come together and deal with the homeless situation.

“This can’t be just a top down government funded solution, city government can be a partner, but the solution must be community based,” Cagle said. “Downtown should be a significant revenue generator for the city, and it will continue to decline unless the homeless situation is addressed.”

GROWTH

Cagle is aware of the need to pay for growth in Killeen.

The city has experienced its share of growth in recent years with the current population being close to 150,000 — 10,000 more than five years ago. Projections by the Texas Water Development Board reflect that the number would top 238,000 by 2050.

Also on the rise is the demand for city services like water delivery, wastewater removal, roads and first responders.

Cagle said the city needs “to have a thorough discussion about growth, including the impacts it has on service level demands and infrastructure, so that we can plan and take deliberate actions to make Killeen what we want it to be in the future.”

Added Cagle: “Inside of City Hall, we have a great group of committed employees that work very hard for the City of Killeen. Outside of City Hall, I would say that we are a small city with big city problems, but without the big city resources to deal with those problems.”

Cagle said his strength to address these and other city issues is his experience in both fast growing and mature cities.

“While Killeen is experiencing rapid growth, it is also an older city in need of redevelopment. I have a successful track record in solving problems in both types of cities,” he added. “In the coming years, I look forward to helping Killeen solve its most pressing problems. The issues Killeen faces will take time to address, and I’m committed to being part of the long-term solutions.”

Monique Brand - Killeen Daily Herald

mbrand@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

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Staff Reporter

Monique 'Mo' Brand joined the Herald in May 2019. Before that, she covered border coverage and county government in Arizona. She also worked as a reporter in Kerrville, Los Angeles, and Norfolk Virginia. Monique grew up in Killeen.

(1) comment

Alvin

It's been quite a while since this newspaper has given me the opportunity to address the City Manager about what I think are major city government problems. So I will take this opportunity to speak directly with one faction of our city charter, the city manager himself.

I will start by addressing some of the comments.

Copy from the KDH: 'He also added that during his time as city manager “we will deliver a balanced budget.”

Continuation of copy: “I will be engaging city council and staff very soon to help establish priorities. I know we have a very sizeable list of issues that require more resources than are available, so we will do our best to prioritize and make the best use of the funds that we have,” Cagle said.'

Continuation of copy: 'When asked if he’d set any goals for his first year as city manager Cagle said two issues “come to mind immediately.”

Continuation of copy: ' Homelessness - “This can’t be just a top down government funded solution, city government can be a partner, but the solution must be community based,” Cagle said. “Downtown should be a significant revenue generator for the city, and it will continue to decline unless the homeless situation is addressed.”

Continuation of copy: 'Growth - The city has experienced its share of growth in recent years with the current population being close to 150,000 — 10,000 more than five years ago. Projections by the Texas Water Development Board reflect that the number would top 238,000 by 2050.'

Continuation of copy: 'Also on the rise is the demand for city services like water delivery, wastewater removal, roads and first responders.'

Continuation of copy: 'Cagle said the city needs “to have a thorough discussion about growth, including the impacts it has on service level demands and infrastructure, so that we can plan and take deliberate actions to make Killeen what we want it to be in the future.”

Continuation of copy:“While Killeen is experiencing rapid growth, it is also an older city in need of redevelopment. I have a successful track record in solving problems in both types of cities,” he added. “In the coming years, I look forward to helping Killeen solve its most pressing problems. The issues Killeen faces will take time to address, and I’m committed to being part of the long-term solutions.”

End of copy.

Starting with the first item, 'He also added that during his time as city manager “we will deliver a balanced budget.' Now I hope you won't start as your predecessors have, calling it a balanced budget when you no intent to go with an unbalanced budget IE: for instance pulling from the various components of the 'General' fund which has surplus funds such as the Utility water and waste water accounts that should reach into the millions, just to name one of these accounts. I would suggest that you instead get your division leaders, such as water and waste water, transportation and roadway maintenance, Police and fire department heads, parks, and all other division and directors of each to 'submit a general plan of activities including all costs that they would propose as necessary to keep their divisions operating, including all maintenance and upkeep that would be required from each department. This would include all provisional plans for any necessary new equipment and items that they forsee in any future development such as roads, bridges, underground piping and sewers including various sewer lift stations, walkways, police vehicles, fire vehicles, uniforms and safety equipment including armor, etc. that would be on the docket for inclusion during the next fiscal year beginning on October 1, 2020 and running through September 30, 2021. Totalize this result, including the amount from the water and sewer funds from the 'General' account and correlate it with the impending amount that you expect to be available from city taxes for the next year. If not sufficient available then you will have to work with your divisional heads to work out what can be done.

The next item: 'I will be engaging city council and staff very soon to help establish priorities. I know we have a very sizeable list of issues that require more resources than are available, so we will do our best to prioritize and make the best use of the funds that we have,” Cagle said.'

I do hope that when addressing city staff you impress on them to 'do a thorough job because they are going to have to live with the budget that each of them will be presenting, and as to the city council, they are expected to give a fair representation of just what they are voting on as they too will be expected to live within the budget they are to vote on.

The next item: 'When asked if he’d set any goals for his first year as city manager Cagle said two issues “come to mind immediately.”

Homelessness - “This can’t be just a top down government funded solution, city government can be a partner, but the solution must be community based,” Cagle said. “Downtown should be a significant revenue generator for the city, and it will continue to decline unless the homeless situation is addressed.”

And,

Growth - The city has experienced its share of growth in recent years with the current population being close to 150,000 — 10,000 more than five years ago. Projections by the Texas Water Development Board reflect that the number would top 238,000 by 2050.'

In the case of Homelessness, I hope you don't expect the citizens that are overburdened as it is to take on Homelessness. First, for the most part, Homelessness is self inflected so why would you expect the citizen to contribute to a case of 'self inflection'? To expect that 'the citizen should contribute is in essence Socialism, to pay by some to the upkeep of the many'. Is this what this country is expected to do? I, for my part, do not think so. If you want to 'take care of the Homeless then start a 'work for pay' program and make it part of the budget but don't expect the citizen to pay for it. And make it cost driven and make it a break even program.

In the case of Growth, You better come prepared with the Water Board for I shouldn't think that the projection of the last 6 years is going to be accurate, especially with the expected volume of sewage that will be flowing to the existing sewage treatment plant and the 'new 10 MGD from Stillhouse Hollow reservoir will be marginal at best'. So 'where is the new growth from the extensive builders housing development as to water and sewage going to come from if the citizens of Killeen, Texas revolt, and that's what might be coming' if this rampant development does not cease.

As to, 'Also on the rise is the demand for city services like water delivery, wastewater removal, roads and first responders.' Watch where you are spending money, as in the case of the citizens, that you proportionally spend funds that are equated to those who already live in this community to those that are coming into this community 'at a later date'. Don't degrade from those who live here now as to present something better to those who will arrive at a later date. And this includes 'water delivery, waste water removal, roads, and first responders. This city council , in my opinion, has been very lax at 'taking care of those who presently live here vs those who are yet to come'.

And I must say that in accordance with this subject, 'Cagle said the city needs “to have a thorough discussion about growth, including the impacts it has on service level demands and infrastructure, so that we can plan and take deliberate actions to make Killeen what we want it to be in the future.” This is very much what is needed as we have a simple majority, a 4 to 3 of the city council that does not include the wishes of the citizens of Killeen, Texas at all as to 'what is needed as to ' growth, including the impacts it has on service level demands and infrastructure' and they do not 'feel the need' to get the city involved in any discussion about 'deliberate actions' as they have their own 'hand picked committee's that they depend on when it comes to civic actions'.

And it is safe to say, “While Killeen is experiencing rapid growth, it is also an older city in need of redevelopment. I have a successful track record in solving problems in both types of cities,” he added. “In the coming years, I look forward to helping Killeen solve its most pressing problems. The issues Killeen faces will take time to address, and I’m committed to being part of the long-term solutions.” I, in my wildest dream, see any marked improvement in the 'older section of the city of Killeen, Texas as being a model of decorum. In my opinion, they are just wasting money on refurbishment of the old part of downtown Killeen, Texas. They are concentrating on 'building a bigger and newer city of Killeen, Texas. So you have your work cut out for you if you ever expect to 'revive' the older downtown part of Killeen, Texas.

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