Killeen City Council members met in a special session Saturday to discuss the Comprehensive Plan and to prepare for the fiscal year 2023 budget.
City Manager Kent Cagle and Assistant City Manager Danielle Singh addressed the full council and provided each with a bound presentation. It outlined issues they will tackle in preparation for the upcoming fiscal year and the Killeen Comprehensive Plan, which is due for approval later this year
Killeen’s identity statement reads:
“We value diversity, safety, family and service. We respect our citizens, military and institutional partners and we aspire to bring all of us together to make Killeen incrementally better for everyone, every day.”
To that end, the outline provided six “big ideas” which categorize the issues the council will take on in the new fiscal year, which begins this fall. These categories included a vibrant downtown, an efficient mobility system, neighborhoods not subdivisions, local business ecosystem, positive culture and environment and resource stewardship and fiscally responsible growth.
“This presentation is a sincere effort to allow us to work together better,” Cagle said. “Success could be measured better by accomplishing the ‘little’ things that need attention, rather than one ‘great big’ thing which could go wrong or take too long.”
Singh pointed out that council members had a good rapport with their constituents and commended the group on the diversity of their concerns.
“This has worked better here than any place I’ve ever been before,” Singh said. “It is exciting to see the way you all use social messaging platforms, even Zoom calls.”
Councilman Rick Williams said community input is important.
“We need to get input from residents in order to form a list of projects which fit our mission,” he said. “A citywide survey should be conducted to see where we need to go.”
Later, Cagle asked council members to write down goals which they thought needed to be addressed by the city’s Comprehensive Plan.
“Try to determine which of the six ‘big ideas’ your one- to two-year goals would fall into,” Cagle said.
As council members began writing, they talked about ideas across the table which made for some collaborative thought and discussion.
Councilwoman Mellisa Brown mentioned more bridges for pedestrians.
“When we are talking about mobility systems, foot bridges over major roads would cut down on car and pedestrian accidents,” she said.
Other recommendations included placing neighborhood police sub-stations or store fronts for residents in many areas of town. Plans to revisit curbside recycling efforts were suggested.
Council members seemed to agree that in order to diversify and develop the downtown Killeen area, an economic development director specifically tasked with focusing on the downtown area might be an answer.
The majority agreed that more civic events could help grow a revitalization effort to address the many vacant buildings in the downtown area.
“We need to have more town hall meetings, more events where citizens could gather to promote a positive culture,” Councilman Ken Wilkerson said.