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Voters to decide: Raise Killeen City Council members' pay by $900 per month? Increase their terms?

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Posted at 7:09 AM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 08:52:17-04

The Killeen City Council approved a proposal — if voters agree — that would bump council members' pay to 10 times more than what they're paid now.

The decision to ask voters to hike council members' stipends was made during a meeting this week.

The proposed raise would boost council members' pay from $100 to $1,000 per month and the mayor’s pay from $200 to $1,500 per month.

It wasn't immediately clear when the measure would be put on the ballot and go before voters.

Killeen City Councilwoman Mellisa Brown, who voted against the proposal, said once the verbiage is on the ballot, it can’t be changed.

Brown said the proposal is too soon to consider.

“I personally would like to see us poll the citizens and do a comparison of cities with a similar size to us before we set that,” Brown said.

If voters disapprove, they won’t be able to ask for another raise for the next two years, Brown said.

The proposed council pay hike is something, Councilman Ken Wilkerson said, that is long overdue.

“A stipend of $100 is just not efficient enough to pay for the different expenditures we put out of pocket,” Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson said the money would pay for gas, vehicle maintenance and time used to work for the city.

“We had a meeting last night from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. We have another meeting tonight at that same time," Wilkerson said. "There are KTMPO meetings, there are committee meetings we have to attend. There’s a meeting I have tomorrow and that then Thursday we have another meeting at 5 p.m. at Fort Hood."

Wilkerson said most Council members have full-time jobs and families and they also meet with several citizens.

Council members also approved the increase their term limits from two to three years, which Brown also believes is a rushed call.

“If we go to a three-year term, state law says we have to go to a majority vote I have never seen an at-large council member get 50% of the vote or more so we would have to go to three individual at-large seats and name them 1,2 and 3,” said Brown.

Brown said they’d have to decide on staggering the votes, paying for money for elections and having more runoff elections.

Wilkerson, who is not running for re-election, thinks otherwise.

“There’s a lot of things in there that will shape the face of future councils. To allow them to have authority and power to do the things they need to do to make a positive change here in Killeen,” said Wilkerson.

Wilkerson says the three-year term limit will give council members more time to learn the position and work on their projects and plans to enhance the city.

All of the measures approved for the charter review are not set in stone.

Killeen voters will get the chance to make any real changes to the city charter in the city election in May.