Killeen’s Mayor Pro Tem Debbie Nash-King held a town hall meeting at Anderson Chapel AME Church on Thursday evening.
The subject of the meeting was on tax assessments, but Nash-King also made sure residents share their concerns about certain proposed changes in the Killeen City Council’s charter review – which it had recently voted against.
One of the proposed amendments to the Articles of Association would increase council compensation from its current $ 100 per month to $ 1,000 per month. The mayor would receive $ 1,500, up from the current $ 150.
Nash-King talked about how she felt uncomfortable when councilors received salary increases without the raise being voted on.
“You, the resident, are our boss and I think you should have the right to decide how much we get for our raise. Whether it’s $ 500 or $ 1,000, you should be able to decide what you think is right, “said Nash-King in front of the crowd of roughly 30.
Another proposed amendment to the statutes would give the council oversight over the dismissal and discipline of city department heads.
Nash-King mentioned that it was not the city council’s right to act as city manager and fire chiefs.
“We just don’t have the time for that. We are not the city administration, ”she said.
Nash-King also stressed the importance of community involvement by inviting residents to a public forum on the City Charter on December 13th. Changes to the charter will go to voters in May.
After Nash-King finished speaking, Billy White, Bell County’s lead tax appraiser and the meeting’s guest of honor, took the floor to give a presentation on the fundamentals of district property valuation.
“My duty as a lead appraiser is to review property taxes and determine eligibility with tax exemptions and of course to certify an appraisal,” said White.
During the presentation, White described what assessments are and how they work.
White also revealed that home sales in the Bell County area skyrocketed in 2021 due to the winter storm, with the exception of February.
White also showed the audience that they can qualify for tax exemptions when it comes to their households – these exemptions range from age 65 or older to a disability to a disabled veteran. Another exception was agricultural land.
After White finished the presentation, the audience came in to ask questions.
One viewer wondered about the tax sins of the Killeen Independent School District.
“Things like KISD don’t pay real estate tax, how is that collected? Is this our responsibility even though the property owner does not pay his taxes? ”Asked the viewer with Marvin Rainwater, a member of the KISD school board, who was only a few meters away from her.
White responded that late fees are agreed with the property owner, but if those bills are not paid, they will be passed on to the appraisal district attorneys to collect the money owed.
In the end, Nash-King thanked residents for coming and reiterated their concerns about potential councilor salary increases.