Killeen Mayor Pro Tem Ken Wilkerson led a town hall on Saturday to update the public on what Killeen Town Council and town officials have been doing and to receive community feedback on ways to improve.
Councilwoman Jessica Gonzales originally planned to co-lead the session, but was unable to join due to family issues. City Manager Kent Cagle, Killeen Police Chief Charles Kimble and Director of Development Services Edwin Revell were also on hand to discuss updates and changes with the community.
About 15 people attended the event, but Wilkerson said he was disappointed more residents didn’t show up.
“A lot of the problems we have here in Killeen are down to apathy – checking and not caring about that road or that neighbour.” said Wilkerson.
Wilkerson said attendees join some of the committees involved in improving the city to help get the results they want to see faster.
“If you want something done, you have to get involved.” he said.
During the town hall, a resident asked why the deal with the North Killeen Grocery fell through when it was so close to being done.
Cagle explained that the property is private property and the city has no control over what happens there.
“The grocery store and the private owners had been in negotiations for a long time and all that was requested [the city] we said yes,” Cagle said. “They could never come to an agreement even though they were very close. The grocery store got tired of waiting and left, but the city couldn’t have done anything else. We can’t force two private parties to agree.
Cagle said the city is trying to keep North Killeen from being left behind.
One thing that kept coming up was the need for more effective communication between the city and its citizens.
Several residents in attendance said they wanted more to be done to keep the public informed and more involved.
“Communication is something we can do a lot better at,” Wilkerson said.
Kimble spoke about the decline in the crime rate in the Killeen area in 2021 compared to 2020.
Kimble explained that in 2021, there was a 31% decrease in murders, a 6% decrease in violent crimes, and a 33% decrease in robberies.
A family who were at the town hall criticized Kimble and the Killeen Police Department for their poor communication with the families of the victims. Jose and Ivette Rodriguez lost their daughter in September in a drive-by shooting, but said detectives did not keep in touch with them about their daughter’s case.
Both Wilkerson and Kimble agreed that communication could be improved.
Before Wilkerson ended the mayoralty, he replaced Jeff Reynolds of the Public Works Department to discuss trash disposal, transportation issues and water advisories.
The town hall was held at the Liberty Christian Center at 4107 Westcliff Road.