Killeen: City council weighs in on WCID boundaries, voting rights

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Killeen City Council members weighed in Tuesday on a proposal to update the boundaries of WCID No. 1 and to allow the entities the district serves to appoint WCID board members, who are now elected by residents.

(Photo by Chelsea Edwards)

Five out of seven entities have already approved the proposal, but the district's largest customer, Killeen, was one of the holdouts.

WCID representatives spoke with the council Tuesday night, saying that by doing away with elections and appointing board members, they can ensure all areas are represented.

However, council members argued that the city which now has five seats on the district’s board, would lose two representatives with the new system.

After hearing from the WCID board, the council voted to approve the boundary expansion, but rejected the removal of residents’ voting rights.

Councilwoman Debbie Nash-King was concerned that without an agreement, Killeen wouldn’t be represented at all.

"I also do not want us to lose our three seats on WCID 1, so I'm hoping that they will realize how important it is to the residents,” says King.

“You can never ask a citizen to give up their right to vote.”

Council members also complained that the language of the WCID contract was confusing.

One representative admitted to not being able to understand the legal jargon and said there were some “mysteries” in the 150-page document.

Although clapping is not allowed at council meetings, the room burst into applause when one councilman pointed out that residents should have the right to vote for the water board, which can also levy taxes.

The WCID board says that it cannot collect taxes without voter approval.

Councilwoman Shirley Fleming suggested that decision be put off until the next Texas legislative session in 2021.

WCID board members declined to comment after Tuesday’s meeting.

The board can still take the proposed changes to Austin for approval without the support of local entities the water district serves.