The comments below refer to the marked-up version of the revised charter published on the City web site.

I believe the City Charter requires a preamble to explain its scope and purpose. The lack of such a section makes it ambiguous. The elements that should be included are

  1. The citizens of Killeen grant this charter to the municipal government of the city, setting forth powers, rights and obligations of the municipal corporate entity.
  2. The powers and rights granted in this charter are the only powers and rights of the municipal corporate entity, except when powers and rights are granted by state law.
  3. Additional obligations of the city corporate entity may be imposed by ordinances, but obligations specified in the Charter may not be modified by ordinance.

I do not insist on the wording, of course.

The table below contains my comments on individual amendments. Those marked in red are changes that I believe need further discussion. The column headed "Ballot?" indicates my (wavering) opinion of whether the amendment should be individually balloted.

Page Change Ballot? Comment
3 Require district boundary changes be completed within 2 years after the census. Clarify language. N This tightens a loose requirement—there was no time limit before—but could be improved by specifying a starting date (perhaps Jan. 1 of the year following the census?)
4 The sitting council member for a numbered district may complete a term even if boundary changes put the member's residence outside the redrawn district. Y There's room for debate on this, but in general it's a healthy rule. It removes an irrelevant factor from district redrawing. We saw that factor in play last year.
4 Remove language about fruit-stands and show cases, and redundant phrases. N Were fruit stands such a prominent feature of Killeen in 1948?
5 Specify Municipal Court as Court "of Record". N This is a harmless but needless change. The court became a court of record without change in the city charter, and presumably can revert without a change. How it's styled here isn't important.
5 Deletion of sections 14 and 15, which authorize the city of operate a hospital and describe how it would be financed. Y Removing these sections is a no-brainer. There's a question whether they should be replaced with other language, though, I think. How will the city be constrained if the charter is silent on the subject? Does it mean that the city could never establish a municipal hospital? I'd like to hear discussion, or have the question decided by a preamble.
6 Redefinition of the Police Department. Y Getting rid of the old definition goes without saying. "Immoderate riding and driving in the streets...", indeed. But whether the proposed language is necessary and sufficient I do not know. I'd certainly like to see how other cities define their police departments in their charters.
6 Adds the proviso that Killeen can regulate nuisances within 5000 feet of the corporate bounds. Y This doesn't bother me, but it might someone whose property abuts the city limits (donut people?). Also, it seems to extend city jurisdiction to such areas as Engineers Park (Long Bridge) and Union Grove Park on Stillhouse Hollow reservoir. We already claim an ETJ for zoning matters that is more extensive than this, but extending policing seems like something else.
6 Remove the section authorizing Occupation and License Taxes N I don't think the City is ever likely to levy such taxes. But does removing this section preclude it from doing so if it wants to?
6 Modify definition of dangerous structures the city may order removed. N I think we have to trust the lawyer's opinion that the new language conforms to state law.
7 Elections will be held on "uniform election dates". Y There's a big problem here: "uniform election date" is not defined in this document. I don't think it's a commonly understood term, either. This needs to be amended by adding language describing exactly what the Charter means by it. Perhaps it needs to be reconciled with the "authorized uniform election date prescribed by the Election Code" mentioned in Article IX.
7 You can't resign one council seat to run for another if you've already served three terms. N So you can't scam the system to avoid term limitations. Seems like a safe provision.
7 Defers to the Texas Election code for qualification for office. N It's way too dangerous to do anything else.
8 Members who miss 3 consecutive regular meeting without excuse of the council may be removed. Y I see problems with this. It's a way to get rid of an ill member who has minority views; it doesn't describe how the council's excuse is expressed; and it doesn't include the mayor. I don't think I can support this one as written.
8 Removes limitations on council and mayor's compensation. Y This is highly controversial, not only because it lets members set their own compensation, but because it leaves open the important questions of whether they should be compensated or not. I think it's OK to leave open whether council members and the mayor will be paid, but it is too dangerous to let members set the amount of compensation.
8 Clears up some language about what happens if a vacancy occurs within 90 days of an election. N The 1948 council could have used an editor.
10 Allows a council member to resign and assume the office of City Manager 12 months later. (It was 12 months after the end of the member's term.) Y This seems odd. If similar language appears in other Texas charters, I'm OK with it, but it doesn't seem like a problem that needs to be solved.
10 Clarify that appointments of assistant city managers, department heads, and the city secretary are subject to approval of the council. N I don't think this changes current practice, although, God willing, we won't change city secretary for a while.
10 Change language describing city secretary position. N Just clarification.
11 Changes in description of the Municipal Court Judge. N This just confirms current practice. A possibly missing piece is the appointment of associate or assistant judges in this court, as is called out in the next section for assistant city attorneys.
11 City Attorney must be a licensed attorney and may appoint assistants as authorized by the council. N There's got to be a better way to refer to the City Attorney than as "He".
12 Remove section saying the council is the judge of local elections. N State election law supersedes this provision.
12 Remove section requiring ordinances to be published twice in 10 days after passing. Y While state law makes requirements in this area, I believe the current language just places additional requirements. It looks like we can keep this provision if the citizens want it.
13 Raises the maximum fine for obstructing an investigation by the council to $500. N It seems cleaner just to define the degree of misdemeanor such behavior constitutes. Then the maximum fine is whatever the maximum fine is, even if it changes over time.
13 Allows independent auditors to be appointed at any time. N There was no benefit to the old language which required appoints in a 30-day window ending 30 days before the end of the fiscal year.
13 Makes the city auditor position report to the council rather than the City Manager. Y Increasing the independence of the internal auditor is a good thing. If it leads to higher budget and costs for this function, we should look at that beforehand. In general, internal auditing is only as good as the oversight it gets, and there's no one on the current council whom I think experienced enough to understand the issues. (The current mayor is, however, fully qualified.)
13 Minor wording changes dealing with the library. N I'd rather see something declaring that the library will be absolutely the last budget to be cut, but that's just me.
14 Removes reference to discussion of compensation for housing authority members. N Such compensation is illegal under state law.
14 Removes section dealing with disability pensions and insurance. N I'm assuming the proposers know what they are doing here. I don't understand the issues.
16 An assistant city manager may also head a department. N Seems harmless. It's not clear why it has to be expressly provided for, though.
16 Allows the city manager to submit a budget more than 90 days before the end of the prior fiscal year. N This seems completely unnecessary. The council would have to reject such a submission out of hand as premature. The proposed change fixes no problem.
17 Budgets will be "made available for inspection", not "distributed". N As long as the budget remains an easily-available public document, it doesn't matter. The distinction disappears in the case of web pages, anyway.
18 Removes the requirement to print a reasonable number of copies of the budget. N As above, the important points are "public document" and "easily acessible". I'd hate to see the copies in the libraries taken away, though.
19 Removed the provisions for contingent appropriations and emergency appropriations. N This just gets rid of language describing how governmental accounting worked in the dark ages.
20 Get rid of reference to outdated state law. N  
21 Allows transfers among funds at any time, not just in the last fiscal quarter. N This removed a provision of the charter which has been openly disregarded for many years.
21 Remove the section describing job requirements for the Director of Finance. Y The Finance Director's job description contain certain elements that are difficult to change and therefore belong in the charter.. I think I oppose removing this language.
23 Remove redundant language relating to engineering change orders. N  
23 Remove section requiring security bonds for heads of administrative departments. Y The comment on this removal says that the existing language does not reflect current practice. That does not mean that current practice is correct, or that bonding requirements do not belong in the city charter. I oppose this change unless better language is substituted.
24 Gut most of the article on Tax Administration. Y Most of the deletions reflect additions to state law which have obsoleted the provisions of the 1948 charter. The controversial parts (if indeed they are any) involve whether the charter needs to take contingencies into account. Does there need to be a provision for future imposition and collection of tax at the municipal level? What about local hotel and motel tax? I'm very confused.
27 Allow municipal elections on any date authorized by the Texas Election Code. N While we could decide otherwise, it would not be cost effective.
29 Remove language suggesting that the charter can modify state law. N But we should be very careful to distinguish when we can provide stronger restrictions than are in state law.
29 Specify initiatives and referenda require signatures of "at least twenty-five of the number of votes cast in the last regular election of the mayor and at-large councilmembers." Y This is clearly botched. What is meant is "number of voters casting ballots". This comment also applies to similar language in section 113 (page 32) dealing with recall petitions.
30 Do not allow petitions to be signed with indelible pencils. N The note says the language is unnecessary. I think the change is unnecessary.
32 Allow City Secretary one day to make blank recall petitions. N Seems harmless.
32 Petitions for recall of district council members can only be signed by residents of the district. Y I'm OK with it, but it should be voted on. A low-turnout district like District 1 may return a council member whose actions are considered recall-worthy by the rest of the city but go without notice in that apathetic district.
33 Add "Only a resident qualified to vote in an election for a candidate may vote in a recall election for that candidate." Y This is extremely awkwardly stated and I think subject to misinterpretation. If entered at all, it should be "Only qualified voters of a district may cast votes in an election to recall the council member for that district."