By Danielle Church

and Rebecca Rose

Harker Heights Herald

The Harker Heights City Council on Tuesday heard a presentation by a Frontier Trail resident who claimed that the police department "closed the book" on her after numerous complaints about the barking of her neighbor's dog.

Candice Shoaf told the council she has had an 11-year problem with the uncontrolled nuisance barking and that it has "taken away (her) right to a quality of life."

Shoaf said the incessant barking wakes her up at odd hours of the night, and she wants animal control and the police department to eliminate the problem.

Police Chief Mike Gentry said the department has reviewed the case and has not closed the book on anything.

"There is no book to close; we just have to have evidence that meets the criteria before we can charge (anyone)," he said.

Gentry said police occasionally get noise-related complaints about barking dogs and officers respond, but unless they receive complaints from other area

residents, the police cannot pursue the issue any further.

"The issue is that there is a reasonable expectation that people who live near a dog will hear (barking)," he said.

Mayor Mike Aycock told Shoaf, "We'll look into it ... that's all we can say right now."

The council also:

Approved a resolution to reject all bids for the Goode/Connell Park project.

Approved an ordinance establishing practices governing the care and maintenance of trees on city property; creating a tree advisory board; designating the city's parks and recreation director with administrative responsibility for the maintenance and removal of trees on city property; and providing for the removal of diseased or hazardous trees on private property under certain conditions.

Approved a request for alcohol services at the chamber of commerce's Central Texas Food and Wine Festival at 2410 Community Park.

Approved an ordinance approving a negotiated resolution between the Atmos Cities Steering Committee and Atmos Energy Corp., Mid-Tex Division, regarding the company's fourth annual rate review mechanism filing in all cities exercising original jurisdiction; declaring existing rates to be unreasonable; adopting tariffs that reflect rate adjustments consistent with the negotiated settlement and finding the rates to be set by the attached tariffs to be just and reasonable.

Approved a resolution about the employee benefits trust to pay for employee-related benefits and to approve any transfers to fund the trust.

Nolanville to raise taxes

NOLANVILLE - The city's proposed tax rate for fiscal year 2011-12 is about 2 cents higher than the current rate, according to the budget proposal submitted to the City Council last week.

The new tax rate would be 46.9 cents per $100 of property valuation. Currently, the tax rate is 44.6 cents per $100. That's an increase of 7.9 percent, or 2.3 cents.

"The increase is needed to pay for ambulance service," City Manager Stephen Pearl said.

Pearl said the city had been receiving ambulance services from Capital EMS at no charge. The City Council originally awarded Capital the emergency medical service contract on Dec. 2, 2010. Starting in fiscal year 2011-12, the city will have to start paying for the company's ambulance service.

That cost is approximately $50,000, Pearl said.

Sept. 15 is the date set for adoption of the new tax rate.

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