The Harker Heights City Council heard recommendations from city staff Tuesday against annexing areas in the city’s eastern extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ.

The council did not take any action at the workshop session.

Only one member of the public was present, Ted MacLean for the meeting.

“It would add $3,700 to my tax bill,” MacLean said. That was not his major concern, however. Along with annexation comes infrastructure, police, fire, water. It’s no small cost to the city.

Most of the areas under consideration for annexation are located along Farm-to-Market 2410. Much of it includes properties exempt from certain ad valorem taxes because they are zoned agricultural.

Included in the ETJ are areas along FM 2410 that are subject under state law to annexation by the city.

If these areas are annexed, the city would have to spend approximately $305,000 just to provide the basic needs under the city’s charter and the requirements of the state, such as fire hydrants, water lines and police vehicles.

The city’s paperwork also notes “the risk of adding additional residential property to the tax roll due to the veterans exemption rising 30-40 percent annually.”

Harker Heights and surrounding communities are impacted by a mandate by the Texas Legislature that provides that any veteran with a 100 percent disability determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs can claim a 100 percent exemption on her or his property taxes.

MacLean did not mention that issue. Neither did anyone in the council chambers Tuesday. But it represents a serious roadblock to annexation of these areas, which are practically already part of Harker Heights, yet they do not enjoy the infrastructure the city provides to its regular residents.

The council did not say when it would take action. Given the staff’s negative recommendation, it may be some time before residents along FM 2410 get access to fire, police, and water, among other amenities provided by the city.

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