By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
More city officials will be tapped for a three-city meeting that may settle a legal dispute before a judicial ruling.
Harker Heights, Nolanville and Belton will all add a second elected official to the meeting they will have in the next couple of weeks.
"I think this will be the fruitful meeting," said Rodger Gordon, a Bojorquez Law Firm PLLC attorney representing Nolanville, on Thursday. "I think there is going to be three people from each city. I am going to have two council members and myself."
The meeting is to discuss a year-old issue concerning Nolanville's population count of 5,000 people, which pushed the smaller city's extra territorial jurisdiction in areas Belton and Harker Heights were about to obtain in their ETJs through annexation.
The issue was supposed to see its first court date Friday after Nolanville's attorney filed a plea against Harker Heights' suit against the population count, which Belton later joined.
All three attorneys decided to hold one last meeting to try to settle, before having the next court hearing, which will be moved to January, Gordon told the Herald last month.
"This is kind of a last attempt for settling," Harker Heights City Manger Steve Carpenter said Thursday.
None of the city officials would guess at the outcome of the meeting, but they all seemed hopeful a compromise would be reached.
"When we finished the last meeting, the discussion was that Nolanville would come up with some type of a proposal," Belton City Manager Sam Listi said. "We hope that this meeting will be a concrete discussion about the proposal."
The three cities held several meetings before Harker Heights filed the lawsuit in September, but none resolved the issues. Those meetings have included attorneys, the cities' mayors and city managers.
The addition of another elected official may be what the cities need to compromise.
"That might be the best opportunity of changing the dynamics of our previous meetings," Listi said.
Adding more people will allow for different perspectives on the discussion, and those people may present the information to the City Council's differently because of the way they interpret data, Carpenter said.
After the meeting, each group will still have to take the discussion back to their councils for decisions.
"When the meeting is done, we are definitely going to know if we are going to settle this or go to court," Gordon said.
Contact Mason W. Canales at email@example.com or (254) 501-7554.