By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS – The City Council will meet in executive session at 5 p.m. today to discuss a settlement plan that Nolanville approved Dec. 17.
Harker Heights, Belton and Nolanville have been involved in a dispute over Nolanville's population count for nearly a year.
Nolanville's population count of more than 5,000, approved by its City Council in December 2008, extended its extraterritorial jurisdiction a half-mile and interfered with the ETJ agreements that Belton and Harker Heights were working on at the time.
On Dec. 14, two council members from each city met. That meeting might have produced the settlement that Nolanville approved by a 4 -0 vote.
Nolanville's resolution included the following in a memorandum of understanding:
Harker Heights and Belton will recognize Nolanville's expanded ETJ and its population count of more than 5,000 residents.
Nolanville will recognize Harker Heights' and Belton's ETJ agreements OK'd by their city officials before Nolanville approved its population count last December.
Nolanville's ETJ will include an area south of Farm-to-Market 439 but north of U.S. Highway 190 into the area north of Paddy Hamilton but south of FM 439 just to the west of Farm-to-Market 93, where there will be a dividing line.
Belton will not expand its ETJ west of a "dividing line" in the area and Nolanville will not expand east of the line.
Belton and Harker Heights will pay for the surveying cost of the "dividing line."
Harker Heights and Belton will reimburse Nolanville up to $20,000 in attorney's fees the city incurred during the dispute.
The agreement must be finalized within 60 days after each city council agrees to the document unless additional time is needed to complete the surveying; in that case, an extra 30 days will be granted.
The cities must submit a final judgment to the 169th Judicial Court, which was scheduled to hear the litigation in January.
City officials "shall not make or give any public or news media statements or releases" until the final judgment has been agreed upon and approved by the court, unless all three cities agree on the statement.
The Harker Heights council did not plan to meet for the rest of the year; today's executive session was called after Nolanville's meeting to pass the resolution was announced.
Each city council has to agree on the settlement before the cities' attorneys can proceed with a settlement.
Contact Mason W. Canales at email@example.com or (254) 501-7554.