HARKER HEIGHTS — Before calling the City Council meeting to order Tuesday, Mayor Rob Robinson addressed the elephant in the chamber — the empty seat to his right.

Former Mayor Mike Aycock submitted his resignation, effective Feb. 1, because he was unable to fully discharge the city’s portion of his home property tax obligations before a Jan. 31 deadline, which disqualified him from holding office.

“I appreciate what he has done for the city and I’m saddened by the events that have transpired,” Robinson said.

Calling the meeting to order was Robinson’s first action as mayor.

One of the items before the council was a resolution authorizing City Manager David Mitchell to deliver a participation agreement with the Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust.

In a presentation from Jerry Bark, Parks and Recreation director, the retail giant is in the process of constructing a 41,000-square-foot neighborhood market near the intersection of Farm-to-Market 2410 and Stillhouse Lake Drive.

The store will offer fresh produce, meat and dairy products, bakery and deli items, household supplies, health and beauty aids, and a pharmacy.

The Heights location will be the first Neighborhood Market in the greater Fort Hood area and the 47th one in the state.

Bark said during conversations with Wal-Mart officials, Wal-Mart said it is willing to include the landscape and irrigation for a soon-to-be-built side street.

Bark said by allowing Wal-Mart to take the lead, the city would avoid duplication and expenses.

“Staff also believes that by using one contractor and architect, we will receive a more unified appearance and a higher quality of work with reduced risk or coordination and warranty,” Bark said.

As part of the construction, Wal-Mart agreed to furnish all labor and materials, including the landscaping.

The city agreed to pay any applicable fees, promptly issue city permits and reimburse Wal-Mart for third-party expenses that are reasonably incurred.

Council members voted unanimously to authorize Mitchell to execute and deliver a developer participation agreement with Wal-Mart.

Contact Vanessa Lynch at vlynch@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7567.

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