By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

HARKER HEIGHTS - The City Council officially signed on to be part of a special countywide policing organization and supported the city's U-turn bridge project, which is seeking pass-through funding from the Texas Department of Transportation.

After asking several questions about financing for the Bell County Organized Crime Unit, the council made Harker Heights officially part of the organization, which has been run by one of its officers since January.

The crime unit was formerly called the Central Texas Narcotics Task Force, but was renamed as several police agencies refocused the unit's goals of the unit to include other crimes.

Police Chief Mike Gentry responded to the council's questions about funding, saying each officer in the organization is paid by their department of origin and that presently the organization's equipment is self-funded through seizure money.

The council also supported the construction of the U-turn bridge on the west side of Farm-to-Market 2410 for Central Texas Expressway to seek pass-through financing from TxDOT.

The project is one of several in a proposed $8 million package funded through certificate of obligation bonds.

If the city is awarded the financing option from TxDOT, TxDOT will reimburse the city for the cost of the construction for the estimated $3 million project between a 10- and 14-year period based on traffic counts. The engineering costs will not be reimbursed.

The city must submit its application to TxDOT by March 1. Besides approving the resolution, the city also requested other businesses, governments and organizations declare their support for the bridge's construction.

The council also:

Authorized the mayor to sign the Section 3 Policy Resolution of the community development block grant program.

Discussed a presentation from a resident regarding illegal dumping at his business, Classic Car Wash, which is located at 109 W. Veterans Memorial Blvd.

Received a presentation regarding the unaudited financial statements for the first quarter of fiscal year 2010-11.

Received a presentation regarding the police department racial profiling data report for calendar year 2010.

Contact Mason W. Canales at or (254) 501-7554.

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