By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS - The City Council on Tuesday authorized the city to seek taking nearly an acre of land adjacent to its maintenance yard on Veterans Memorial Boulevard.
The only questions asked by the council after City Manager Steve Carpenter explained the need for the land acquisition came from Mayor Ed Mullen and was addressed toward his peers.
"You all know the piece of property we are talking about?" Mullen said.
The council members confirmed that they did, then approved a resolution that would start the process of taking the land by eminent domain.
The acre of land is needed for a water project that would create a new, larger pump station, a 1.2 million-gallon water storage tank, and a transition line for the water stored at the tank to reach the storage tank on Arrowhead Lane, Carpenter said during the meeting.
The project is awaiting the purchase of this land, so the project can go out for construction bids.
"My recommendation is that you approve this, so we can get on with this project," Carpenter said to the council.
The city has been trying reach a deal with the land owner, Luree Inc., for several months, he said. A recent letter stated that the owner was not interested in the city's latest offer of $62,000.
That price was determined by an appraiser hired by the city, who compared the market rates of other properties sold in the area, Carpenter said Monday. The property owner's initial response to the city first offer was about double what the city suggested.
Tuesday's actions start the proceedings to condemn the land.
That would require the city to file a petition in county court, according to a letter from the city attorney. The county court judge would then appoint three special commissioners and set a date for a hearing that is acceptable to the owner.
At the hearing, the special commissioners would hear evidence presented by both sides and arrive at an award to be filed with the court. The city could then deposit that amount with the court and take possession of the property.
Despite the actions taken by the council Tuesday, the city is still willing negotiate a price for the property, Carpenter said on Monday.
The council also discussed:
The unaudited financial statements for the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2009-10.
The Texas Water Development Board State Revolving Fund for the sanitary sewer project to the annexed area.
Creating a grease trap inspection program for all commercial businesses located within the city sanitary sewer system.
Potential projects for federal funding in the coming fiscal year.
In a closed meeting, the council deliberated the offer of a financial or other incentive to a business prospect, LHP Hospital Group Inc. and/or HH/Killeen Health System LLC.
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7554.