By Victor O'Brien
Killeen Daily Herald
NOLANVILLE – City council candidates spent most of a 90-minute forum Saturday agreeing with each other, despite at times perplexing questions from residents.
Eight of Nolanville's nine city council candidates attended Saturday's candidate forum at the J.W. Sims Community Center. Wayne Hamilton, Christina Rosenthal, Albert Simmons, Stanley Williamson, Brenda Huckaba, Kenneth Miller, Denise Hungerford and Larry Forbes Jr. attended. Reginald Simmons did not attend.
An audience of 13 people posed nine questions through moderator John Jackson, a Copperas Cove educator.
During the debate, the only contentious moments came at the end when Simmons and Williamson criticized Rosenthal's push for grants to fund city projects and a newsletter to inform Nolanville's residents about planning and zoning changes.
One question asked candidates about making Nolanville a cleaner city by forcing trailers only in trailer parks and apartment housing out of home neighborhoods.
"A clean city is more about roads," Rosenthal said. "If we try obtaining a grant, we can clean up the city and get rid of a lot of debt we've built up."
Simmons responded in his closing remarks by saying he has been told federal grants were not an option to fix Nolanville's roads. Simmons proposed the city needs more business and residences to provide revenue to improve roads such as Avenue H in the same way 10th Street has improved.
Williamson said he printed a four-page informational newsletter in 2006, but shut down production in 2007 because $565 per month was too much to afford. He welcomed the idea of a newsletter, but questioned whether it would be affordable for the city.
The newsletter debate happened when the candidates were thrown for a loop by one question that asked how residents can learn about planning and zoning changes without attending council meetings and why people park on lawns.
"I'm a sociologist, not a psychologist. I don't know why people park on lawns," Rosenthal said, a response that echoed the confusion of the other candidates.
Candidates all favored Nolanville becoming a home rule city to expand its extra-territorial jurisdiction and expressed their beliefs that the city of Nolanville exceeds the 5,000 population requirement. Harker Heights and Belton have contended their population count in attempts to expand their own ETJs.
The candidates touted lower taxes as a reason why people should willingly join Nolanville and those tax revenues as a way to grow the city.
"There are several homes on the outskirts that need to be part of Nolanville," Forbes Jr, said. "If they are close enough to receive benefits of city, they need to help the city."
Simmons said home rule would give Nolanville the right to annex those residents without having to ask.
The mayoral forum lasted less than 10 minutes. Emma McCullough fielded three brief questions. She expressed optimism that grants could enlarge the city's park and bonds could be improved with the assistance of a former Harker Heights staffmember. Opponent Robert Lyall did not attend.
Contact Victor O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7468.