By Mason W. Canales and Jade Ortego
Killeen Daily Herald
Struggling with economic shortfalls and bad budgeting practices, Nolanville was forced to fire or furlough several city employees throughout 2009; eventually, it hired a few back.
The firing started with the city moving three of nine police officers off the payroll on July 13. By July 30, the rest of the police force, with the exception of the police chief, had been furloughed, placed on vacation without pay. Two public works assistants were also placed on furlough at the time.
The remaining city staff members were placed on part-time status, and City Hall cut its hours back to three days a week until October.
In late October, the city hired a small portion of the employees back. The hiring included two police officers and one public works department assistant.
The city's budget only allowed those employees to come back to work for the 2009-10 fiscal year.
Nolanville claimed a population count of 5,000 and extraterritorial jurisdiction, causing Harker Heights and Belton to sue in October.
In mid-December, the cities agreed to recognize Nolanville's extended ETJ, as well as Belton's and Harker Heights' ETJ agreements, which were finalized shortly after Nolanville's population count was approved.
Nolanville's council agreed that the city's ETJ would extend into the area north of Paddy Hamilton but south of Farm-to-Market 439 just to the west of FM 93.
Nolanville will not expand its ETJ east of a "dividing line" in the area, and Belton will not expand west of the line.
Bell County jail facility completed
The third Bell County jail facility, was completed after two years of construction.
The Bell County Jail system is made up of three facilities. When fully occupied, they have a combined capacity of 1,367 inmates, including medical beds.
The Bell County jail staff was honored in July for passing the Texas Commission on Jail Standards inspection and receiving certification for the 23rd year in a row.
On Nov. 4, voters approved a controversial $29 million bond for a new middle school in Belton.
The bond, which garnered 54 percent of the vote, was a reworking of the $38.9 million bond, which failed in May.
The proposal included funds for high school athletic facilities. That issue was defeated by 85 votes.
The November measure passed by 385 votes, with 2,357 votes cast in favor of the bond and 1,972 against.
The bond was needed because the Belton Independent School District was already at over-capacity, BISD Superintendent Vivian Baker said.
The tax increase for the bond is 5.4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
Rocky Road fire
Killeen firefighters and Bell County sheriff's deputies responded to a fire just outside the city limits at 263 Rocky Road in March.
Days later, fire investigators and insurance agents discovered a body among the rubble at the scene of the fire, which the fire marshal suspected was arson.
In October, the sheriff's office positively identified the body as Tabitha Lynn Crawford, who went missing around the same time of the fire.
The case is still unsolved.
Oncor Electric Delivery
Oncor Electric Delivery announced that it would build electrical pylons in Killeen, Maxdale and Ding Dong, and would let residents weigh in on a potential route.
Landowners affected by routes marked by Oncor started protesting when they found out that the pylons would be 12 stories high and would require bulldozing land.
Landowners legally petitioned the routes and hired attorneys to represent them before the Public Utilities Commission in Austin, which is determining the routes' placement.