By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
NOLANVILLE – The City Council approved a resolution to settle a population count and extra territorial jurisdiction dispute with its neighboring cities on Thursday.
After a 30-minute executive session, the City Council approved the resolution by a 4-0 vote; Councilman Albert Simmons did not attend the meeting.
While Harker Heights and Belton's councils must approve the resolution before the lawsuit is settled, Nolanville attached a memorandum of understanding that describes the terms for a settlement.
"First and most important is that Harker Heights and Belton will recognize Nolanville's extended ETJ," said Roger Gordon, an attorney representing Nolanville, on Thursday, claiming the city's population count of 5,000 residents will stand.
Nolanville also will recognize Harker Heights and Belton's ETJ agreements, which were agreed upon by their city officials before Nolanville approved its population count last December, Gordon said.
Other ETJ changes, according to the memorandum, would include an area south of Farm-to-Market 439 but north of U.S. Highway 190.
Nolanville's ETJ would extend into the area north of Paddy Hamilton but south of FM 439 just to the West of Farm-to-Market 93, the memorandum stated. Belton will not expand its ETJ west of a "dividing line" in the area and Nolanville will not expand east of the line.
Belton and Harker Heights will "shoulder" the cost of surveying the "dividing line," Gordon said, referencing the memorandum.
Additional costs by Harker Heights and Belton will include reimbursing Nolanville up to $20,000 in attorney fees the city acquired during the dispute, the memorandum stated.
The memorandum also states that the agreement shall be finalized no later than 60 days after each City Council agrees to the document unless additional time is needed to complete the surveying, which will grant the cities another 30 days.
To finalize the agreement, the cities must submit it as a final judgement to the 169th Judicial Court, which was supposed to hear the litigation in January, the memorandum stated.
The memorandum also includes a gag order, saying officials appointed and employed by the city "shall not make or give any public or news media statements or releases" until the final judgement has been agreed upon and approved by the court, unless all three cities agree on the statement.
"I believe this is a fair and just solution for each city's desire to grow," Gordon said. "And more importantly, it resets the relationship for these cities."
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7554.