By Wendy Gragg
Killeen Daily Herald
The city of Killeen has made its move in the process of annexing the infamous "doughnut hole" within the southern city limits.
The next step lies with the residents in that area.
The City Council approved an annexation service plan Tuesday night for the 1,300-acre unincorporated area which the city hopes to annex by 2008. City officials and an annexation committee, representing the unincorporated residents, have spent months drafting the plan, which sets stipulations on the impending annexation.
"We approved the plan, almost exactly what they brought to us," City Councilman Dick Young said. "We negotiated in more than good faith."
City Attorney Kathy Davis said the city was not able to promise everything that was requested, but that annexation committee members have made positive statements about the plan.
The service plan does promise the addition of sidewalks if the city decides to reconstruct Trimmier, Onion or Cunningham roads. Also, doughnut hole residents will not be forced to abandon their septic systems for city sewer service.
Though the two parties have worked together on the forced annexation plan, city officials are still hesitant to predict whether the annexation will actually go through in 2008. Davis said this is the third time the city has attempted to annex the area, which earned its doughnut hole reference when the city annexed the land to the south of it in 2002.
"Now is just the time," to force the process, Young said. "We need it for continuity of service."
The annexation committee now has 60 days to seek arbitration if it disagrees with the service plan. If the committee does not seek arbitration or if the arbitrator agrees with the city, the next step will be for City Council to vote to annex the land in 2008.
The annexation committee, which consists of five unannexed residents, may have agreed with some of the city's final service plan, Davis said. But those five committee members are subject to pressure from the rest of the 300 residents in that area. The five committee members must agree on whether to begin the arbitration process or not.
"Right now, it's a waiting game," Davis said.
Though much work and time have gone to seeing the annexation through, Young said any council between now and 2008 could choose not to annex the doughnut hole.
Contact Wendy Gragg at firstname.lastname@example.org