The Harker Heights City Council met in a telephonic regular council meeting Tuesday to consider a one-item agenda: an ordinance to extend the city’s public health emergency declaration.

Council members in attendance were Jennifer McCann, John Reider and Jody Nicholas. Mayor Pro Tem Michael Blomquist and Mayor Spencer Smith, Councilwoman Jackeline Soriano Fountain was absent.

In regular business, the Council then discussed and considered approving an ordinance to extend the Public Health Emergency Declarationthrough June 30.

City Manager David Mitchell reported that the State of Texas and Bell County both have issued disaster declarations that cover Harker Heights in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the guidance of the Texas Municipal League, in order to receive reimbursements in relation to COVID-19 expenditures, Mayor Spencer Smith issued a disaster declaration for Harker Heights on March 20.

The council approved an ordinance during a special called meeting on April 7 to extend the Public Health Emergency Declaration to April 30. On April 28, the council approved another extension to the declaration until May 31.

Mitchell said, “Action is now needed by the Council to consider extending this declaration out to June 30, 2020 to match recent directives from the state and Bell County.”

This declaration continues to align with the city’s COVID-19 response to those issued by Bell County and the State.

“If Bell County or the State modify their orders, then the city’s requirements would automatically reflect those modifications to include the governor’s staged initiatives of “Reopening Texas,” Mitchell said.

The council will meet again on June 9 and June 23 and may at that time choose to end, modify and or extend the declaration.

Mitchell said, “What we need this for is if there are any COVID-19 expenditures that we have incurred. I can tell you right now that I have not been anywhere close to being concerned.”

“This is more of a formality than it is practical. We are simply following the directives from the governor. “

The Council voted 4-0 to extend the declaration.

McCann said, “On a positive note, I’d like to say that Dana Peak Park is beautiful. People are getting out and using social distancing but all our parks look great and it’s really nice to see people out and about and using our facilities. Everything looks really nice around the city.”

Blomquist said, “I’d like to add my thanks to all our firemen, paramedics, and police during these trying times. They do an outstanding job.”

During the Presentation by Citizens part of the agenda, Heights resident Lynda Nash shared with the Council that on June 11 the Harker Heights Food Bank, 906 S. Ann Blvd., is having a drive-thru and delivery and there is a desperate need for volunteers.

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