Texas, where a water tower proclaims "Texarkana is twice as nice," argued the utility really is a department of its city. Arkansas, not wanting to concede any ground, disagreed.
"It is a control issue," said King, the utility's executive director.
A federal judge in Arkansas agreed, scolding the cities earlier this month for what he called political posturing.
"Both parties have undoubtedly spent countless hours and countless taxpayer dollars litigating this issue," Judge P.K. Holmes III wrote.
Their back-and-forth bickering likely will mean a higher price tag on a stalled multimillion dollar upgrade for a wastewater treatment plant.
"Just waiting close to two years on it, certainly the construction prices have risen," King said.
So, for now, both cities are shifting their attention to an issue where they have a shot at resolving something: the football stadium.
"It's not just two teams in town," Texas head coach Barry Norton said. "We're representing Texas, and they're representing Arkansas."
Their pregame rituals are telling. Texas fans fry up bacon before the big game against the Razorbacks, whose symbol is a huge red pig with tusks. Arkansas fans drink orange Gatorade and sometimes cook up steaks as they try to trounce the Tigers.
"You can't eat a tiger or a cat," Smith explained.
Texas High has won the big game and bragging rights for several years now, but that hasn't dashed Arkansas' hopes for next month.
"We always think we can beat Texas," Arkansas' defensive coordinator Denny Burdine said. "You can't think any other way."
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