City Council proposes retaining current tax rate

by / 0 Comments / 42 View / August 18, 2014

Published Aug. 14, 2014

By Devin Corbitt, The Belton Journal

Tuesday’s Belton City Council meeting was marked by the council’s unanimous approval of no tax rate increase for the upcoming year, keeping the city tax rate at $0.6598. Public hearings on the tax rate will be held at the Aug. 26 and Sept. 9 city council meetings. Meetings are held at 5:30 p.m. at the Harris Community Center, 401 N. Alexander Street.
“I don’t think we need to raise the rate until we have to,” Councilmember Guy O’Banion said. “The council has done a good job holding that tax rate historically and give us some of the things we felt like we needed to address without raising that rate.”
The other councilmembers reflected O’Banion’s sentiments.
“I appreciate the work done by the staff,” Councilmember Paul Sanderford said. “I’m glad that this year we’ll be able to meet the needs of the city without having to ask our citizens to pay any higher rates, so I support retaining the current rate.”
The meeting began by tabling Item 4, which deals with a zoning change to allow for a dental office in what used to be a church, until the Aug. 26 meeting.
The council then moved on to construction projects within the city, unanimously approving a final plat for Dawson Ranch, Phase V, located south of Chisholm Trail Parkway and west of the future Lake to Lake Road.  The council also approved the abandonment of a 0.2542 acre easement located south of the existing Twin Ridge Drive in Dawson Ranch, Phase II, Section III, in lieu of changes in the Phase V final plat that allow for an alternative access easement. A final plat for Highland Estates, Phase II, located northeast of the Sparta Road and Wheat Road intersection, was also approved. All subdivisions are being developed by Carothers Development, LLC.
“It’s a big win-win for both the developer and the city at large,” Councilmember Craig Pearson said.
The council authorized the City Manager to execute a development agreement between the City of Belton and Nolan Creek Development GP, LLC. Last month, the council denied the builder’s request to use on-site septic systems in lieu of sanitary sewers for the Creekside Estates subdivision. After working with the builder, the city agreed to help the developer extend 100 feet of an off-site water line, as well as funding a fire hydrant and the tap, sleeve and valve costs, totaling an estimated $7,910. The council also agreed to extending 162 feet of an 8-inch sewer and 422 feet of a 10-inch sewer line and funding five manholes and an 8-inch borehole, for a total sewer cost of an estimated $59,327.80, bringing the total for the agreement to $73,507.80.
Change orders #4 and #5 of the Nolan Creek Pedestrian and Bike Trail Extension Project were approved at the meeting. Change Order #4 will allow the Public Works Department to remove and haul away the existing low water crossing under the pony bridge currently being constructed. The project will cost an estimated $58,965.82. Change Order #5 calls for the construction of 180 feet of curb and gutters along the intersection of 7th Avenue and Sparks Street to prevent motor vehicles from driving onto the trail. The change also deletes pedestrian railing along the trail. The change results in a cots savings of $3,874.95. Total cost of the project is now $2,262,216, which leaves $19,110 in backup funds for the project.
The Belton Economic Development Corporation presented the council with a plan to create a fund designated specifically for incentives. The money, totaling $2,660,345, is already present in the BEDC’s general fund and has been committed to companies. The creation of the fund will allow for smoother cash flows in regards to incentives. The council unanimously approved the fund.
Although Item 13 was anticipated to be a hot topic for the evening, it was passed without a hitch. The item will allow the city to acquire two parcels of land through eminent domain. The acquisition of this land will provide room for the city to begin rebuilding Toll Bridge Road Bridge, which collapsed in 2006. Once the bridge is fixed, Toll Bridge Road will then be used as an alternative to I-35 since the road runs parallel to the interstate.
As part of the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) Bridge Replacement Program, the state will work in conjunction with the city to replace that bridge, with the state funding 90 percent of the project and the city funding the remaining 10 percent.
The next city council meeting will be held Aug. 26 at 5:30 p.m. at the Harris Community Center, 401 N. Alexander Street.