By Devin Corbitt, The Belton Journal
The Belton City Council meeting began on Monday with an extra-large crowd and smiles all around.
The first item on the agenda introduced Captain Kristopher Morgan of the Belton Fire Department. After an introduction by Fire Chief Bruce Pritchard, Captain Morgan’s family, including his wife, three sons, mother and grandmother, performed a pinning ceremony, officially making Morgan Belton’s new Assistant Fire Chief.
This heartwarming ceremony was followed by a recognition of the Belton High School SkillsUSA students for winning the state competition for the second year. A representative from Congressman John Carter’s office presented the team members with a certificate and, as the liaison for the Fort Hood office, gave the boys a heartfelt thanks for building a home from scratch for a Killeen veteran earlier this year.
The third recognition applauded the Belton Finance Department for receiving the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for the 23rd consecutive year. This was Finance Director Brandon Bozon’s first year in Belton, and the council commended him for continuing the tradition of excellence.
Then council then unanimously approved a reclassification of the fire department, which will eliminate one Captain position and add another Lieutenant position and create a Fire Marshall position. In accordance with this, council also adjusted the pay scale to reflect this reclassification.
The second reading a public hearing for two franchise agreements—one with Skyline EMS and one with Serenity EMS/Ameristat Ambulance—within the city of Belton. The council unanimously approved both franchises, who will provide non-emergency ambulance transport for Belton citizens.
Cynthia Hernandez presented the council with the Belton Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) annual report and proposed budget for 2016, and Bozon presented the 2016 proposed budget for the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ).
The council then voted to adopt a proposal for the ad valorem tax rate, which keeps the rate at 65.98 cents, as it was last year. They set public hearings for the tax rate for Aug. 25 and Sept. 8. Both will take place at 5:30 in the Harris Community Center, 401 N. Alexander. The tax rate will be adopted Sept. 22.
The council will reconvene Aug. 25 at 5:30 p.m. in the Harris Community Center.