By Lauren Lum, Correspondent
The Belton City Council met for a regularly scheduled meeting on July 24.
During the meeting, the council held a public hearing that authorized the rezoning of the 3.283-acre tract of land located at 3555 W. Hwy 190 Service Road, on the southeast corner of 1-14 and FM 1670 from Agricultural to Commercial Highway. The rezoning allows for the development of a convenience store that will provide gas and parking to commercial truck drivers.
City Councilmember John Holmes commented that he was amazed at how many trucks he’s seen in the early morning on the way to the Austin airport and that he believes the added parking would be used.
The council unanimously approved the rezoning of the property.
The council discussed the approval of the final plat of Hollow Ranch’s Subdivision. The subdivision, located west of I-35 on the east side of FM 1670, is divided into 49 lots- 47, 0.5 acre or more lots would be used for single family houses, and two, 2.5 acre lots would be used for commercial development.
Director of Planning Cheryl Maxwell said that the Planning and Zoning members withdrew their recommendation for a 6-inch sidewalk along FM 1670 in the subdivision because neither Bell County nor TXDot wanted to maintain it. The city felt they couldn’t justify spending tax dollars to maintain it because the subdivision is located outside of city limits.
City Councilmember David K. Leigh stated that while the sidewalk might not be built right now, they should show the sidewalk on the building plans to ensure there is enough right of way so that they can be built later as the area develops.
“We need to plan for it,” Leigh said. “While we don’t pave the concrete or put the rebar in, I think there needs to be adequate planning to allow for that.”
The board approved the final plat 6-1 with the condition that the sidewalk is shown.
The board discussed authorizing the City Manager to enter an agreement with Halff Associates for the redesign of the South Belton Sewer System Phase II. The item was approved unanimously.
Fire Chief Bruce Pritchard proposed the approval of remounting a 2006 ambulance with 111,000 miles using Greathouse Trust funds. Pritchard said the fire department does not plan to make the purchase until January 2019. The item was approved by the board unanimously.
City Clerk Amy M. Casey asked to table an item concerning membership requirements for the Lena Armstrong Board of Directors. This request was approved unanimously by the board.
Executive Director of the Belton Economic Development Corporation Cynthia Hernandez spoke to the board about authorizing a budget amendment of $1,694,500 to the Fiscal Year 2018 BEDC Capital Fund. This amount would pay for surplus costs of the I-35 water line extension and the Avenue D projects. The amendment would also cover the cost of wastewater improvements along I-14.
“The interstate lacks the infrastructure necessary for quality development, and BEDC is investing in areas where we can open up new areas of development,” Hernandez said.
The money would also go towards the East Street Improvements and the South Loop 121 Cost-Share projects.
Director of Finance Brandon Bozon presented the 2nd half of this item- amending the General Fund/Debt Service Fund Fiscal Year 2018 budget. The item was approved unanimously.
City Manager Sam Listi discussed an advanced funding agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for the Loop 121 widening project. The item was approved unanimously.
The Hotel-motel fund for FY 2019 was discussed next. Bozon presented the revenues and expenditures of the fund. Tourism Manager Judy Garrett discussed FY 2018 accomplishment including the inaugural Bacon and Blues Festival.
Chief Pritchard presented 2018’s Fire Department accomplishments including the purchase of a drone by the Fire Corp.
“This has the capability to carry a life jacket, fly over to a victim and remotely drop it to them.”
Pritchard also discussed FY 2019 goals and future challenges.
Maxwell gave a presentation of the Planning and Development Department. She discussed goals and accomplishments of GIS, Building Inspections, and Planning. Maxwell also listed newly constructed/underway projects including the Expo Inn and Suites, the Bell County Equestrian Center, Bold Republic Brewery, Oak Fire Pizza and Brew, and several more.