Belton City Council met for a split in-person and virtual meeting on Tuesday, May 26.

Prior to the official meeting, Mayor Marion Grayson addressed the recent discovery of a City of Belton employee testing positive for COVID-19, the first city employee to contract the disease.

City Manager Sam Listi’s appointment of Jonathon Fontenot as Belton Fire Chief was confirmed by council. Fontenot’s first day of work with the Belton Fire Department is scheduled for Monday, June 15.

“John was the unanimous choice to become Belton’s next fire chief; we so look forward to John becoming a part of the Belton team and having his family join our community,” Listi said.

Director of Planning Cheryl Maxwell led a public hearing regarding a zoning change from Agricultural District to Multi-Family District for a third housing structure located at 6201 W. US 190 Service Road.

Council unanimously approved of this zoning change.

A public hearing was held for the final plat of North Wall Street Addition for the purpose of establishing five duplex lots at 1000-1022 N. Wall St.

Council unanimously approved of this plat.

Maxwell also discussed a final plat of Wheats Sweets Plaza, located at 3050 W. Highway 190 Service Road and 1174 Service Road, for retail/commercial use.

Council unanimously approved of this plat.

Director of Public Works/City Engineer Angellia Points then presented the Liberty Hill Lift Station Offload project, a development meant to remove the Liberty Hill Lift Station.

“This small lift station is off of Liberty Hill Drive; it serves that subdivision only, and it’s actually been a problem lift station for us – from pump and motor issues, electricity issues, things of that nature – so it’s always a good day for a public works director to get rid of a lift station, so that’s what I’m bringing to you today,” Points said.

In order to move forward with this project, Phase I of the South Belton Sewer project – designing a sewer line along Loop 121 – was completed in 2019, and the Royal Heights Subdivision plat – incorporating a drainage and utility easement, or permission to build under someone else’s property – was approved in May 2019. An adjacent property, nicknamed the Farr Property and located between Royal Heights and the Liberty Hill Lift Station, also needed to grant the city access before they could proceed. Access to the Farr Property was granted in February.

Thereafter, Points designed a sewer line in-house, and Kasberg Patrick & Associates, LP (KPA) designed a drainage channel between Royal Heights and Liberty Hill Drive. With these two designs combined, Points said the project would amount to an opinion of probable construction costs (OPCC) of approximately $280 thousand.

Due to COVID-19, a virtual public bid opening was held on May 5, and five bids were received. Bruce Flanigan Construction, Inc. offered the second lowest bid at $209,209.90; therefore, Points recommended that the city authorize a contract with this company for the Liberty Hill Lift Station Offload project.

“We believe Bruce Flanigan has the capability and the quality of work to construct this job,” Points said.

Council unanimously voted in favor of executing a contract with Bruce Flanigan Construction, Inc.

Listi returned to discuss three utility assistance programs regarding financial COVID-19 relief.

The first program was approved by council on March 24: the elimination of four percent credit card fees and the $1.25 convenience fee for all City of Belton online payments. This program is set to last until at least Sept. 30.

Secondly, Listi proposed a utility payment plan policy, or assistance for Belton citizens warranting additional time to pay their utility bills. Listi proposed that the utility bill cutoff due to non-payment be extended for 90 additional days, or until Aug. 31. Delinquent, or late, bills are also being administered in a 7-month payment plan, lasting until December.

His third recommendation was for council to partner with United Way of Central Texas for a Utility Assistance Policy. By donating $10 thousand to UWCT from the city’s Water and Wastewater Fund “for residents in serious need of help,” Listi said Belton residents would have the opportunity to apply for assistance.

“This offer by the United Way is something that we really believe would be a significant gift to our citizens and something that we ought to participate in,” Listi said.

Council unanimously approved of these programs.