The Belton Journal
The Belton City Council Meeting was held on June 28, with all members present except Councilmember Daniel Boucher and Councilmember David Leigh. There were 15 items on the agenda for the Council to consider.
Sam Listi, City Manager, presented some overview comments for the fiscal year 2023 Budget Workshop. Listi said the uncertainties from COVID-19 appear to have dissipated, and puts fiscal year 2023 in a positive, strong growth and development, favorable position.
A second work session on the fiscal year 2023 Annual Budget was presented to the Council by Mike Rodgers, Finance Director. Rodgers presented a preliminary budget for the city’s general fund, debt service fund, information technology fund, building maintenance fund, hotel/motel tax fund, tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ), and the Belton Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) fund.
Rodgers presented a side-by-side power point, using a Preliminary Budget Comparison of all Funds for the FY2022 Annual Budget and the FY2023 Annual Budget. The FY2022 Annual Budget has revenues of $36,383,280, after transfers between funds. Expenditures for FY2022 total $34,180,640, after transfers between funds.
The FY2023 Annual Budget has preliminary revenues of $43,749,580, after transfers between funds. Expenditures total $41,296,260, after transfers between funds. The comparison shows a 20 percent increase over the FY22 budget. The significant difference in the FY2023 budget is due to sales tax revenue and permitting fees surpass budget by $640,000 and $320,000, respectively. Property tax for 2022 may finish the year $203,000, short of budget. Total Expenditures are expected to fall in line with the FY 2022 budget.
Y2023 preliminary adjusted property tax increases over 18 percent. Significant changes in the General Fund costs increase with personnel costs, a two percent cost of labor adjustment, and merit increases up to five percent for all non-civil service employees. Two General Fund positions have been added for a Deputy Court Clerk, a Regional Director of Law Enforcement Peer Network, and the Director of Parks & Recreation position will be reclassified to a Recreation Superintendent position.
Other significant changes in the General Fund are the result of fuel cost expenditures, annual street maintenance, and refuse collection costs increased due to a growing customer base. Facade Grants for $95,350, have been approved for eight businesses for fiscal ear 2023.
Inflation, interest rates, and mortgage rates are impacting the construction industry. The construction industry component represents 29 percent of total sales tax for the General Fund. Rodgers said that it’s unlikely the construction industry will come to a halt, but the pace of growth might slow down. The council said they have no desire adopt a properet tax rate increase that is greater than the voter approved rate.
The city council will discuss the 2023-2027 Capital Improvement Program on July 12. On July 26, there will be a presentation of fee schedule changes. The fiscal year 2023 proposed annual budget will be presented to the council on Aug. 9, with a call date for public hearing on the proposed budget. There will be a proposal for a property tax rate, and a call date for public hearing on the property tax rate. On September 6, there will be a special meeting for a public hearing on the budget and property tax rate. The council will receive public input on the Strategic Plan and adopt a fee schedule. On Sept. 13, the ouncil will adopt the strategic plan, fiscal year 2023 annual budget, and tax rate.
For more information on the budget and timelines for giving public comments on the budget, you can go to www.beltontexas.gov.
The council authorized the award of $850,000, small business grants funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) for Belton small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Sam Listi, City Manager, presented the Council with a list of the Belton small businesses that were approved by a five-member, small business grant committee. The committee was appointed by Mayor Carpenter and was made up of, Councilmember Pearson, Councilmember Holmes, Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Brent Burks, Finance Director Mike Rodgers, CVB & Tourism Manager Judy Garrett, and City Manager Sam Listi, to review the applications and make recommendations for the ARPA funds.
A total of 54 applications were received, including for profit and nonprofit businesses. Listi joked that, “It’s a lot harder to give away money than you might think.” Award letters will go out to the approved businesses in the first week of July. The grant amount, and the terms of the expenditures and reimbursements will be included in the letter. The recipients will have until Dec. 31, 2023 to spend the money, then be reimbursed with the ARPA grant money. For businesses operating for profit, the ARPA grant funds totaled $789,010. Nonprofit business received a total of $60,960, for a total of $849,970, distributed to small businesses who applied, and qualified, for the ARPA grants.
The Council adopted the Imagine Belton Plan. On May 10, the City Council, BEDC, and TIRZ conducted a joint meeting for a presentation of the Imagine Belton Plan. The Plan began as a marketing vision of Belton Economic Development Corporation with the goals to serve as a guide for investment in the core of the Belton Community; improve connection into Downtown Belton; and uize unique characteristics of Belton, especially Nolan Creek, more effectively.
Sam Listi, City Manager, called the plan guided by BEDC, a dynamic plan thathat seeks to build on unique Belton assets and partnerships to achieve meaningful and visible results in the vicinity of Downtown. Imagine Belton is a path forward, while preserving the past. The plan was created in 1990 by the BEDC with a mission to enhance the economy of the City of Belton.
Councilmember O’Banion called the plan very exciting. “I think it’s the plan that will take us to the next level. Standing on the Service of Giants, we work so hard to get to where we are,”she said.
“As a citizen, sometimes you lose vision and goals, and to have somebody come from the outside with the latest, greatest, and neatest design, it’s really exciting,” Holmes said.
“It’s one of the most exciting things I’ve seen,” Councilmember Pearson said.
Mayor Carpenter said that the vision that UMHB has shared for this Plan is very exciting to him.
The plan will assist primary industry to expand or locate into the community. It opens opportunities for investment throughout the Downtown plan area. It will serve as a guide for future growth and development in Downtown, to capitalize on the unique feature of the plan area. Building on the concepts in the 2030 comprehensive plan, the plan utilized public input to create a vision for the connected safe, and walkable Downtown.