By Grayson Edds
With Constitution Week coming up next week, mayor pro tem Marion Grayson presented a proclamation as the first order of business during Tuesday’s City Council Meeting. The proclamation was presented to the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Children of the American Revolution stating “whereas, it is important that all citizens fully understand the provisions, principals, and meaning of the Constitution so they can support, preserve, and defend it against encroachment; and whereas Public Law 915 guarantees the issuance of a proclamation each year by the President of the United States designating September 17-23, 2013 as Constitution Week; and whereas this year marks the 256th anniversary of the framing of the Constitution by the Constitutional Convention…”
Thereafter, the Council approved the consent agenda, which included the reappointment of Mary Ann Clark as the City’s Alternate Lay Rep for a two year term and Kim Kroll will remain as the City’s Primary Lay Rep; Council approved authorization for the City Manager to take necessary steps toward selling a .776 acre of City-owned land located South of I-35 and Hale St. and also authorized him to execute a contract with KPA Engineers for the Wheat Road Construction Project, which was deemed necessary to allow for traffic to the 2015 Chisholm Trail Elementary School.
The City received public input on the City of Belton Strategic Plan Update that included two requests for consideration, one for road improvement at Hwy. 317 and Gutherie to ease traffic congestion and danger at rush hour, and the other for a community garden.
The City held another public hearing for the upcoming fiscal year’s budget, which will begin Oct. 1. No public comments were presented. The budget will be voted on Sept. 17 at 5:30 p.m. at the Harris Community Center.
The final public hearing was regarding the increase of total tax revenues. The proposed rate is $0.6590, a 1.95 percent raise. No public comments were presented. The proposed tax rate will also be voted on at the Sept. 17 City Council meeting at the Harris Center.
Public Works Director Mike Hubor presented a second and final reading of an ordinance granting Waste Management of Texas, Inc., the contract for solid waste collection, disposal and recycling services. With Council approval, new trash services are expected to begin in January. Hubor and Waste Management will hold a meeting Sept. 23 to discuss trash and recycling details for small businesses in Belton. Further information on that will come out subsequent the meeting.
The final agenda item was an ordinance regarding commercial burglar alarm systems in Belton presented by Belton Police Chief Gene Ellis. See story on A7.
Two workshop items were also presented to Council. The first of which was the unveiling of the City of Belton’s new website. See story on A7. And the second workshop session was conducted in light of the newly adopted Open Government Laws. Three new bills were set in place: House Bill 2414 allows for video conferencing to be permitted to conduct government meetings as long as certain circumstances are met; Senate Bill 1297 provides that communication between councilmembers about public business or public policy over which the council has supervision or control does not constitute a meeting if certain conditions are met. The communication must be in writing; posted to an online message board that is viewable and searchable by the public; and displayed in real time and displayed on the message board for no less than 30 days after the communication is first posted. And, finally, Senate Bill 1368, which is a modernized version of the Texas Public Information Act which now states that any government business conducted in any form to include text messaging, email, instant messaging boards, social media, along with the language included in the original bill.