By Devin Corbitt, The Belton Journal
The Belton City Council met in a quick and succinct meeting Tuesday night, but the items on the agenda were anything but small.
Topping the list of big-ticket items was the authorization of City Manager Sam Listi to execute an agreement with Kasberg, Patrick & Associates to design the intersection of Loop 121 and the Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue extension. The design will include a turning lane on the southbound side of Loop 121 onto MLK Ave., which will require widening the road in that spot, as well as a traffic light to help prevent traffic accidents and backup.
The bid for construction of the MLK Ave. extension came in significantly lower than expected, leaving excess grant money available to the city. The staff felt using the extra funds to construct a safer intersection at Loop 121 would prove most beneficial to residents.
“I’m so glad we’re getting this done,” councilmember Craig Pearson said. “We’re not going to have to open that (intersection) and then do some work there after we’ve just opened the bridge. This just makes so much sense.”
The next two items will lead to the creation of 175 new jobs in the Belton community through TRUmh, a mobile home construction company that opened its doors in 2013. These jobs will have starting salaries of $25,000. The company currently operates out of a 133,173 square foot building on Sparta Road and employs just over 200 people.
On Tuesday, the council approved a development agreement between TRUmh and the Belton Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) that will allow TRUmh to remodel and upgrade an existing building adjacent to their existing facility. The project, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, will cost the company an estimated $6.3 million, including renovations and equipment, and add 127,884 square feet to their operations.
According to the agreement, the BEDC will support TRUmh’s initiative to bring an additional 175 jobs to the community by investing $481,250 into the project, which will be paid back in 5.4 years. From this investment, the city will receive a 20.6 percent rate of return each year for the next 10 years, for a total of $993,116 in net benefits.
“I think it’s exciting any time 175 new jobs come to our community,” Mayor Marion Grayson said. “It’s even more exciting when it’s 175 jobs from a business that’s already existing. That says a lot about our community and the value they see by being here.”
In conjunction with this, the council also unanimously agreed to waive property taxes on TRUmh’s new property for five years. The property is located within the Tax Abatement Reinvestment Zone #8. To qualify, a property must meet one of three criteria: eal property improvements, personal property improvements, or job creation, which TRUmh meets.
After hearing a lovely report on city infrastructure needs from Public Works Director Mike Huber, the council held the first public hearing on combination tax and limited revenue certificates of obligation for various city projects, including Phase I of the Temple-Belton Wastewater Treatment Plant redevelopment and the Nolan Creek Trunk Sewer Line replacement. The maximum debt offering was set at $9,995,000. The next public hearing will be held March 24 and final action is scheduled for April 14.
The night’s consent agenda contained two items: the minutes of the previous meeting and awarding proposals for bank depository services. In the second, the city voted to continue banking with First State Bank Central Texas, which does not charge fees for use. The city has banked with FSB since 2000.
The Belton City Council will reconvene March 24 at 5:30 p.m. in the Harris Community Center, 401 N. Alexander in Belton.