The Belton Journal
During the June 13 Belton City Council meeting, Finance Director Mike Rodgers led a work session on budget considerations and council input for the 2024 General and Debt Service Fund.
The session focused on various aspects of the fund, including the Water, Sewer & Drainage Fund. Additionally, the Councilmembers were presented with a draft budget that is in the early stages of planning and may undergo revisions based on ongoing discussions and feedback.
The presentation also included the fiscal years 2024-2028 Capital Improvement Program and Councilmembers were given the opportunity to provide input on projects and scheduling for inclusion in the fiscal year 2024 budget.
The new fiscal year starts Oct. 1, 2023.
The fiscal year 2024 draft budget for the Water & Sewer Fund includes projected revenues of $14,027,320 and proposed expenses of $13,892,100. This results in an increase to the fund balance of $135,220 and a projected unrestricted net asset of $6,852,756 by September 30, 2024. The City has a fund balance policy to maintain a minimum reserve requirement of 25% of budgeted expenditures, and the current unrestricted reserve balance is around $6,717,536, which is 55.3% of the proposed budgeted expenses. The current unrestricted reserve balance of $6,717,536 is higher than the minimum reserve requirement of 25% of budgeted expenditures set by the City’s fund balance policy. This means that the Water & Sewer Fund has a healthy reserve balance that can be used for any purpose, without any restriction placed on its use.
Water base rates in the city limits for 2024 are budgeted at $17, with no increase over the fiscal year 2023 rates. Water Volumetric Rates in the city limits for 2024 are budgeted at $3.70 for domestic use, and $4.12 for sprinkler use, with no increase over fiscal year 2023 rates. Customers outside the city limits pay 1.25 times the rates as shown.
The fiscal years 2024-2028 Capital Improvements Program is a flexible document with changing priorities that represents the City’s plan for infrastructure development over a specific period, in this case five-years. Over $76,000,000 of capital projects have been identified for the next five years, $30,704,000 of which is scheduled in fiscal year 2024. Projects totaling $28,021,000 may be funded with bonds.
On behalf of the City of Belton, Paul Romer joined with Paul Daugereau from Waste Management to present the 2023 Belton-Waste Management Scholarship recipients. For 2023 the City had seven total applicants. Each judge was provided a packet with the applicant material with instructions to rank the applicants by merit from 1-7.
The Judges Panel consisted of Amy Casey, Joe Dyer, Chief Jon Fontenot, Candice Griffin, Lindsey Weaver, Councilmember Wayne Carpenter, and May David K. Leigh. Waste Management and the City of Belton have worked in partnership for 11 years awarding scholarships in Belton.
This year’s scholarship recipients were Mylie Hammonds receiving $2,000; Brianna La Motte, $1,000; Grant Baggerly, $500; and Thomas Nelson, $500. All recipients are top scholars and recognized for significant school honors, volunteer service, and many contributions to their schools. Paul Daugereau, Waste Management, said that counting this year, together they have awarded 19 scholarships for a total of $29,000.
City of Belton Public Information Officer, Paul Romer, announced that The City of Belton was recently honored with two prestigious awards at the Texas Association of the Municipal Information Officers annual conference. Out of a total of 547 submissions, Belton was selected as a winner in two categories – The TAMI Award for Best Social Media Post for a City population of 100,000 or less and the Award of Excellence for Best Small Shop. The Best Small Shop category recognizes the work of municipal communicators with a staff of one or two employees.
Belton’s entry showcased their exceptional content creation, including the Belton Police Department Oath Post, the video of Bison on the Loose in Belton, The Imagine Belton Plan, and the Strategic Communications Plan. These awards are examples of dedication and the hard work of Belton’s communication team.
“Being a finalist alone is a significant achievement in a competition as fierce as this,” said Romer.
The Best Social Media Post highlighted the Belton Police Oath post, where Belton Police Resource Officers and Command Staff went in front of Belton High School teachers at an in-service day at the beginning of the school year and pledged to protect lives and stop violence even if it required them acting alone. The timing was significant because the ending of the previous school year ended in the stabbing of a student. In terms of Facebook Metrics, the posts on the City’s Facebook page accounted for 23 percent of the total reach for the entire year of the City’s Facebook Page. The true impact of the post were felt by touching people’s hearts. Michael Perry wrote a simple post, “hell yeah.” Sharon Wells wrote, “this brought tears to my eyes as I realized what these men were pledging.”
Romer said, “When you touch hearts, sometimes people reach back out and they express gratitude, which is good for morale in a challenging profession.” As a Public Information Officer, Romer was recognized and applauded for his work in keeping the community informed, which often goes unnoticed. In concluding his presentation, he received a standing ovation for being a pillar of municipal information.
Thomas Nelson, Grant Baggerly, Mylie Hammonds, and Brianna LaMotte receive scholarships from Paul Daugereau from Waste Management, as part of the 2023 Belto