Sunday, April 20, 2014
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City Council takes on several big agenda items

By Grayson Edds
Managing Editor

In one of the big items on Tuesday’s agenda, the council approved the combination tax and limited revenue certificates of obligation, series 2013. The approval of the $6.825 million by the council, without voter approval, was placed privately with a local bank through a bid process.

Regions Bank won the bid with an interest rate offer of 3.078 percent, falling well below the expected 3.75 percent. By taking this route, the council secured a reasonable rate when faced with a recent spike in interest rates, although doing so removed the necessity of voter approval.
The council also held a public hearing and considered the final plat for BISD’s Chisholm Trail Elementary School, which proved to involve difficult decisions on both parties. Because of the location of the school, BISD isn’t sold on building a sidewalk without developments on the land surrounding the school. The district feels that “the proposed sidewalk will be an inefficient use of taxpayer funding since they will terminate onto undeveloped property,” according to their request for variance.
The City, however, approved the plat as is – with the sidewalk – because of their expectations of the developments of the property in the future, and the increase in expense to add the sidewalk in the future when it becomes “necessary” according to BISD. Council members also felt that by allowing the district to stray from the standard set for expectations of plats of this kind, that the district would then set an unwelcome  precedent for builders to expect to do the same in future developments.
And in other big business, the council voted to place a proposal to adopt a tax rate of $0.6598, the same as in Fiscal Year 2013, during the Tues., Sept. 17, meeting. In doing so, the council also announced two public hearings on the proposed tax rate to be held Tues., Aug. 27, and Tues., Sept. 10, at 5:30 p.m. at the Harris Community Center, 401 N. Alexander St.
One of the first items on Tuesday night’s City Council meeting was the appointment of the Youth Advisory Commission (YAC) board and chair. Eight local youth were appointed to the board: Taylor Bailey, Montana Minnis, Cooper Ross, Christina Gaw, Tamah Minnis, Mariah Trevino, Nashanth Lavendra, Austyn Perry and Samantha Waggoner. Waggoner was also appointed as chair.
Mayor Jim Covington and all council members expressed their gratitude for the work that the YAC does for the city, including countless hours of community service that’s primarily spent beautifying Belton. The YAC is still accepting interested youth to be a part of the YAC T.E.A.M. For more information on YAC, please contact Sandy Slade at (254) 939-5860.