Belton’s future continues on positive track
Monday, 21 January 2013 by David Tuma
With the growth of the Belton community there have been many positives. The development of The Gin on Nolan Creek and the addition of a new movie theater and one of the finest grocery stores in the state the Belton economy is hopping.
Tax rebate dollars from the state are up 10 percent this year. This past year ended with $3,848,203 dollars received from the state up from $3,480,030 from 2011. Rebate dollars were $601,000 up from the depths of the recession in 2009. Rebate dollars are received off of sales from business and the account for a huge part of the City of Belton's budget.
"The Lake Rd. area has really grown in terms of retail businesses. We have growth downtown with The Gin and shops in the downtown area. We are getting a Starbucks," said City of Belton's Finance Director Cristy Daniell.
Sales taxes are a big part of the budget and account for around 24 percent of the City of Belton's annual budget. That number doesn't include the property taxes businesses pay.
"If businesses fail then the tax burden can fall on residents to provide services. We are making the change from small town to a city. It is similar to what Georgetown went through," said Daniell.
"Belton is a great place to live with good schools and a quality of life. That is what attracts people here. The new HEB goes with who we are as a community."
Belton's population has grown to 18,981 and is coming close to adding the retail business to fit the needs of that many residents. Housing starts in Belton increased to 112 up from 69 in 2009, LaCachette a new 1,500 home subdivision will start building homes in 2013. Dawson Ranch is adding a 140 home development. Liberty Ranch a new subdivision is developing 62 lots.
Tuscan River subdivision will start building homes in 2014 near the Leon River Golf Course. The first phase will be just north of Belton on the right side of Hwy. 317 and the second phase will be the golf course property. Hubbard Ranch is a 500 home subdivision in South Belton that will begin in 2013.
It takes infrastructure to make things happen in terms of development and that takes planning on the long term. Belton has done that with the expansion of Sparta Road that brought the new HEB to Belton. "The future looks very positive for Belton. We are encouraging businesses with our developments. We have a new capital improvements committee that will plan the long term needs of our community. Our goal is to plan for the next 10-years. The committee will make recommendations based. When you build schools and roads you need water and sewer services. You also need fire and police protection. Growth is positive but it does create challenges. We have been blessed with property and sales tax increases that us keep up with the growth from a financial stand point," said Belton City Manager Sam Listi.
Some of the major developments recently have been UMHB's planned 100-million expansions of the next two or three years, BISD's 60-million, CGI, Aspen Air, McGuire Tire, Grand Avenue Theater, HEB, the Gin area, Belton Chamber's expansion and Starbucks.
The Nolan Creek Trail Phase II extension will begin in 2013. Funding is from a grant from the state. It will take the trail to the UMHB campus. In phase I the area along Nolan Creek was made into on of the most scenic in Bell County. This latest expansion will include a walking bridge over Nolan Creek.
The Chisholm Trail Corridor Hike and Bike Facility will begin in the summer of 2013.
The City of Belton is also applying for another grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for the development of water recreation on Nolan Creek.
It has been one of the best two or three years in Belton's long history the past few years and more improvements are coming.