Belton dog park proposal meets indecision

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Editor’s note: A special meeting is taking place Tuesday, July 2, in Belton to discuss this matter further. The Journal will update this information as soon as possible.

The final reading for a dog park to be operated in Belton’s Markey Park failed passage during the June 25 meeting of the City Council.

The first reading of the issue had taken place on June 11, and had passed with only Councilmen Lathrop and Savage in opposition.

However, two weeks later, only four voted in favor of the measure, and four (Councilmen Neff, Lathrop, Hoag, and Savage) voted against it. Councilman Everett Loughridge was absent from the meeting.

Neff expressed a problem with the dog park’s potential conflict with future Community Days celebrations, as Markey Park hosts the annual event. Neff said that he needed a plan to be in place before he could vote in favor of the dog park.

Councilmen Lathrop, Hoag, and Savage took issue with the site for the park.

“I’m not against the dog park, except in this location,” said Lathrop.

Councilman Chet Trutzel, however, was in favor of the park and its location, explaining that the City would be getting a “bang for our buck” in the situation.

Councilman Jeff Fletcher also spoke favorably of the measure. He said that the existing fence and parking lot are each a “plus” for the park.

With four voting in favor and four voting against, the measure failed.

Another business item was the final reading for an amendment to the City’s zoning map, changing a 10.22-acre tract on North Scott south of Turner Road from R-3 (multi-family residential) to M-1 and C-2 (light manufacturing and general commercial, respectively). Carriage Works, Inc., plans to move into this location.

Mayor Jeff Davis said he was “proud,” adding, “This is a good thing for North Scott, and it’s gonna be exciting.”

The City Council also approved an ordinance that amends water rates and sewer system rates of the Unified Development Code, after amending the implementation date from July 1 to August 1.

“The rates are being increased to cover the debt service on the new improvements to the water system and the sewer system, and those improvements will be paid for by a bond issue that was approved by the voters in the April election,” said City Manager Ron Trivitt.

Single residential customers’ bills will be increased by $17.50 per month, and non-residential customers’ bills by $30 per month.

Councilman Neff clarified, “These are taxpayer-voted initiatives that are driving the increases, and the numbers are a little bit different than what was initially thought because the use tax did not pass, so that drives up the monthly cost associated with the bill. So since the use tax didn’t go into place, that’s why the rates are now escalated beyond some of the communications that came out of the earlier bond issue. I think that’s important for everyone to understand.”

Council also unanimously approved several readings, including agreements with Redzone Robotics for a wastewater interceptor study and with Time Warner Cable Business Class for internet access for the public works and fire departments. Council also approved a motion for the purchase of a $7,400 air compressor for the transportation division.

Jay Leipzig, Director of Community Development, concluded the meeting with a report on economic development.

A Community and Economic Development Department is being created, and on June 17, codes enforcement was transferred smoothly to the Police Department.

Leipzig also reported on the status of key projects. He said that they are working with Westlake’s Hardware to find an alternate location within the City. Menards is continuing to move forward, and the department expects development to “coincide with Markey Parkway.” The parkway’s construction is expected to begin in Spring 2014.

As for the 155th Street improvements, staff has been working with the owners of the Belton Inn to redevelop that site.

Carriage Works, Inc., is expected to begin construction on North Scott at the end of this year or spring of next year.

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