By Jade Ortego

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON - In honor of the approximately 900,000 police officers in the United States and the dangers they regularly face in their line of work, Belton Mayor Jim Covington on Tuesday proclaimed this week to be Police Week. May 15 is Peace Officers Memorial Day.

Police Chief Gene Ellis accepted the proclamation at Tuesday's city council meeting, and announced a new addition to the department, a blue dog mascot who will promote a tobacco, drug and gang-free lifestyle to children.

The BPD will hold a naming contest among Belton elementary schools for the dog, whose blue color is to be associated with police, not Temple, Ellis said.

Covington proclaimed next week to be Public Works Week, which was accepted by Public Works Director Les Hallbauer. "We couldn't do what we do without your help," Covington said. "The majority of Belton citizens don't notice public works. They take you for granted."

Hallbauer also reviewed the progress of the recently implemented brush collection service, which costs residents $3 a month. From March 30 to April 30, the city removed brush 649 times. Though brush pick-up in Belton is by request, either by phone or online, 488 of those instances were driver-initiated.

"It may not be in the public mind that it's not just a drive-around service. People should call for pickup," city manager Sam Listi said.

Brush that is mixed with trash will not be removed, Hallbauer said. The brush is chipped and used as mulch in city parks.

Also Tuesday, Covington and city council members Marion Grayson and John Agan took the oath of office to begin their new terms. The city canceled the election this year, as all incumbents ran unopposed. Grayson was also renamed mayor pro tem.

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