By Hayley Kappes

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON – The city's midyear budget review presented to the City Council Tuesday evening showed decreased sales tax, building permits and hotel/motel tax revenue.

The budget review showed investment rates also dropped. The rate was 2.3 percent when the budget was drafted, and now it stands at 0.5 percent, Assistant City Manager Cristy Daniell said.

"The local economy is slowing. Interest investment rates are abysmal. Expenditures need to remain within the budget," Daniell said. "There's no reason for panic, but now is certainly not the time for increased spending."

Liability and property insurance costs are also lower from what they were in recent months.

Daniell said the city's budget, just more than $9 million, was created conservatively, and said the city will end up about even once the fiscal year is over.

She did not rule out the possibility that the council may need to approve amendments to the budget if the economy continues to recess and its effects are experienced in Belton.

As of now, Daniell said the budget surplus is estimated to be $22,773.

Ad valorem and sales tax make up the biggest part of Belton's budget at $3.36 million and $2.18 million respectively. Daniell said to be prepared for a decrease in those areas over the next couple of months.

Daniell said the city's financial department will continue to monitor the hotel/motel tax and sales tax.

"We obviously want to look at the review and expenditures and make sure we're in shape," City Manager Sam Listi said. "Now is not the time to spend money just because you have it."Belton City Council action

The council approved the following:

A right-of-way agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for funds for the following projects: widening of State Highway 317, the Farm-to-Market 439 realignment project and the FM 439 widening project from State Highway 317 to the western city limits.

An ordinance creating reinvestment zone No. 10 for tax abatement for Stoney Brook of Belton at 500 River Fair Blvd.

Additional professional services by KPA Engineers for unanticipated right-of-way costs associated with the Avenue D and FM 93 projects.

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