By Sonya Campbell

Harker Heights Herald

BELTON - Two Belton police officers were honored during Tuesday's City Council meeting for their actions on the job in September.

Officer Carl Snellings, named Officer of the Quarter for the third quarter of 2010, was selected by his peers on an awards committee based on his actions in response to two sexual assault cases, both involving registered sex offenders.

Police Chief Gene Ellis said Snellings came across a suspicious vehicle on Sept. 2 at Belton Lake Park and discovered a 44-year-old registered sex offender sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl who had run away from South Texas. Also, further investigation by Detective David Jessup and Officer Thomas Ham led to charges against two Belton residents for harboring a runaway.

About two weeks later, Snellings and Officer Raul Montes responded to an aggravated sexual assault report at a Belton motel. Their investigation revealed a registered sex offender had located his estranged girlfriend, who was hiding from him, and allegedly sexually assaulted her. The suspect also reportedly assaulted the woman's 8-year-old son with a knife. The suspect, who fled to Nevada, was later arrested by U.S. marshals.

A meritorious service award was presented to Officer William Hamilton for his actions during the September flood.

Hamilton was credited with rescuing a 90-year-old woman who was trapped in her car by flood waters at Interstate 35 and Confederate Park Drive. Ellis said Hamilton, disregarding his own safety, rescued the woman moments before the car was overcome by flood waters.

Ellis also announced the 2010 "National Night Out" block party winners.

Those earning honors included the following: Best Block Party 2010, Circle Drive hosted by Patsy Blankenstein; Best Block Party first runner up, The Oaks, hosted by Dr. Jack Lamb and Mike Ward; and Rookie of the Year, Miller Heights, hosted by Jennifer Watson.

Also during the meeting, Joshua Koontz was sworn in as a police officer.

Koontz graduated from the Temple College Police Academy on June 9, 2010.

The council also approved an ordinance establishing the police department, as part of the process in pursuing "Recognized" status from the Texas Police Chiefs Association's Law Enforcement Best Business Practices Recognition program.

Also, the council approved an interlocal assistance agreement allowing the police department to participate in the Bell County Organized Crime Unit.

In other business, the council:

Approved a resolution authorizing the city to opt in to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs HOME Program Reservation System, for Homeowner Rehabilitation Assistance and for HRA-Disaster Relief.

Approved authorizing a Right of Entry and License between the city and the Texas Department of Transportation for access to, and planning for, acquisition of the TxDOT Area Engineer's Office at 1502-1506 Holland Road (FM 436) for Belton's Public Works Facility.

Conducted public hearings and approved first readings of ordinances granting commercial solid waste collection franchises to Allied Waste, Waste Management, IESI Corporation, Eagle Disposal, Kerr Refuse Service and Bell County Iron and Recycling.

Conducted a public hearing and approved first reading of an ordinance granting a residential solid waste collection franchise to Waste Management of Texas, Inc.

Commended the city's finance department for receiving a Certificate of Achievement for Financial Reporting for fiscal year 2009. Assistant City Manager Cristy Daniell and Assistant Finance Director Karen Evans and their team in the finance department were credited for their work.

Approved the appointment of Connie Swinden and reappointment of Nancy Kelsey to three-year terms on the library board. Swinden replaces Mary Ann Clark, who is not eligible to serve again because of term limits.

Conducted a work session on Avenue D construction.

Authorized façade easement grants to Wes and Aida Riddle for Aida's Outlet at 110 E. Central Ave., and to Dennis Holle for his legal practice at 114 S. East St.

Approved assignment of a Tax Abatement Agreement for the Beltonian Theatre.

Contact Sonya Campbell at or (254) 501-7557.

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