By Jade Ortego

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON – Bell County commissioners approved a tax abatement economic development incentive policy Monday.

The policy would provide tax breaks to certain businesses that apply to the county for the incentive. The criteria for the tax incentives are reviewed for renewal every two years, Bell County Judge Jon H. Burrows said.

"This provides some consistency on the tax abatement policy in the region," Belton City Manager Sam Listi said.

Abatements will not be given to businesses with a competitive advantage over existing businesses in the same area.

They can be granted for either real property improvements or business personal property, but not both, unless the project exceeds $500,000 in taxable value.

A business worth less than $250,000 in real property is eligible for three to five years of abatement with a fee reduction of up to 50 percent. A business worth between $250,000 and $500,000 in real property is eligible for six to 10 years of abatement with a fee reduction of up to 60 percent.

A business worth more than $500,000 in real property is eligible for a maximum of 10 years of abatement with a negotiable fee reduction, up to 100 percent.

Requests for abatements will not be considered if the project is under way before the application is submitted.

The court also:

Authorized the county to distribute and maintain the costs of cell phones for some county employees.

Authorized the county to allocate $59,400, through the Violence Against Women Act grant, to be spent on digital cameras and recording equipment to help prosecute perpetrators of domestic violence.

Contact Jade Ortego or or (254) 501-7553.

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