SALADO — The Salado Board of Alderman voted to increase the Salado Volunteer Fire Department’s annual budget by $6,000. The unanimous vote was cast without discussion at the board’s Thursday meeting.
The request, which will be reflected in the department’s 2014-2015 budget, was made to offset revenue from Bell County lost when the village annexed three miles of Interstate 35.
In May, the board voted to move forward to annex the I-35 roadway and its frontage road from Farm-to-Market 2268 north to the Belton city limits.
The acquisition of the state roadway opened up future annexations.
The village can now annex abutting properties with owners’ consent, and blocked neighboring cities from encroaching into Salado’s growth areas, Mayor Danney McCort said at the time of the vote.
It also reduced the amount of money the county pays to the volunteer fire department. In a letter sent to the board, Shane Berrier, chief of the Salado Volunteer Fire Department, said from June to Jan. 1 the department lost $2,980 in revenue.
Before the annexation, the department would be reimbursed by the county for everything from traffic control to performing emergency medical services at wrecks on I-35, Berrier said.
Although the department isn’t currently reimbursed for emergency medical services, the county does provide funds for traffic control or cleaning up hazardous materials, such as a fuel spill.
The board also dealt with multiple issues regarding signage in the village. The board voted to approve variances to the sign ordinance for the Cefco gas station at 1022 W. Village Road and the Presbyterian Church of Salado.
A proposal put forth by Alderman Fred Brown to move the funding of the village’s gateway sign project from the general fund to the hotel occupancy tax fund became a point of contention among the board members.
Despite opinions from the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association and the village’s law firm advising that funds from hotel occupancy taxes can be used to create signage, some of members of the board remained unconvinced.
McCort said the village will have to pay “$400,000 or $500,000” for the bond election. The motion was unable to find a second.