Belton City Council

BELTON — For weeks Bell County residents vowed that if their property became a part of Belton they would immediately pursue disannexation.

Well, the City Council has made that easier.

Tuesday evening, Mayor pro tem Craig Pearson informed the audience of Bell County residents crammed into the Harris Community Center that if their property is a part of the newly annexed 120.27 acres, they have a way out of the city. There are four residences and one business in the new areas of Belton.

Pearson explained residents must check three items before disannexing.

First, apply and receive an agricultural, timber or wildlife management tax exemption from the Bell County Tax Appraisal District.

Second, ask the city of Belton for a non-annexation development agreement that the City Council would then approve.

Finally, pursue disannexation from Belton.

“In other words, the City Council may feel it is important to proceed with this annexation today, but may also be receptive to future considerations of development agreements and disannexation if an eligible exemption for agriculture, timber or wildlife is achieved for one or more properties,” Pearson said.

This opportunity to disannex is specifically for the Bell County residents who were annexed Tuesday evening, Belton spokesman Paul Romer said. The city has not addressed whether it will affect past annexations, he added.

The development agreements are a win-win for residents and Belton, the mayor pro tem said.

“They provide insurance for both the city and the property owner and guarantees no annexation for 10 years,” he said, adding when the agreements end they will not be annexed.

Of the 93 properties that were eligible for development agreements, 73 owners signed, 19 did not sign the contract and one declined.

Councilman John Holmes, who opposed annexation, said he appreciated that the city will allow residents to pursue this opportunity from the Tax Appraisal District.

“We do know this was a question for several property owners who don’t have that exemption right now,” Mayor Marion Grayson said. “This gives them the opportunity to do that. Even if they get annexed, they can present that and it can be considered later.”

“And we hope you will,” Pearson said.