Local cities to receive more money from child safety fees | Business | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

Bell County municipalities will get more money than ever this year for child safety programs thanks to a small fee paid by each driver in the area.

Officials said this year the county collected a total of $465,069 from vehicle registrations during the 2023 fiscal year. Each driver in the county, when renewing their vehicle registration each year, has to pay an additional $1.50.

This pool of collected money is distributed proportionately to each municipality in the county each year according to their 2020 U.S. Census numbers.

At the Commissioners Court Monday meeting, Bell County Tax Assessor-Collector Shay Luedeke said he loved this part of the year because he got to give back to the community.

“This is the best time of the year when the tax assessor-collector gets to give money away instead of always taking it,” Luedeke said. “Though I know it is by statute and I am supposed to give it away, it still feels good.”

Money that is allocated to the cities has requirements on how it is spent under state law, officials said.

If the local cities have crossing guard programs, state law dictates that all the money must go there. If they don’t have crossing guard programs, funds can instead go to programs enhancing the health and safety of children as well as helping to prevent drug and alcohol abuse.

Money from the program can also go to aid with the funding of public safety and security programs in the city.

While cities have to follow these rules on distributing funds, the money for the unincorporated part of the county goes in to the county’s general fund.

Officials noted that, while this money goes into the general fund, the county does use money from the fund to provide safety services and fund other organizations that do similar work.

“That money does go into the general fund and there are different requirements for the county versus the municipalities,” Tina Entrop, the county auditor, said.

At the meeting, Luedeke broke down where all of the money will go this year, with each city expected to receive more than previous years.

Killeen, the county’s biggest city, will receive 41.3% of the fund or $172,866.15 of the funds, while Temple, the second biggest city, will receive 22.14% or $92,669.65.

Bell County will receive 15.96% of the fund, or $66.802.50, for the unincorporated areas of the community.

Harker Heights will receive 8.93% or $37,377.60, while Belton will get 6.22% or $26,034.56.

Nolanville is set to get 1.6% of the money with $6,696.99, while Morgan’s Point Resort will see 1.25% of the money or $5,232.03

The remaining communities each had less than 1% of the population and will get receive smaller amounts.

Salado will receive $2,720.65, Troy is expected to get $2,678.80, Little River-Academy will receive $2,260.24, the city of Rogers is expected to get $1,255.69, Holland will get $1,213.83, and the city of Bartlett will get $753.41.

Luedeke said he is planning on attending the city council meetings of all the entities he can to personally award the money over the coming weeks.

The first meetings Luedeke plans to attend will take place this Thursday and will include Temple and Salado.

Those cities he cannot make it to, Luedeke said, he will send the money to officials.


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