Levelland City Council Meets in Regular Session

City Council met in a regular meeting. They began with a budget worksession which was recessed until Tuesday at 6pm…..

In the regular meeting……

Council approved a proposed property tax rate of .728 cents up less than 1% from the current tax rate of .726 cents per 100 dollars property value. It was noted that the effective tax rate which is the rate required to raise an equal amount of income as this year would be the .729 cents. It was pointed out by city administration that the budget being proposed will require dipping into the city’s reserves to pay for some capital projects being discussed. The mayor countered that in every budget there is money being spent that is unnecessary—KLVT news will have a detailed story later this week on the budget being proposed, including major expenditures pertaining to public safety. The proposed increase amounts to roughly $2 a year on a $100,000 home.

The council also approved moving forward with the engineering agreement and development of the new landfill. According to a timeline presented by city staff the full development would be approximately 1 year. It was noted on a project of this magnitude it is hard to work with a timeline according to developers.

Mayor Jackson requested that an item to take action on making a digital recording of all council meetings. City Attorney Richard Husen pointed out that in court there is always the issue of technical issues and quality control. It was pointed out by the mayor there was action taken to give the attorney authority to issue a legal document in a past meeting that after searching the minutes from all previous meeting in the past 1 ½ years it was never given. It was pointed out that the minutes of the previous meetings are always approved by the council at the next meeting. After much discussion the motion was made by Max Ledesma and seconded by Joe Bill Vardeman to purchase the system for $1300. Councilman Billy Youngblood said he felt the city secretary was doing a good job and he did not see the need for it. It passed on a vote of 3-2 with Larry Davidson, Billy Youngblood voting against and Max Ledesma and JoeBill Vardeman voting in favor—Mayor Jackson cast the deciding vote in favor.

The council then heard a presentation from Levelland Economic Development Director Shawn Kirkpatrick on the current agreement between the city and the LEDC. It was noted that the agreement needs updated since the LEDC has a full time staff member. It was noted that the salary and all expenses for the EDC director and administrative assistant are all reimbursed to the city by the EDC. Those expenses are NOT paid by the City as was believed by the mayor, Director Shawn Kirkpatrick presented documents to the mayor to show that. The mayor said numerous times he wanted the EDC out of City Hall. After much discussion the motion was made by Billy Youngblood to amend the current agreement but for the EDC to remain in city hall as was approved by voters many years ago when the 3/8 cent sales tax was approved for Economic Development. According to state law there are only two oversights the city council has over EDC’s in the state and that is approving the appointment of board members and approval of the budget. It was also pointed out by the mayor that City Attorney Richard Husen was given the directive a year ago by council to issue a cease and desist letter to Chi Energy to stop using water from a well in the city rail park near where they are located. It was never found in the minutes of the meeting. Chi Energy has legal documents that states they own the water rights to that well as part of the land purchase made by Farmers Co-Op. After much discussion the EDC will handle the issue since they hold ownership to the rail park not the City of Levelland. S. Kirkpatrick said the EDC board will meet in August and will likely give approval to go out and hire outside legal counsel since staff attorney Richard Husen will likely be called as a material witness in the case. The council did not give approval for a letter to be sent by the city council it is an EDC matter. It was pointed out that legal action will likely be taken by EDC in the coming months against Chi Energy which it was pointed out is the #2 taxpayer in Levelland.

In the public comment section of the meeting……

JOE DEE BROOKS spoke in full support of the LEDC saying……
the water thing needs to be dealt with but says “I am totally to in support of the LEDC.”……
“They’ve added about 350 to 400 jobs in the rail park.”

“If the City earns the trust of the public, the money will come in.” He also spoke in favor of the LEDC.

Richard Ellis stated……
“If I was a Houston business man and come to a city council meeting I would not see what Levelland is about.” “We are exposing our reputation to the world through these meetings”

About Drew Dunn

News Director for KLVT AM 1230 in Levelland. We provide local and regional news updates 5 times a day on KLVT AM 1230 and online at www.klvtradio.com
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