The Levelland City Council met Monday night in a regular meeting. The full report of that meeting is below………
1) Texas Capital Fund Grant—The council held a public hearing on the possible application of a grant for Main Street. The grant is under the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 and the 1983 Texas Community Development Program. The city has submitted a grant application for the past 2 years to the Texas Department of Agriculture. The city can apply for a $150,000 grant from the Texas Community Foundation and must provide a match of $45,000. The cities total proposed cost is $206,142 with a match of $56,142. The grant would be used to redo sidewalks and provide ADA compliance from Ave G to Ave H on east side of downtown area, and an area on Austin between Avenue F and G.
Following the public hearing the council approved staff submitting the grant.
The council heard a request for funds from the Hotel Occupancy Tax Fund. Mary Siders of the Levelland Chamber of Commerce was present and reported that the Roy Cooper World Championship Junior Calf Roping is considering holding their event in July 2014 at the Mallet Event Center in Levelland. It has been held in Denton in the past. The request was for $18,500 for advertising, awards, event payout and facility rental which are all legal expenses through the Hotel Occupancy Tax Fund. It is estimated that over 700 contestants would be participating in the event and using 5-7 hotels including some that would be in Lubbock. It was also reported that the American Junior Rodeo which was held in Levelland the past 2 years has elected to move to Sweetwater for their 2014 event.
The council also took action to approve budget amendments for 2012-2013 budget. The amendments totaled $37,930.
The council also took action to make nominations to the Hockley County Appraisal District Board of Directors. The council voted to nominate the 5 incumbents which are, Larry Carter, William Clements, Iris Keeling, FE Shaheen, and Raymon Jackson.
The council also took action to approve new garbage rates and utility bill collection procedures on second and final reading.
At the beginning of the public comment section of the meeting, City Attorney Richard Husen addressed the standing room only crowd present including numerous paid and volunteer fire fighters. He stated that “in regards to recent personnel action taken by city administration, city staff had researched and could find no evidence that the old piece of equipment which was apparently sold by Chief Otis Stark was indeed the property of the Volunteer Fire Department NOT the City as was originally thought by city staff. Thus the adverse action taken should not and will not be taken. Stark was reinstated as fire chief for the city of Levelland after being terminated approximately 2 weeks ago by City Manager Rick Osburn. Numerous people got up following that statement including Landon Durham, a member of the Volunteer Fire Department, who requested some direction from City Attorney and City Staff on donations to the Volunteer Fire Department. City staff assured him they will get that information to the Volunteers. Several other citizens stood up questioning such a large mistake. A former City employee who was terminated stood up and commented that him and another employee was fired for doing the same thing the fire chief did. Several other citizens stood up in his support and even went as far as demanding the resignation of the city manger since he had knowledge of this activity. No one from the council made any comment–it was pointed out by legal counsel on numerous occasions that during the public comment section of a meeting the council cannot comment as per state law and the Texas Open Meetings Act.
Larry Bradley, a Hockley County Resident and Levelland Tax Payer stated he requested to be on the agenda for tonights meeting with City Attorney Richard Husen last week and he was not on the agenda. He stated he had a complaint against a city employee but would not address any further until he is on the agenda.
Jake Madewell a member of the Volunteer Fire Department also spoke briefly asking for a formal apology from City Administration to the Volunteer Fire Department for the public humiliation the department has endured the past 2 weeks.
After several comments, most repeating previous comments the meeting was adjourned.