The Levelland City Council met in a regular meeting Monday night. The full report from that meeting is below.
The council approved casting ballots for the Hockley County Appraisal District. The city is allowed a total of 250 votes. The city cast their 250 votes for their current representative on the board, Raymon Jackson.
The council also looked at an Atmos Energy rate increase request of 12.1% rate increase. As in the past the city will suspend the rate increase for 90 days and will join with a steering committee of several cities to evaluate the case. It is in the best interest of all involved that all cities have the same rate, however, Lubbock and Amarillo is fighting that. It is fully expected that the review case will have to go to Railroad Commission in order to be solved.
The council also looked at a 2014 Texas Department of Transportation Routine Airport Maintenance Program (RAMP Grant)
Over the past several years the city and Hockley County have used this grant program for various maintenance projects. Last year the fuel system was replaced at the airport. The proposed project for this year is misc. repairs to 18 hangers, fence repairs and driveway repairs. Their is a budget of $25,000 for airport maintenance, the county has approved proceeding with the grant and tonight the city approved proceeding with the application.
The council also considered submitting a short form grant application to the Texas Capital Fund Infrastructure Grant program through the Texas Department of Agriculture. The city used this same grant to start the construction process for the Ethanol Plant several years ago. Over the past year, the Levelland EDC has been working to bring a manufacturer of Polyethylene Pipe to the rail park. They will bring 40-50 jobs, mostly locally hired, over 200 rail cars per month and over 6 Million dollars in Capital Investment. The company would require a rail spur of 1200 track feet to be constructed on the site. The EDC is not legally able to apply for this grant, the City as a governmental entity, would make the application and would own the actual rail for 3-5 years during the grant administration. The grant is for $522,000 and the matching portion will be from the manufacturer prospect itself in the form of real property. Their are no EDC tax money or tax dollars being used to match this grant as was pointed out by city administration. Mayor Waymon Jackson asked why can’t the EDC apply for the grant, the only reply was that is the rules of the program. Raymon Jackson voiced his concern that if the LEDC is not a part of the city then the city does not need to do the grant. LEDC can apply for the grant. Larry Davidson said, the only thing we are doing now is allowing the short form application. The LEDC cannot apply for this grant by law. Mayor Waymon Jackson said their is a reason the LEDC can’t apply, because the city would be ultimately responsible, even though an actual agreement would be in place between the city and LEDC if it was funded to assure that LEDC is ultimately responsible for the project and would operate the rail. NO TAXPayer Dollars would be used.
The council also approved 5.4 Million dollars in subcontractor bids for the Levelland Oxy Sports Complex. The total cost would be 5.4 Million. There is currently 5.6 Million dollars available. The question was raised by Dee Macha concerning how much of the job would be done by local contractors. It was pointed out that a pre bid meeting was held just for local sub contractors, however, Independent Electric was the only one to come. McHam Construction will be doing the dirt work for the project which amount to over $1 Million dollars. The question was also asked by Jerry Gilmer if the city voters voted on this project. Voters in the City of Levelland approved the 5 Million Dollar bond in 2010.
The city council also received authorization to move forward with bid process for 2013-2014 budget including a brush truck for the fire department, 3 cruisers and animal warden truck for the police department, 1 pickup, steel wheel roller, and tractor with cab and mower for street department, mower for the parks department, pickup for the water department, pickup for the wastewater department, and a pickup, front end loader, landfill compactor, water truck, fuel trailer, and 1 tractor with mower for the sanitation department.
The council also approved a restricted prior service credit for individuals who are employeed by the city and had been employeed by another governmental agency. This item was approved with little discussion.
The council also discussed a rehabilitation project of the Industrial Park lift station located on north Cactus drive near the Christian School. The city was hoping to put in next years budget, however, both pumps have failed and parts are no longer available. As it is currently an employee must go down inside to operate pumps, which is a danger to employees, with the rehabilitation that risk will be eliminated. The council approved going forward with the project and paying for it through the wastewater system improvement fund.
The city also will go out for proposals for an additional 23.8 acres to the west of the 62.5 acres recently approved for a lease for oil and gas lease. The council approved issuing a request for proposals to lease mineral rights on the west portion of the airport.