The Levelland City Council met in a special meeting tonight. The detailed report of that meeting is below.
The council held a public hearing on the Texas Capitol Fund Infrastructure program. In November the council authorized a short form application for a grant for Project Black Gold with the Levelland EDC. The grant is through the Texas Department of Agriculture. The grant request is for $522,000 to build a double rail spur consisting of 1,200 feet of track in the Levelland Industrial Rail Park for the project. The Grant Administration has now asked for a long form application and the city has been approved for full funding pending the receipt of final paperwork. The match for the grant will come from the company that the Levelland EDC is working with to locate in the rail park. It is a manufacturing facility of Polyethylene Pipe–They have 2 existing facilities, 1 in Decatur and 1 in South Dakota. They are looking to locate in Levelland and would include 30-50 jobs and will locate on 24 acre site in the rail park. Council approved submitting the application with little discussion.
Levelland EDC met Thursday afternoon and approved entering into contract with the City of Levelland to eliminate any liability the city would face in the event of a de-funding or default. Any additional expenses or anything should arise-the EDC would be responsible not the City of Levelland. Levelland EDC will manage operations throughout and at the end of 5 years the city would turn over operation of the rail park. The mayor does not agree with giving up authority or operations to the LEDC, stating their is already a project at the rail park that the “EDC has run into the ground.” He wants the city to operate the rail not the LEDC. It was pointed out that the rail inspections, etc. that are required by law currently has a contract in place to do routine maintenance and inspection on the rail. The agreement was approved and passed on a motion by Billy Youngblood and seconded by Joe Bill Vardeman and passed unanimously.
The council approved a request by the Hotel Occupancy Tax fund for the Tri-State High School Rodeo which will be a 2 night event this year and could bring at least 2 other larger events to the Mallet Event Center and Arena. The event is scheduled for March 22 and 23. Council approved a $2500 request.
The final plat for Rose Meadow Apartments on South Alamo was approved by council. They have already been approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The city also approved an oil and gas lease with Cimarex for 23.87 acres of land at the Municipal Airport. This is the same company that recently got approval for a lease on 62.5 acres to the west of this property. There will be no surface installations on airport property and any surface installation must be approved by FFA and TxDOT.
The council discussed rules and guidelines for citizen participation which were drafted following a work session in November. The Mayor stated it is totally unnecessary to have the rules. I have promised anybody and everybody that they can speak at council meetings. We are running smooth meetings now. Joe Bill Vardeman, thanked the Mayor for his comments and stated that the rules will not limit who can speak at meetings, the rules will only help the meetings to run smoother. The mayor stated everytime the city passes a rule or ordinance we cause somebody in this city to have problems. Billy Youngblood said I do not feel we are asking for anything out of line, as nearly every city has rules similar. The mayor stated if it comes to requiring the citizen to fill out a card to speak he will NOT enforce that rule. I will be the first to violate. Levelland ISD and other governmental bodies require a card to be filled out. If you make the rules you are forcing me to violate the rules. “If someone wants to speak to this council then I will allow them to speak rules or no rules.” Mayor Jackson stated. Councilman Larry Davidson said, all councilmen have looked at this and the ones being presented are what we wanted and it passed unanimously. The mayor stated “I will violate and that is a promise” A full copy of those rules will be posted in a separate blog posting.