The Levelland City Council met Monday evening in a special meeting. The full report of that meeting is below.
The council held the second public hearing on the proposed tax rate of 69.5 cents per $100 property value which is down from the current rate of 72.8 cents per $100 property value.
The council cast their ballot for the Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool Board of Trustees Election. The council cast their ballot for the 4 incumbents as recommended by city administration.
The council also appointed members to the Main Street Advisory Board. The four recommended by the Main Street Advisory Board and approved by council includes Pete Cunningham, a retiree who currently serves on multiple Main Street committees; Michael Franklin of Allied Oilfield will replace Dallas Pena; Adrian Melberg from SPC will replace Brandon Awbrey and Donna Pugh will represent Levelland ISD since the retirement of Jerry Beard. Manuel Mendez said he would like to see a “different group of people on the Main Street Board.” Mary Siders pointed out that she had attempted to contact one of the individuals and could not get in contact with him and the other one she did not have current phone numbers for. She also pointed out that it is the recommendation of the Texas Main Street Board that Board members have served on committees of Main Street prior to being appointed to a board.
Levelland EDC Director Shawn Kirkpatrick spoke to the council asking that they ratify a resolution showing the city collects the sales tax for economic development which is required by the Texas Attorney Generals Office prior to selling the bonds for the rail improvement project west of town. It was noted that the tax was approved by voters in 1992 and the State Comptrollers office has been collecting it however the Attorney Generals office needs an updated ordinance on file. It was passed as an emergency item so as to not hold up progress on economic development. It had to be done now or it would risk having to start all over on the project. It was noted that this project has been discussed by EDC Board and City Council since June. The bond will not be funded until October 1. It was also pointed out that it would take action of the voters to stop collection of the tax. Councilman Billy Youngblood made the motion and it passed unanimously to approve the ordinance. Mayor ProTem Max Ledesma made the comment that he would prefer that the Mayor and Council were all present, however, the Mayor was on vacation and unable to attend.
Following the accepting of the ordinance on collection of the sales tax the council approved the issuance and sale of Levelland Economic Development Corporation sales tax revenue bonds for the rail improvement project where the money will be loaned to WTLC Railway for the improvements. They will pay back via Tariffs which are charged for each car that travels over the track. The track is being approved to allow for more train cars to pass over the track at one time safely and eliminating numerous trips per day. It is being deemed a health and safety issue so as to lessening the chance of car and train collisions. It was noted that West Texas Lubbock Railway will pay the EDC $50 for each car that travels over that track and $45 will go toward principal and $5 toward interest. It is estimated that the loan will pay back within 3-5 years. The question was asked by Councilman Joe Bill Vardeman about what times trains are allowed to go through town. Kirkpatrick said that he is working on that but did note he has asked that trains not be coming through at school times in the morning and to not block Alamo in the afternoons. He did note that the city should be receiving some money to do some rail safety arms and lights at at least 2 intersections and will work toward getting it on other intersections as well. Councilman Manuel Mendez did point out that this was in the budget and he is in support of this project. The motion was made by Billy Youngblood to approve the resolution and it passed unanimously.