The Levelland Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors met yesterday in a regular meeting.
The board heard an update on the West Texas and Lubbock Railroad Company. Interim Director Erik Rejino said that the railroad operations is going through many changes, and through his evaluation he feels that those changes are positive and will improve the overall operation in the long term. You will recall that West Texas Lubbock Railroad recently had a derailment on their main line east of Levelland. The unit train was an inbound train filled with grain bound for the ethanol plant. Since that derailment the company has placed 9 crews along the mainline between Lubbock and Levelland to perform maintenance and improvements to prevent future derailments. It was also noted that West Texas Lubbock Railroad Company will be sold to Watco Transportation Services. Both Rejino and Board President Elgin Conner have reviewed information on the new company and feel certain that it will be an improvement for rail service through Levelland and the Industrial Rail Park. Watco specializes in short line rail roads. There will be more information coming on this sale in the near future.
Under the staff report to the board, Rejino said that the land grant transaction for the Penny Newman Grain Facility has been completed and the company already has construction crews on the property in the rail park and they plan to be in operation by October 1. Railpark infastructure improvements being performed by the LEDC will begin within a month as the LEDC is going out for bid on the project next week.
It was also noted that BNSF Logistics continues to lease property at the rail park for the transloading facility for wind turbine parts. They expect to begin receiving at the site sometime this summer.
The board also received the Sales Tax collection report for May and June. After an increase of over 18% in May collections were down 3% in June. It is expected that the LEDC will likely meet their budgeted amount for sales tax collection in July.
Rail traffic in the month of May continues to be strong. It is expected that rail traffic will probably be down in June as the rail line was down for a few weeks in June for Maintenance.
The board also reviewed changes to the bylaws for the LEDC. LEDC Legal Counsel Dustin Brooks was present to discuss those changes. The changes were minor, mostly to make changes to registered agent information for the State. The changes also included making board member terms 5 years for all members, so as to maintain continuity on the board. Members still are appointed by the City Council and serve at the will of the city council as required by state law. The Levelland City Council will take action to approve the changes in by-laws at their next meeting.
The board also held a budget worksession following their regular meeting.