The Levelland City Council met in a regular meeting on Monday evening. One of the most important items on the agenda was the discussion and adoption of the budget and tax rate for 2016-2017. The council had been looking at the budget and developing the budget over the past several weeks. The budget will be tight budget and all city department have had to make cuts. The budget does not include in pay increase for city employees. One item that just came up in the last city council meeting was a request for an additional $10,000 for the Keep Levelland Beautiful in addition to the $40,000 the council had already authorized. In the meeting Monday night, Councilman for District C, Billy Youngblood said the additional money should be approved and then said “this will be a tight budget and we thank the department heads for making the necessary cuts.” There was no comment from any other council member and Youngblood made the motion to approve the proposed budget with the additional money for the Keep Levelland Beautiful program and that motion passed on a unanimous vote with no discussion.
The council also approved the tax rate for next year of 78 cents per $100 property value. That is up from 73.5 cents per $100 property value this year, however, it will only produce approximately the same amount of revenue as this year due to the drop in taxable values.
Several other items was acted on in the first part of the meeting. The full report is below.
The council heard an update from Levelland EDC Director John Clary about the purchase of the former ALCO Building. He said that the LEDC has agreed to a purchase price of $300,000. The building has been vacant for 25 years. The LEDC wishes to stabilize the building and to improve curb appeal. It was noted there are some leaks in the plumbing which will have to addressed as well as the roof has some issues. The LEDC will spend some money to improve curb appeal and stabilize building and get it ready to put on market. Billy Youngblood asked about the possibility that the building “might become a money pit.” Clary said a building inspection was done Monday and nothing was found other than what was already known. It was noted that their was a small amount of asbestos in the floor tile. The floor tile is in good shape and Clary said the floor will remain intact, thus the asbestos would not have to be removed. It was noted that the building has been appraised for the tax rolls at $650,000. Council approved LEDC purchasing the building on a unanimous vote.
The council approved a daytime and nighttime curfew ordinance. Their were some minor modifications to the current ordinance including an exception for a minor being out past curfew if it is an emergency, During daytime ordinance if they are in a business enrolled in a private school that is out of session they would be exempt from ordinance. The ordinance is in effect for anyone under the age of 16.
The council also discussed an agreement with Hockley County regarding computerized dispatch services for the Sheriff’s office. The Sheriff’s office has recently been approved for a grant to equip the sheriff’s department vehicles. Under the agreement it allows the sheriff’s office to have access to city computer systems to operate the computerized dispatch. The city would maintain control and if their was ever a problem the sheriff’s office could be immediately locked out of the system. There is no cost to the city. The agreement was approved with little discussion.
The council also approved Hockley County installing approved directional signs for the Mallot Event Center. Under the city’s municipal maintenance agreement the signs can be installed however, the county currently is not a party to the agreement. The city is the entity with the authority to allow the county to put the signs in. The agreement was approved with little discussion. The agreement would only apply for these signs and the county will bear all associated costs.
The council also approved an inter-local agreement with Hockley County for city to operate full time emergency management coordinator. The Hockley County Commissioners Court has tabled action on the agreement due to a question on indemnity.
The council approved some minor changes to the investment policy. The changes were approved with no discussion.
The council also took action to establish an area of downtown as slum and blight in order to help in submission of grant application to the Texas Capital Fund Main Street Program. This would be for sidewalk renovations in downtown area. It was noted that TxDOT should be in Levelland by the end of the year to do sidewalk renovations in front of Champion Sports on Houston Street. The areas being considered for this grant includes Austin Street between Ave. F and Ave I and Avenue G from Austin Street to 8th Street.
The council then approved submitting application for sidewalk renovations in downtown. The total project would be $325,000 with city paying $75,000 and grant paying the remaining $250,000.
The council discussed improvements to wastewater treatment plant. The city has been in discussions with Dane Water Resources regarding the sale of treated wastewater to use an an injections fluid for petroleum production. they are looking to purchase approximately 50,000 gallons per day. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality would not allow the wastewater to be sold before it was chlorinated. The city said the wastewater is of no value to the city other than to sell to Dane Water Resources. They would also have to pay for the necessary improvements and any other costs associated with project. The project will be put out for bid and if Dane Water Resources approves amount then improvements will be made. An agreement will be made at a later date. The agreement would be similar to the one in place for the ethanol plant. We stress this is ONLY wastewater NOT Drinking Water. Council approved moving forward with little discussion.
Council approved increase in utility rates on a second and final reading.