Levelland City Council held their regular meeting Monday night.
Following a brief presentation from city staff on a drainage issue in the Ridgecrest addition near Crockett Circle and Bowie. It was determined that their is an issue, however, the problem cannot be feasibly solved by the city as a private driveway would need to be re-constructed in order to solve the problem if that worked. It was noted that the alley is paved in that area and was paved by the developer years ago, against the recommendation of the city. Council took no action on the issue.
The council also heard an update from the city staff on the Levelland Recycling Center. It was noted that the city has grown consistently since it’s inception in 2009 when it collected approximately 22 tons. In its first full year of operation the center collected almost 43 tons in 2010. In 2015 the center collected over 78 tons and 2016 is expected to exceed 2015 numbers. The city has also received a $116,000 grant and has ordered a mobile recycling trailer which is expected to arrive in March. The trailer will be set up at different locations and bring recycling closer to town for events and other occasions. Based on the continued growth at the center and the limited personnel the city is looking at the possibility of changing hours to M and W-F from 8am to 5pm. Tuesday would be closed to the public and would be a work day for bailing and loading trucks.
The council also approved an ordinance to establish a festival and event standards and permit. Most cities have standards and a permitting process for festivals and events which will utilize public right of way or would generate enough traffic to warrant special arrangements. By having standards and permitting process event organizers can know in advance what is expected of them and the city would have better advance information. The proposed ordinance would have a Minimum application fee plus an extra fee if a street is closed and would also include a fee per barricade set up for a street closing. It also would require a site plan plus possibly liability insurance and could possibly require private hiring of security. We are told the ordinance would also include Early Settlers Day and other events hosted, however it does not include carnivals as they already are governed on another ordinance. More information will come on this ordinance at a second reading in a later meeting.
The council also approved the purchase of three marked police vehicles from Smith South Plains. The funds for the 3 vehicles were included in the budget approved in September for this fiscal year. The total cost of 3 2017 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor all wheel drive vehicles would be $120,735. A bid was also received from John Roley Auto Center for 3 Chevrolet Tahoes, however the cost for 3 all wheel drive vehicles would have been $134,113. It was noted that the city had only intended to get 1 all wheel drive and the other 2 would be 2 wheel drive, however, with the bids received it actually cost less to get all 3 all wheel drive vehicles. Chief Toney Cowan said he had visited with other departments and they had favorable reviews for the Ford Explorer units. Chief Cowan said he would expect fuel savings on the Fords vs. the Tahoes the city is currently operating as the Explorers are V-6 motors and the tahoes are V-8.
The council also approved an ordinance to formally adopt new rates agreed to by Southwestern Public Service and an alliance of cities including Levelland. the rate increase will be 14.4% increase and will amount to approximately a $4 per month increase for residential customers.
The council also received an update on the Levelland Municipal Airport runway project. The project for rehabilitating the runway continues to move forward and a pre-construction meeting will be held in January or February. It was also learned that TxDOT has allocated an additional $100,380 to the project which makes their contribution $767,880. The local share would be $85,320. The additional contribution from TxDOT will allow the city to complete all of the proposed work on the runway with this round of funding. The total cost of the project is estimated at $853,200 which is $40,000 under budget. The city and Airport Advisory Board is also looking at building additional t-hangars as well as adding an Automated Weather Observing System which would allow larger aircraft to land and take off at the Levelland Airport in various weather situations and would likely increase the amount of commercial traffic at the airport. The council approved city staff moving forward to provide a letter of intent to TxDOT to initiate work on additional hangars and the Automated Weather Observing System.
The council also approved submission of an application for a Texas Department of Agriculture Small and Microenterprise Revolving Loan Fund Grant. The funds are part of the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program. The program would provide capital for rural communities to invest in new and/or existing small businesses. For the first 2 years atleast would be up to $100,000 for Levelland Business only. There could be more flexibility after the first 2 years. The council also approved an agreement with Caprock Business Finance Corporation to operate the funds.
The council also authorized city staff to issue a request for proposals for a fuel vendor to supply gasoline and diesel for the city.
The council also approved the daytime and nightime curfew ordinance on a second and final reading.