The Levelland City Council met in a regular session Monday night. One of the items on the agenda was for the council to host a discussion on loosening restrictions on keeping chickens within the city limits of Levelland. The council was approached approximately 2 months ago by some citizens wanting the current ordinance governing chickens loosened. Chickens are currently allowed however their is a restriction stating that they cannot be kept within 200 ft. of a neighboring property which pretty well limits them to the far edges of the city limits. One citizen spoke during the public forum portion of the meeting stating he was against chickens inside the city limits due to the noise and uncleanliness. Most all of the council members said they had received comments from several citizens against chickens inside the city limits. Councilman Max Ledesma stated that allowing chickens within the city limits could cause problems that he does not want in Levelland. Councilman Billy Youngblood made a motion that the council call a public hearing for the next meeting in order to hear from more citizens on the subject, that motion passed on a unanimous vote.
A full report from the meeting is below….
During the citizens portion of the meeting, Chuck Wallace addressed the council concerning the keeping of chickens within the city limits. He stated they are not clean and are noisy and does not contribute to a clean environment.
The council heard a presentation from the auditing firm of Bolinger, Segars, Gilbert & Moss LLP. It was a clean report with no modification. It was also noted that internal controls are all in place and there were no findings. It was also noted that overall asset values for the year 2016-2017 was a net increase with net assets of just over 10 million as of September 30, 2016. It was also noted a very strong cash position with just over $14 million.
Approximately 2 months ago city council was approached by a citizen requesting that our current regulations allowing chickens in the city be loosened so that chickens can be kept in a normal residential backyard. Currently chickens are allowed in the city under the Levelland City Code is they are not within 200’ from a neighboring residence. Councilman Billy Youngblood felt that their was a need to hold a public meeting to hear from citizens. Several councilmen stated they have received email against chickens in the city limits. It was noted that even it was allowed the ordinance could be restrictive and likely would still ban them in most neighborhoods. It was noted that the current ordinance was changed in 1974. Councilman Max Ledesma, stated if we allow chickens we will have problems and we don’t want problems for Levelland. Youngblood motioned to call a public hearing for broad citizen input. The motion passed with a unanimous vote.
Levelland ISD has approached the city to allow the after school ACE program to utilize the soccer field at the Oxy Sport Complex on April 8 and to waive all associated fees. It was noted that this would not interfere with regular season play.
The council also appointed Bill Cohen to fill a vacancy on the Airport Advisory Board. Raymon Jackson has served on the board for a number of years and recently resigned. Cohen has an extensive background in aviation. He currently holds a pilots license and served as a pilot in the Air Force and was also a commercial airline pilot for many years.
The city recently received a $250,000 grant from the Texas Capital Fund Main Street grant and is ready to proceed in issuing a request for proposals for engineering services for the grant. The grant will pay to replace sidewalks in the designated Main Street area along Austin and Ave. G. The council approved proceeding and appointed a selection review committee to select the engineer based on those proposals.
The city also entered into an interlocal agreement with South Plains Association of Governments for Grant Administration Services for the Texas Capital Fund Main Street Grant.
Council also approved an ordinance to approve a negotiated rate increase for Atmos Energy West Texas Division. They had requested a rate increase of $5.15 million for West Texas Cities and that was negotiated to $4.2 million. The new rates will be effective as of March 15. The average residential bill would increase approximately 3%.