The Levelland City Council met Monday night in a regular meeting. As part of the meeting the council took action to re-appoint three members to the Levelland Community Development board and appoint a new member to fill FE Shaheen’s position, as he no longer lives in Levelland. The council reappointed board members, Michael Wiiest, Frankie Ruiz and Kelly Read to the Levelland Community Development Corporation. Mayor Barbara Pinner, made the comment “I feel that the council, might need to go outside sports and appoint someone other than a sports person to the board.” The LCDC board had recommended filling FE Shaheen’s seat with Brent Paris, LHS baseball coach. After some discussion the motion was made by JoeBill Vardeman to appoint Billy Youngblood to the board to fill the term of Shaheen. The motion passed and the appointment of Youngblood was approved on a unanimous vote.
Manuel Mendez spoke during the public forum portion of the meeting. He spoke concerning the park on Sherman. He also asked to be considered to be appointed to the LCDC board, noting that he has grown up in Levelland. He would like to see the city spend the money they are wanting to spend on the Sherman Street park to take that and put that type of same playground in the City Park. He says community people are wanting to serve on these committees, however, they are never asked.
The council also took action regarding a housing development agreement for 201 West Adams Street. The city said they have been recently contacted by a developer who has a client who wishes to place a mobile home on a lot. They have identified a lot at 201 West Adams which has several liens on the property due to it falling in disrepair and they city having to demolish the property and mow the lot several times since then. The city attorney has recommended a housing development agreement which states that the developer will pay the city $2,000 in return for the city releasing the liens of nearly $10,000 which is much more than the property is worth. The agreement states that within 90 days they must place a mobile home of acceptable nature on the property or he would have to pay the nearly $10,000 in liens to the city. The agreement was accepted with little discussion.
The council also approved a resolution for the use of a surplus water truck by the Levelland Economic Development Corporation. The LEDC will use the truck to water trees which they plan to plant for landscaping in the rail park.
The council also approved refunding or refinancing of Canadian River Municipal Water Authority Contract Revenue Bonds from 2009. Interest rates have lowered since that time and CRMWA would like to refinance to save interest and lower the cost to member cities. It is estimated to save $1.4 million over the live of the bond. The cities savings would amount to approximately $39,000.
The council looked at the budget for the Tax Increment Financing Funds. It was reported that with development in the rail park, including Penny Newman grain, the TIF #2 receives some tax money from that development this year, of approximately $180,000 which will go toward paying the LEDC bond on the rail park. It was noted that eventually, they would like for TIF dollars to pay the entire bond payment of $330,000 per year so that the LEDC can use their money to recruit more development.
John Clary, presented the budget for the LEDC. It was noted that they are budgeting very conservatively this year, in order to try and build fund balance based on future capital needs for further development in the rail park. The council approved the LEDC budget.
The council also reviewed the budget for the Levelland Community Development Corporation. It was noted that the LCDC board met recently and approved the budget which including spending $75,000 for replacement of the playground at Sherman park. It was noted that the current playground at that park is wooden and has worn dramatically over the ten years since the park was built. The city will apply for a $75,000 grant through Texas Parks and Wildlife to put with the city funds to fund the large playground replacement at Sherman park. It was noted that the Sherman park is one of the most utilized parks in the city.
Councilman Jim Myatt, commented that the city is looking at spending a lot of money in the next fiscal year, considering that the city lost quite a bit of money in sales tax in current 2016-2017. It was noted that a big chunk of the capital expenses is in the Enterprise fund and a majority of those expenses are required by TCEQ. Assistant City Manager, Erik Rejino, said the intention of the city is to not have a lot of capital expenses in 2018-2019. Myatt, expressed concern on the purchase of a new packer for the landfill. It was pointed out that the city purchased re-furbished equipment to start the landfill 3 years ago, it was also pointed out that without a packer the city would have to close the landfill. Myatt also expressed concern that over half of the fire departments budget is used to fight fires in the county. Rejino pointed out that the city is looking at tracking fire department runs and could possibly request additional money from Hockley County in coming years.
The council will meet on Tuesday, August 8 to propose a tax rate for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
Billy Youngblood and Max Ledesma did not attend the meeting.