Levelland City Council met Monday night in a regular meeting.
The council approved allowing city employees to join the Hockley County School Employees Credit Union. It was noted that this will be pending approval of the State Banking Board. It has been approved by the board of the Hockley County School Employees Credit Union.
The council approved the resale of property at 206 Ave. J for $5,200. The bid was from Rita Rhodes Clinton and she will have 90 days to bring the property into compliance with all city codes.
The council also received an update from the City Secretary and Human Resources Director on her department. Beth Walls is the City Secretary and Human Resources Director for the City of Levelland for the past several years. She is a registered municipal clerk as required as a condition of her employment with the City of Levelland. She has been certified since 2010. She is currently enrolled in the Certified Public Managers course at Texas Tech University. She has a part time administrative support person, Ida Davis who helps in the department. She has over 30 years of work in non-profit service. The City Secretary is required to attend all City Council meetings, record management, Open Records requests. She is also the city Elections Administrator and also handles all Human Resources duties for the City of Levelland and handles all new employee orientation as well as benefits for all employees. She also handles payroll entries into the computer system and is the back-up for the payroll clerk. She also is the Risk Manager for the city and acts as the Fleet Manager for all vehicles owned by the City of Levelland. She also handles all workers comp claims and works with department heads and physicians on modified duty plans for employees injured on the job. She is also accounting for all property and equipment owned by the city. She pointed out that the office is always working on employee retention and recruiting. She notes “it’s important to make the work inviting but at the end of the day, most people still take a job for the pay and benefits.” She also discussed the employee benefits for city employees, including medical insurance including a portion of or all of it paid for by the city. Employees receive up to $615 per employee for employee medical insurance. Employees can use the remaining amount to purchase dental or vision insurance plans. They also provide retirement benefits through the Texas Municipal Retirement System and provides for Cost of Living Adjustments in the retirement system. The city also can elect to purchase Disability policies, accident policies as well as Cancer Care and Heart Care plan.
The council also took action to approve bids for the replacement of the playground at the Sherman Street Park. It is the largest playground in Levelland and is the only one that accommodates ages 2 – 12. City staff recommended approving a bid from Playwell Group for $99,059.41. It has a number of free standing features. Parks Director John Cobb said this group is one of the largest playground equipment manufacturers in the world. Council member Breann Buxkemper asked if the city come in under budget could the city add some benches and shade area around the playground area. City Management noted that it is being paid for through grant funds and they will have to see if that is a possibility. The City Manager noted that the city will likely be under budget and will look at the possibility of adding some of those features.
The council also approved a bid of $39,650 for a walking trail in Levelland City Park. The bid is for a concrete walking trail, done by Rodriquez Construction of Levelland and the city will also install a park bench and trash can along the trail. This is also being paid through grant funds which have been in the works for over 3 years through Texas Parks and wildlife and National Recreational Trails Fund.
The council also approved the quarterly investment report for the city.
The council also approved opening a new bank account to account for everything related to the moving of the water line on south highway 385 and will also be used for payment of the loan through Levelland State Infrastructure Bank Loan.
The Mayor also appointed Breann Buxkemper to work with her and city staff to review the fire service agreement between the City of Levelland and Hockley County.
Following a lengthy executive session on the contract for City Manager Erik Rejino. The city accepted an amendment to the contract for the City Manager. The amendment would shorten the severance package to a 6 month package and would eliminate any wording which related to a with cause termination. The severance package will increase 1 month for each year of employment.
The council then recessed the meeting and will re-convene on Tuesday at 6:00 pm for a budget work session.