The Levelland City Council hosted their regular meeting on Monday night.
The council held a public hearing on the budget for 2018-2019 fiscal year. No one was present to speak.
Following the public hearing the council tabled action on approval of the budget following a discussion. The city manager reported that Sales Tax receipts was a record high in August and may be signifying a upturn in the economy for the area. He did caution the city council against relying on sales tax dollars for budgeting. It was reported that the city staff has reduced the general fund by $60,000. He also reported the Cemetery Advisory Board is recommending purchasing 2 new portable awnings for the cemetery and to do a multi-year seal coat project on city streets. He also reported that discussions with Republic Services are ongoing and he and the Mayor will be meeting with Republic representatives in early September. The City Manager also said with the increase in sales tax in August and expecting to end this year with a budget surplus he is recommending a one time 2% payment to all employees in October in lieu of a Cost of Living Adjustment. Mayor Barbra Pinner and Councilman JoeBill Vardeman agreed that the payment is necessary in order to keep quality employees. The city manager also pointed out that the city has cut $49,000 from the Enterprise Fund from the original preliminary budget. The council tabled action and will approve the budget on September 10.
Republic Services has submitted a request to the city for a 2% rate increase to satisfy the Cost of Living Adjustment portion of the contract. The city manager noted that based on the contract the average increase to residential customers is a 56 cent monthly increase in the garbage collection fee. Councilwoman Breann Buxkemper noted that “maybe when we go out for bid, maybe we can get a contract that does not give them the right to go up based on Cost of Living,” the city attorney noted, many contracts have that item in the contract however it can be negotiated. Councilman Jim Myatt said “I am not sold on increasing water rates.” The city attorney immediately stated this item on the agenda does not discuss water rates it is garbage rates only. The rate increase for garbage collection was approved on a vote of 3-1 with Jim Myatt voting against, he said he was against passing the rate increase on to customers.
The council tabled action on a request for acquiring a utility easement on property on South Highway 385 at the request of the city attorney.
The council also took action to appoint Lisa Delgado, Angie Vest and Aaron Scott to 3 year terms on the Levelland Main Street Advisory Board.
The council also took action to appoint Roger Lindsey to an alternate seat on the planning and zoning board.
The council also took action to approve Pete Cunningham to a two year alternate seat on the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
The council also approved a settlement agreement between the Alliance of Xcel Municipalities and Southwestern Public Service Company on a second and final reading.