Levelland City Council met Monday night for a regular meeting.
The council held a public hearing on a Texas community Development Block Grant Program Small and Microenterprise Revolving Loan Grant. The funds are part of the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program which is funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. The fund provides capital for specifically rural communities to invest in new and/or existing small businesses and micro-enterprises. Five cities in the region applied for and received funding through the grant cycle, however, none of the five cities had been able to find a business which would have qualified for funding, and all five cities have been requested to return the money. The public hearing was required to close out the funding and to return funds. No action was required by the council.
The council took action to act on a resolution to declare the City of Levelland, the City of Mosaics. The chamber of commerce has reached out to Senator Perry’s office and Representative Ken King’s office to find out the steps to have the city declared through the state legislature while they are in session. The Chamber Board of Directors sent a letter of support to Legislator’s today. The council took action to approve the resolution and will forward it to legislator’s as well.
The council took action to approve amendments to the Levelland EDC budget which was approved by the LEDC board in their recent meeting.
The council took action to approve the purchase of a pickup for the Parks Department and a pickup for the Sanitation Department. Funds were included in the 2018-2019 budget for both vehicles. The parks department is replacing a 2009 Dodge Dakota pickup at a net cost of $19,455.12 for a 2019 Ford F-150, John Roley Autocenter submitted the only other bid for $19,759 for a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup. The council approved the low bid of Smith South Plains. They also approved the purchase of a 2019 Ford F-250 4×4 pickup for the Sanitation Department at a net bid of $25,381.24. The bid was lower than John Roley Autocenters bid of $25,800. The council approved the low bid from Smith South Plains.
The council approved an inter local agreement with the South Plains Association of Governments to write the 2019 Texas Capital Fund Application for the City of Levelland. The grant would be used to help fund the addition of a rail spur and running utilities to the site in the rail park which is for a company which has committed to coming to Levelland. The EDC is not able to release the name of the company as of yet due to negotiations. The company is a well developed company and has two plants in current operation and this would be a third location. They also would be hiring 25 employees the first year and expand to 35 by the third year.
The council then held a public hearing on the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program’s Texas Capital Fund. The purpose of the program is for infrastructure improvements. The grant will be submitted by the 20th of February which is the deadline for the next grant cycle.
The council took final action to submit the application once complete and authorizing the Mayor to approve final budget figures.
The council also discussed parking issues in the Holly Heights addition south of the High School. Through a survey, the city had unanimous support for a restriction of some kinds however, based on recommendations of citizens who attended the public hearing city staff recommended that the council allow the city to enforce no parking in front of mail boxes, parking in the right direction, blocking fire hydrants, and work to enforce laws in place at a higher level for 2-3 months and then re-visit the issue. The council also recommended that any resident having a problem to call the police department. The council has directed strict enforcement of any and all laws currently in place. Councilwoman Breann Buxkemper, said that she “would hate for the city to not do anything when a group has come to the city and asked for help.” Chief Albert Garcia said that the city needs to keep the lines of communication open. He also noted that the residents at the public forum did not want a restriction, but, would like for the city and school to work together and enforce current laws and to work with the school district to resolve. The council tabled action for one month but directed strict enforcement of laws
Bill Palmer spoke to the council concerning the enforcement of an ordinance for the game room on Avenue G because they were too close to a church which is downtown. He noted that the ordinance was not in place when the game room opened. He pointed out their are 47 empty buildings around the downtown area and we don’t need any more. He wants the council to put an amendment to allow the business to operate. He said without any violations, why do we then close them down.
The council took action to pass an ordinance to approve game rooms opening in the future to only locate in the industrial zones of Levelland. The ordinance was approved on a second reading.
The council also took action to approve an ordinance to amend an ordinance regulating the use and location of game rooms and amusement redemption machines. The amendment would institute a re-inspection fee as well as relieving parking requirements in the Main Street area and clarified a denial of an application. Councilwoman Breann Buxkemper said she is struggling with the fact that the city is telling a game room they have to leave, she noted the ordinance was not in effect at the time the business opened up. Councilman Jim Matt said he feels it is also unfair for the game room to be put out of business eight months after it opened. City Manager Erik Rejino said the city had suspended the license because the license issued by the state was expired when the city inspected. It was noted that the business has renewed their license with the state since then. The zoning board took action previously to deny the variance requested by the business to allow it to operate within 300 foot of a church. Councilman Jim Myatt made the motion to amend the amendment to allow any game room in existence at the time the ordinance is passed to continue to operate. The motion passed on a unanimous vote. The council then took action to approve the amendment as presented.
Following a lengthy executive session, the council declined to take any action in open meeting.