Levelland City Council Splits Vote on Fire Service Agreement with Hockley County

The Levelland City Council held a regular meeting on Monday with several items on the agenda.

As part of the meeting the council took action to approve an extension of the fire service agreement with Hockley County. Earlier this year the city council had performed an evaluation of shared services between the city and the county. The county has also performed a shared services arrangement between the city and county and are looking at some recommendations for a multi year agreement for fire suppression in the county as well as Truancy and Juvenile court. It was noted that an extension of the current fire service through June 15th will allow the county time to evaluate a new agreement and get additional funding in their new budget. Councilman, Jim Myatt, asked, “what assurance do we have that they will do any more in June, he went on to say, “I will not vote for an extension, we are not making any headway and we have given them three months.” Councilman, Joe Bill Vardeman said we need to “extend the agreement and continue to work with the county, we all live in Hockley County.” Myatt, said that if 60% of the fire department budget is being spent fighting fires in the county it is not fair to the city taxpayers. Mayor Barbra Pinner, said “we need to let the county have time to get it in their budget. Myatt, said “I work for the citizens of Levelland”. The vote was two to one, with Max Ledesma and Joe Bill Vardeman voting in favor of the extension and Jim Myatt voting against. Councilwoman, Breann Buxkemper was unable to attend the meeting.

The council heard a presentation from the Cochran and Hockley County Association of Retired Teachers. For the past 17 years the organization has given a book to every second grader each year, last year they changed to a 1000 books by Kindergarten focus by giving a book to every baby born at Covenant. Other organizations are currently supporting the program including Levelland ISD, Covenant Hospital Levelland, Second Baptist Church made donations for purchase of Christian books. Through this the group noticed that people were giving them books and developed the new program known as Little Libraries which is a small wood “library” to hold gently used books at various locations around the community. There are over 80,000 little libraries around the country. The CHART group has a goal of 6 libraries on city properties by June 2019. Books would be primarily donated and CHART hopes to use grant money to cover official charter sign and charter number. Both grants and donations will be used for construction costs. They are looking at Kauffman park and LG Griffin Park as well as Sherman Park to start. No action was taken by the council. The council will take final action on a licensing agreement for each location as they are placed.

The council took action to approve $70,000 from the Hotel Occupancy Tax Fund for the Little Dribblers 50th Anniversary Basketball Tournament. Mayor Pinner noted that the request is a large amount, however it will not cover all of the costs of the tournament. Over 3000 people are expected to be in town for the event over the Easter weekend. It was noted that their are over $96,500 in estimated expenses according to budget information presented by the committee organizing the tournament.

The council also approved a request of $21,000 in Hotel Occupancy Tax Funds for a Babe Ruth Southwest Regional tournament to be held in July. Over 70 teams are expected to participate. It would be the largest event held at the Oxy Sports Complex.

The council also approved a request of $1000 for the Rods and Bombs Invasion Car show to be held July 12th and 13th at Levelland City Park in Levelland. This is the first year the event would be held in Levelland, it had previously been held in Smyer.

The council also took action to establish the Municipal Court Security Advisory Committee. This committee is required by Senate Bill 42. The committee would include the Municipal Judge, Bailiff or designee, representative of Law Enforcement agency, Security for the court, representative of the city and any other person deemed necessary to establish the committee.

The council took action to approve entering into a Capital Lease agreement with Aim Bank for the lease purchase of mobile video recording cameras and body worn cameras for the police department. The lease is a 5 year repayment option with annual payments of $44,643 based off a lease amount of $206,000.

The council then took action to approve the purchase of $203,000 for both the mobile video recording and officer body cameras. It was noted that this system is used by several other departments in the area including Texas Department of Public Safety.

The council took action to amend the resolution placing the assistant to the City Manager, Joe Cavazos as a signer for city financial documents and checks with the city depository. Two signatures are required for all checks.

About Drew Dunn

News Director for KLVT AM 1230 in Levelland. We provide local and regional news updates 5 times a day on KLVT AM 1230 and online at www.klvtradio.com
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