Two people spoke during the public forum portion of the meeting.
Todd Paxton spoke concerning the sign ordinance stating concern in temporary signage which would include real estate signs. Currently as the ordinance is written their would be a limit of 180 days on temporary signs. He asks that real estate signs be exempt from the requirement or to eliminate the time limit on temporary signs.
David Dunn also spoke during the public forum concerning the sign ordinance. He says the city doesn’t have a problem with signs, that the council is creating a problem which doesn’t exist. He also stated that a property owner should be able to put a sign up on their property at anytime regardless of the type of sign.
The council approved the 2019-2020 budget. It was noted that the general fund budget is showing a deficit of approximately $170,000. Councilman Jim Myatt asked if their was any way to balance the budget, the city manager said not without effecting services. Myatt noted that travel and car allowances could be cut. The city manager noted that all departments have cut travel and even if it is budgeted, they likely won’t spend all of it. JoeBill Vardeman made the motion to approve the budget, Max Ledesma seconded the motion, their was not opposition.
The council then approved the proposed tax rate of 68 cents per $100 property value on a unanimous vote.
The council took action to adopt a $1 increase in the water availability fee and an additional $1 to be used to establish a new Water Improvement Fund to help fund future capital needs in our infrastructure. Even with the increases, Levelland is one of the lowest rates in the region.
The council also discussed the primary depository bank for the city’s funds. All 4 local banks were at the pre-bid conference, three banks, City Bank, AimBank and Sundown State Bank all submitted a proposal. The city engaged an independent firm to evaluate the proposals received. The recommendation based on all proposals was for the city to stay with City Bank. It was noted that changing banks can be expensive. It was estimated it would cost approximately $19,000 for the city to change banks. It was noted that the most competitive proposal received was from City Bank, however, there was no financial reason to change banks. The differences between City Bank and Aim Bank amounted to approximately $2,000 in interest earnings in the initial two year term.
The council went into a brief executive session for consultation with the attorney before reviewing bids received for the Wastewater Irrigation Pivot System. The council received two bids, one from South Plains Valley Irrigation for $311,891.13, however they did not include a bid bond and has to be considered as a non response. Allen Doggett construction submitted a bid of $340,380. The city can reject all bids and start the bid process over or accept the bid from Allen Doggett construction. Currently the city is operating on one pivot as two are down. The city manager is not comfortable with that option as their is no back up if it goes down. With a difference of $30,000, the city can spend $1,500 and get one of the two pivots in operation to give a back up while they are awaiting new bids. After some discussion, the council rejected all bids and will put the project out for bid again and city staff will get one of the down pivots repaired to give the city a backup.
The council approved a replay for the Michael Family trust property located at County Road and E. Ellis. The property has been platted into eight different lots including alleys and drainage easements as well as fire hydrants located at recommended locations. It was approved on a unanimous vote.
The council approved an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Routine Airport Maintenance Program. Hockley County Commissioners will also be taking action on the agreement.
The council also approved the new sign ordinance on a second reading. It was noted that realtors do have an issue with the time limits on temporary signs such as real estate signs. After some discussion, the council eliminated the entire temporary sign portion of the ordinance, stating that we do not want to impede business. The council approved the amended sign ordinance on a second and final reading.