Myatt Sworn In, PD Co-Responder Model Presented At City Council

Levelland City Council had their regular meeting last night to cover substantial ground on a variety of topics. During the public forum portion of the meeting, Pete Cunningham took to the microphone to draw attention to the fact that our local law enforcement had received high accolades from the States Capitol earlier this month. Chief Albert Garcia, Captain Tammie McDonald, Sergeant Detective Shawn Wilson, and Hockley County Sheriff Ray Scifres all received the State of Texas Law Enforcement Achievement Award for Valor in the states capitol for their heroism during the events of the July 15th shooting indecent. Mr. Cunningham saw fit to bring attention to the fine officer we have in the area, giving them a round of applause.

Jim Myatt Takes Oath Of Office

With a tied election earlier last month for the seat of City Council District A, a run off election was held, which saw incumbent Jim Myatt prevail over the new comer Devin Sonnenburg by a thin margin of 9 votes, 103 to 94. The results were canvased by the council, and Jim Myatt declared the winner, and sworn in for another 2 year term on the council.

With the Clovis Horse Sale’s relocation to Levelland, City Council bean to take a look at the sale’s futurity through a state-run event fund. The Events Trust Fund Program was created by Texas Legislature to provide incentives for communities to host sporting and other major events within their municipalities. How it works is the state estimates how much state revenue will be created via an event and deposits that much money into a trust account. After the event, the city is able to apply for reimbursement for certain expenses incurred by hosting the event and increasing profit. In 2020 the City qualified for a trust fund in the amount of $17K for that years horse sale. The council was excited for this development as it shows the city’s commitment to the vent, as the Clovis Horse Sale representatives are already working with the Levelland Chamber of Commerce to set up future events.

Several meetings ago the representatives from Republic Waste Management were present to address some issues the community had with their trash services. Citizens reported slow services, and event no services in some cases, with trash piling up over weeks. Republic was brought before the Council, and plans were developed to remedy the issues. Months later, they returned to Council to report what they had done to improve services. They explained that the delay in parts due to shipping issues was a large portion of the issue, but additionally the routes used through town had been closely analyzed and remodeled, along with scheduling of drivers as well. Though they may seem like minor fixes, both Council Woman Engledow, and Council Woman Buxkemper reported that their constituents seemed much happier with the renewed dedication to service, and that there were no further complaints as of the time of that meeting. Republic had also showed dedication to the community by providing staff for the Chamber of Commerce’s Windshield Tour last week, to explain more about how solid waste management works and can impact a community.

Leading EDG was present at this meeting as well to give citizens an overview of what they provide to local business owners. A program to assist small businesses in growth and development, Leading EDG costs nothing for citizens to utilize, and can assists in a myriad of business related tasks. Thus far Leading EDG has 55 different businesses that have been serviced in the area, with 23 already existing, and 22 being new business or start ups. Through their 5 point approach they assist in maintaining, growing and even launching small businesses throughout town.

With the increased attention to mental health specifically in relation to law enforcement and crime, both Levelland PD and the HCSO developed a Co-Responder model for Crisis Intervention. This model allows for specially trained mental health officers, referred to as Crisis Intervention Officer (CIO) to respond with a Mental Health Professional from regional partner Star Care, to de-escalate situations involving mental health crisis, such as suicidal subjects. This model has seen great success in both Levelland and Hockley County at large, with both Chief Garcia and Sheriff Scifres approaching governing bodies to continue said programs into the new year. Chief Garcia gave a more in-depth look at the program for Council to bring them up to speed. Between shifts, the hope is to have about 80 hours a week of coverage for the community during “Peak Hours” when the most calls for service are received. When officers are not on-duty, the community can still be serviced by Star Care Facilities out of Lubbock. Representatives from Star Care were present at the meeting to give their side of things as well, where they explained that ideally, their co-responders they hire are from Levelland, however they’ve seen no interest from local individuals. Due to the funding source, which is only available to rural counties, Hockley County will have more active Mental Health officers for coverage than Lubbock County does, as Star Care moves to fill vacancies.

The Levelland Planning and Zoning Commission has been hard at work for the past several months gathering local input from a number of public hearing and town halls regarding Levelland’s aged zoning laws. The zoning had not been analyzed in depth for the city since he 1980’s, and much has changed in that time. With a large amount of zoning laws to look at, the commission saw it fit to divide it into segments and tackle the issues in a more digestible manner. The focus for the past several months had been on Carports, Food trucks, and the parking of large vehicles, storage containers, etc. in front of a residence. For Carports, the board believes they finally have enough feedback to begin construction of an ordinance, which would include construction materials required, specifications, etc. of any carports to be added to a residence. They also received enough feedback to move forward with a recommendation to raise the fees/permit costs for food trucks setting up in the City, as Levelland has the lowest by far of any surrounding community. Both these items have been hot topics at townhall meetings, sparking debate. Nevertheless the city approved the resolution to move forward with both these items. Before any ordinance is put into effect there will be a series of public hearings to be publicized by local media outlets, so there is still a lengthy process involved before any changes go into effect.

Finally the City Council retired to a brief Executive Session to discuss the sale of effluent water to the Diamond Ethanol plant outside of town. This has been on many council agendas as of late as the city seeks to attract more business to town. This contract would see the Diamond Ethanol plant back in production again, should all go according to plan. The council returned from Executive session and agreed on the deal to sell the plant effluent treated water from the City’s water treatment facility to end business for the meeting.

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
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