Levelland and Sundown Fire Departments Respond to Structure Fire

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The Levelland Fire Department was called to a report of a structure fire in the 3200 Block of FM 300 Saturday afternoon around 3:00pm.  When the crews arrived on the scene the structure was fully engulfed in flames.  Due to the uncertainty of what was in the structure, Sundown Volunteer Fire Department was called to provide mutual aid.

The Levelland Fire Department said no one was in the structure at the time of the blaze and no one was injured.

The Levelland Fire Marshall is investigating the blaze.  There is no word on what caused the fire.

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Photos courtesy of Levelland Fire Department

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Seagraves Police Officer Dead After Traffic Accident in Yoakum County

Seagraves Police Officer, Jason Fann, who is also a deputy sheriff in Yoakum County was killed in a traffic accident while in Yoakum County.

According to information released by the Seagraves Police Department, Officer Fann was responding to a call while on duty in Yoakum County.  Texas Department of Public Safety reported, they were called to tractor-trailer accident, two miles south of Plains.  Fann reportedly was enroute to the accident and lost control of his patrol unit and the vehicle rolled.  Fann was a graduate of the 2015-16 Evening Law Enforcement academy at South Plains College.  Fann was also a fire fighter and fire marshal in Plains.

Seagraves Police Department issued the following statement Saturday evening.

“The Staff of the Seagraves Police Department are with heavy heart tonight as we have learned that one of our Police Officers in Seagraves, Jason Fann who is also a Deputy Sheriff in Yoakum County was involved in a traffic accident while answering a call in Yoakum County. Officer Jason Fann did not survive the accident. We ask for prayers from the public for Officers Fann’s family, friends, and co-workers. Jason Fann will be sorely missed by all.”

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City of Levelland Recycle Center Wins Workforce Solutions Award

Rob BethAt the July 26, 2017 South Plains Workforce Solutions annual award presentations held at the Overton
Hotel in Lubbock, the City of Levelland was given an award for Service to Community. This award honors an employer who served the local community through coordination and collaboration efforts to significantly improve services to the community.

Earlier in the year, Jerrica Fugate, Interim Director of the Levelland Workforce Solutions office approached the City with the desire to submit the City’s recycle program as a nominee for an award. As the recycle center grew, the City was able to provide supplemental staffing through the programs offered by Workforce Solutions.  The City received notification in early July of the award.
City Secretary Beth Walls and Recycle Center Operator, Rob Alcazar accepted the award on behalf of Mayor Barbra Pinner, City Council and City Staff.

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Hockley County Commissioners Approve Proposed Tax Rate

Hockley County Commissioners have approved a proposed tax rate of 53.9 cents per $100 property value.  That rate is just over three cents lower than last years rate of 56.4 cents per $100 property value.

It was noted that the rate is one cent over the effective rate, which would generate the same amount of revenue as last year.  Part of that decision is attributed to a 3% tax increase for all county employees and elected county officials.  The county also has the added expense of an additional deputy for the Hockley County Sheriff’s Office.  Sheriff Ray Scifres had requested the deputy, in order to allow for 24 hour patrol coverage in the county.  He noted that without the additional deputy, their is five hours each day that a deputy is not on patrol duty.

The Hockley County Appraisal office said that taxable property values are up 9.45 percent.  A bulk of that increase can be attributed to mineral values which were up 30%, home values in the county were up 4%.

The county commissioners will host public hearings on August 14 for the budget and tax rate.  The budget hearing will be at 9:00am with the tax rate hearing to follow at 9:30am.  The second hearing for the tax rate will be held on August 21 at 9:00am.  Commissioners plan to adopt the budget and tax rate on August 28.

As required by law, as commissioners have proposed a three percent salary increase for elected officials as well as employees, we are publishing the new salaries, with the increase for elected officials in Hockley County.

Elected Official                                                               New Proposed Salary

District Judge Pat Phelan                                                $5,405 County Portion of Salary (State                                                                                                pays remainder of salary)

District Attorney Chris Dennis                                      $5,405 County Portion of Salary (State                                                                                                pays remainder of salary)

District Clerk Dennis Price                                             $55,813

County Clerk Irene Gumula                                           $55,813

Justice of Peace Pct. 5 Brenda Nock                              $51,864

Justice of Peace Pct. 1 Sue Coker                                   $13,372

Justice of Peace Pct. 2 Linda Cannon                           $13,372

Justice of Peace Pct. 4 Larry Wood                               $13,372

County Attorney Anna Hord                                         $55,813

County Tax Collector Debbie Bramlett                        $55,813

County Treasurer Denise Bohannon                           $55,813

County Sheriff Ray Scifres                                             $55,813

County Commissioners Pct 1-4                                     $53,689 each

Constable Pct 1 Kenny Greenlee                                    $6,515

Constable Pct 2 Robert Dalton                                      $12,360

Constable Pct 4 Jennifer Kinney                                     $8,478

Constable Pct 5 Lance Scott                                           $18,295

 

 

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Slaton Police Investigate Car vs Pedestrian Accident

letstalkSlaton Police were called to investigate a car vs. pedestrian accident, which claimed the life of the pedestrian Tuesday night.

Very little information has been released as of yet.  The Slaton Police plan to release the identity of the victim and further information once an autopsy has been performed.

Police called the Medical Examiners office to the scene and an autopsy was ordered.   It is unknown how many vehicles may have struck the individual.

We will continue to follow this story and bring you updates as they become available.

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Obituary: Jonnye Sue Polk, 77 of Levelland

3319_memorialFuneral Services are scheduled for Jonnye Sue Polk, 77 of Levelland.  Services are scheduled for Wednesday, August 2 at 1:00pm in the First Baptist Church in Levelland.  Burial will follow in the Whitharral Cemetery.  She passed away Sunday at her home in Levelland.  Services are under the direction of Krestridge Funeral Home of Levelland.

For more information:  klvtnews.wordpress.com/obituaries

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Levelland City Council Meets in Regular Session

letstalkThe Levelland City Council met Monday night in a regular meeting.  As part of the meeting the council took action to re-appoint three members to the Levelland Community Development board and appoint a new member to fill FE Shaheen’s position, as he no longer lives in Levelland.  The council reappointed board members, Michael Wiiest, Frankie Ruiz and Kelly Read to the Levelland Community Development Corporation.   Mayor Barbara Pinner, made the comment “I feel that the council, might need to go outside sports and appoint someone other than a sports person to the board.”  The LCDC board had recommended filling FE Shaheen’s seat with Brent Paris, LHS baseball coach.  After some discussion the motion was made by JoeBill Vardeman to appoint Billy Youngblood to the board to fill the term of Shaheen.  The motion passed and the appointment of Youngblood was approved on a unanimous vote.   

Manuel Mendez spoke during the public forum portion of the meeting.  He spoke concerning the park on Sherman.  He also asked to be considered to be appointed to the LCDC board, noting that he has grown up in Levelland.  He would like to see the city spend the money they are wanting to spend on the Sherman Street park to take that and put that type of same playground in the City Park.  He says community people are wanting to serve on these committees, however, they are never asked. 

 The council also took action regarding a housing development agreement for 201 West Adams Street.  The city said they have been recently contacted by a developer who has a client who wishes to place a mobile home on a lot.  They have identified a lot at 201 West Adams which has several liens on the property due to it falling in disrepair and they city having to demolish the property and mow the lot several times since then.  The city attorney has recommended a housing development agreement which states that the developer will pay the city $2,000 in return for the city releasing the liens of nearly $10,000 which is much more than the property is worth.  The agreement states that within 90 days they must place a mobile home of acceptable nature on the property or he would have to pay the nearly $10,000 in liens to the city.  The agreement was accepted with little discussion. 

 

The council also approved a resolution for the use of a surplus water truck by the Levelland Economic Development Corporation.  The LEDC will use the truck to water trees which they plan to plant for landscaping in the rail park. 

The council also approved refunding or refinancing of Canadian River Municipal Water Authority Contract Revenue Bonds from 2009.  Interest rates have lowered since that time and CRMWA would like to refinance to save interest and lower the cost to member cities.  It is estimated to save $1.4 million over the live of the bond.  The cities savings would amount to approximately $39,000. 

BUDGET WORKSESSION 

The council looked at the budget for the Tax Increment Financing Funds.  It was reported that with development in the rail park, including Penny Newman grain, the TIF #2 receives some tax money from that development this year, of approximately $180,000 which will go toward paying the LEDC bond on the rail park.  It was noted that eventually, they would like for TIF dollars to pay the entire bond payment of $330,000 per year so that the LEDC can use their money to recruit more development.   

John Clary, presented the budget for the LEDC.  It was noted that they are budgeting very conservatively this year, in order to try and build fund balance based on future capital needs for further development in the rail park.  The council approved the LEDC budget. 

The council also reviewed the budget for the Levelland Community Development Corporation.  It was noted that the LCDC board met recently and approved the budget which including spending $75,000 for replacement of the playground at Sherman park.  It was noted that the current playground at that park is wooden and has worn dramatically over the ten years since the park was built.  The city will apply for a $75,000 grant through Texas Parks and Wildlife to put with the city funds to fund the large playground replacement at Sherman park.  It was noted that the Sherman park is one of the most utilized parks in the city. 

Councilman Jim Myatt, commented that the city is looking at spending a lot of money in the next fiscal year, considering that the city lost quite a bit of money in sales tax in current 2016-2017.  It was noted that a big chunk of the capital expenses is in the Enterprise fund and a majority of those expenses are required by TCEQ.  Assistant City Manager, Erik Rejino, said the intention of the city is to not have a lot of capital expenses in 2018-2019.  Myatt, expressed concern on the purchase of a new packer for the landfill.  It was pointed out that the city purchased re-furbished equipment to start the landfill 3 years ago, it was also pointed out that without a packer the city would have to close the landfill.  Myatt also expressed concern that over half of the fire departments budget is used to fight fires in the county.  Rejino pointed out that the city is looking at tracking fire department runs and could possibly request additional money from Hockley County in coming years.  

The council will meet on Tuesday, August 8 to propose a tax rate for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

 

Billy Youngblood and Max Ledesma did not attend the meeting. 

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