City, LCRA raise electric rates
By LPR Staff
To keep up with escalating fuel costs, the City of Lockhart has been forced to raise the rates for utility customers, beginning in December.
The increase, which amounts to around $17 per 1000 kilowatt hours, is the result of the increase in natural gas costs incurred by the city’s wholesale power provider, the Lower Co
lorado River Authority.
“This is a straight pass-through that we’re getting from LCRA,” said City Manager Clovia English on Tuesday evening. “The city makes no margin on these charges – it simply passes the cost of the fuel increase through to its customers.”
English said the increase was likely not to be permanent, as LCRA routinely changes their fuel charges in accordance with the natural gas market.
“They’re usually good about that,” she said. “We’ll have to charge the increase until they come back down for us, but they have always been reliable about taking care of that.”
Because LCRA is one of the lowest-priced wholesale power providers in the state, English said in a written statement this week, the City will continue to partner with them to provide wholesale power.
In other council business, after a lengthy conversation with a group of area landlords, the council will consider changing inspection requirements for rental properties in Lockhart.
Several landlords have become disgruntled over the past several years because the City’s inspection requirements for rental properties are much more stringent than those for owner-occupied homes.
The chief complaint, according to landlord Francis Gage, is that the City requires inspections every 18 months, and tenants are sometimes the cause of safety problems.
“They’ll take the batteries out of the smoke detector for a toy, or because they smoke,” she said. “There’s nothing that [the landlord] can do about that.”
Inoperable smoke detectors are one of many things that can cause a property to fail a routine inspection.
The council instructed Assistant City Manager Vance Rodgers to meet with the landlords and tenants to determine the best course of action. Rodgers will present possible solutions to the council on Dec. 20.
In brief council news:
The city approved the appraisal roll in the amount of $2,388,237.65 for 2005.
Mayor James Bertram read a Proclamation declaring the week of Nov. 14 – 21 “Operation Christmas Child Week.”
The panel passed a resolution changing standard city elections to the first uniform election date of the year, in order to continue holding elections in May.
The council consulted with the city attorney regarding pending or proposed litigation in an executive session. No announcement was made about the consultation.