City lures Serta mattress factory
By LPR Staff
An Austin-based mattress factory approached the city council on Tuesday evening to discuss the possibility of relocating their facility to Lockhart.
Economy Realty, Ltd./Dormae Products, Ltd., a furniture manufacturer with strong Lockhart ties, has been discussing the possibility of purchasing and modernizing the existin
g Kewaunee building on FM 20 East. Should the company decide to relocate to Lockhart, they will bring 120 jobs, nearly 30 of which will be new jobs for local residents, and thousands of dollars of expanded revenue.
Economy Realty approached the council with a request for a 10-year tax abatement and a waiver of permit fees for the relocation and construction of the factory. According to figures presented in a cost-benefit analysis prepared by LCRA, the city would trade a total of around $53,000 for an estimated revenue benefit of millions, taking into account increased property tax revenues, salaries and added retail business.
The council agreed unanimously that the benefits were worth the cost, and approved the tax abatements and fee waivers, in the event Economy Realty and Kewaunee can reach an agreement on the sale price of the building and surrounding property.
Councilmember Dick Wieland was absent from the meeting, citing health reasons. Mayor Ray Sanders suggested that Wieland”s declining health may prevent him from continuing to serve on the council, but there has been no public statement as to Wieland”s plans.
In other council business, the city agreed to partner with the Lockhart Independent School District, the Prairie Lea ISD and the Luling ISD to institute plans and training for a major emergency in the schools.
This no-matching-fund grant will provide the districts and the emergency responders from the surrounding areas the opportunity and training to help school administrators to deal with a disaster of the caliber of the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.
After discussion with the city staff, the council agreed to subscribe to a new software program to manage utility billing.
While the change-over to the new software is taking place, the city will run a concurrent system to ensure that customer information is maintained during the transition. After installed, the new software should allow utility service staff to have access to customers past usage and billing records immediately, helping the staff to assist customers on the spot, rather than having to research problems and then contact customers.
Making a second change to the current utility programs, the city will no longer place notification tags on customers” homes prior to disconnecting utilities.
According to city manager Clovia English, customers have started to abuse the system in recent months, and some customers routinely do not pay their bills until they receive a disconnect notice.
The city will continue to keep track of customers billing and try to work with customers who do not have an excessive history of late payments.
In other council business:
The city presented four proclamations: The first, delcaring the week of April 17-23 as Public Safety Communications Week; the second naming the week of May 1-8 “Cover the Uninsured Week;” the third recognizing “Public Service Week” on May 2-8, and finally, designating May 15-21 Hurricane Awareness Week.