Council approves sidewalk projects
By LPR Staff
During a brief regular meeting on Tuesday evening, the Lockhart City Council voted unanimously to move forward with a project repairing and replacing a number of sidewalks in central Lockhart.
The project, which according to City Manager Vance Rodgers is being funded with proceeds from a 2009 Certificate of Obligation (bond) packag
e, is a part of what some hope will be a massive overhaul of Lockhart’s sidewalk system.
Over the past several years, the City of Lockhart has worked with the Lockhart Independent School District on a “Safe Routes to School” grant package, which allows funding for sidewalk construction of a community’s most-traveled walking routes. That grant package, which the city received in 2009, was not available last year, prompting the council to allocate a portion of the bond proceeds toward sidewalk funding.
However, changes in the legislature and a pending decision from the Federal Transportation Commission mean that additional grant funds might be available later this year.
For that reason, Rodgers said, he recommended the council move forward with funding only a portion of the sidewalk project, intended to rehabilitate the sidewalks on San Antonio Street. The original project included not only San Antonio, but more than a dozen other residential streets in all areas of Lockhart.
“Depending on those decisions, there might be additional grant funds available later this
year,” he said. “And if there are, we can apply for those grant funds and use some of the money that we’ve allocated [from the certificates of obligation] as matching funds. We could get as much as triple the funding, allowing us to do a lot more work.”
Rodgers noted the city is continuing to make note of areas of particular danger, and
working on those sidewalk projects as they arise. However, he said, financing the projects does raise some prickly problems, particularly since any work on existing sidewalks triggers a need for considerable repairs. Once work is begun on any sidewalk, as little as repaving, that sidewalk must be brought entirely within compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires in many cases more work than the city’s current budget can support.
In other business, the council heard presentations from several local organizations requesting a share of the city’s hotel-motel tax allocation.
Each year, organizations charged with promoting Lockhart and “putting heads in beds” vie for a share of the sales taxes generated by hotels and motels.
Last calendar year, the hotel-motel tax generated $78,812, the lion’s share of which (59 percent) was allocated to the Lockhart Chamber of Commerce.
The Lockhart Chamber, along with the Greater Caldwell County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Caldwell County Museum, the Gaslight-Baker Theatre and the Southwest Museum of Clocks and Watches – each of which have been funded in the past – asked the council to continue allocating funds. Additionally, the Friends of the Brock Cabin came forward with a request, suggesting their work with the historic cabin would be a tourism draw and therefore entitle them to a portion of the funds.
According to Mayor Ray Sanders, the council will vote on allocations of the hotel-motel tax during their next regular meeting, on Jan. 18.
In brief news:
Lockhart resident Heather Moyer came forward to express concern that city inspectors may have fallen short in the permitting and inspection process. Moyer claims that the home her family recently purchased was not built to code and as a result is becoming uninhabitable, and that the contractor responsible for the work did not pull the proper permits, nor did the city properly inspect the property before she purchased it. Sanders asked Rodgers to look into the matter.
The council voted to list one of the city’s ambulances, known as “Medic 1,” for sale on the ambulancetrader.com website. The unit has been replaced with a new ambulance which was delivered on Dec. 5, according to Emergency Services Director Melanie Tucker.
Longtime At Large Councilmember Paul Gomez was appointed to serve as the city’s Mayor Pro Tem.
Rodgers reminded the council that a public hearing to discuss the possibility of extending hours for the legal sale of alcohol until 2 a.m. will be held during the next regular council meeting. That hearing is expected to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 18.
The Lockhart City Council regularly meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Glosserman Conference Room at Lockhart City Hall. The meetings are open to the public and are televised on Time Warner Digital Cable Channel 10.