By Miranda Rogers
As the Lockhart City Council prepares for their upcoming fiscal year budget, several area non-profit organizations stood at the ready to ask for their share of the city’s budget.
During the council’s regular meeting on July 3, several organizations came forward to request funds for the 2012-2013 budget year. The organizations gave short presentations about their missions and the benefits of the organization, their current financial statement, how the previous year’s contribution from the City was spent, and the requested amount and how those funds will be spent.
The Caldwell County Medic Assist Team (CCMAT), who assists first responders in a variety of ways, said they need rehab supplies and assistance for firefighters. They have 40 first responders, and are requesting $3,000, the same amount they were awarded last year.
The Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center asked for $90 per victim, for a total of $11,790, in order to help maintain their office in town, staffed with counselors and legal advocates.
The Hays-Caldwell Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse requested $2,000 for their mission to promoting community and family enrichment through prevention and treatment. They will also seek to provide education and prevention programs throughout Caldwell and Hays county.
Combined Community Action – Meals on Wheels said that they served 40 meals per day. They requested $400. They will use the funds for Wellness Checks for clients. The Federal government, who also assists Meals on Wheels, made cutbacks by terminating management positions, and only funded 75 percent of their previous levels.
The Lockhart Area Senior Citizen’ Activity Center did not request a specific amount. The organization runs a kitchen Monday through Friday, and is attempting to expand to deliver meals and offer classes to elderly of community.
CASA, and organization for abused and neglected children, is recruiting and training local volunteers. There are currently 177 advocates for 300 children, and they would like to double or triple their volunteer numbers in Lockhart, where there are presently only nine advocates. They requested $6,000, the same amount as last year.
Caldwell County Christian ministries, who served little less than 1,000 families last month and is servicing the entire county, also did not name a specific amount.
Community Health Coalition provides diabetes education for people without insurance. They have a Prescription Assistance enrollment program and served 360 residents in Caldwell County by securing their medication.
The council will make determinations about the levels of funding they will provide to these organizations during their regular meeting on July 17.
In other business:
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) gave a presentation regarding the river flooding feasibility study and status of the project. The presentation included goals for flood warning models to reduce flood hazards, such as LiDAR, a light detection for elevation.
The study area focused below Canyon Dam to Victoria County, Caldwell County to Gonzales and major creeks and tributaries that feed into the river. GBRA has also asked other communities to get involved, and are expecting participation from Gonzales, Victoria, Hays, Dewitt and Caldwell. Lockhart’s participation in the project is expected to cost between $25,000 and $30,000.
The resignation of one of the members of the Central Lockhart Enhancement Project Stakeholder Committee created conflict between some of the Council members and the Mayor when discussing a possible replacement for the seat.
Recently, Lucy Knight had resigned from the committee due to scheduling conflicts, and Amelia Smith and Janet Grigar, both eager and excited to join the committee, were being considered for the position. However, councilmember John Castillo, who is also a part of the committee, said [the committee] had “enough people,” and suggested the council not make an appointment to fill Knight’s seat.
Mayor Lew White questioned Castillo’s unwillingness to let a person participate, reminding the council that, “…we are trying to promote volunteerism, and now we are denying someone interested in joining?”
Castillo argued that there were time constraints, and said he was worried the committee “wouldn’t go anywhere” with their decisions. The issue has been tabled until the next City Council meeting.
After performing a traffic study, TxDOT is planning to create an ordinance to set the speed limit in portions of US 183 and SH 130 frontage roads within the city at 50 mph.
While some of the Council members feel the speed limit is “not a big deal,” Councilmember Angie Gonzales-Sanchez was less comfortable with the lowered speed limit, concerned with commuters and people getting off the highway, where the speed limit is 80 mph. The item will be brought to the council again during the first meeting in August.
In brief news:
Lockhart Fire Department will be sending in a grant application through the Department of Homeland Security’s 2012 Assistance to Firefighters’ Grant (AFG) program. The grant will be a total of $65,000 with a city match of 5 percent. There is no guarantee they will get the grant, as it is a very competitive process, but if awarded the funds will be used for additional spare sets of equipment for backup.
Due to the decayed and blighted conditions of sidewalks in the historical business district area, the City of Lockhart will apply for funding under the Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas Capital Fund Downtown Revitalization Program. Criteria for the selection of sidewalk are based on foot traffic and condition of the roadway, and the City will have consultants come in and determine solutions. Infrastructure will cost approximately $135,000, and $30,000 for administration and engineering fees.
The Council considered a project to replace bad sidewalks in the Historic Central Business District to improve mobility and traffic. The project will require a 20 percent match of $150,000 from the City; the Lockhart Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) agreed to chip in $30,000.
Despite the City’s constant effort to reduce costs for relocation or adjustment of above-ground utilities for the Proposition 12 US 183 expansion project, five pole crossings across Highway 183 have been found to be in conflict with the plan, according to City Manager Vance Rogers, which could significantly increase the cost of the project. Rodgers said he intended to meet soon week with TxDOT to continue talks about the project, hoping to decrease the amount of lines underground. He expects to keep working until early September to find a compromise for the “cumbersome process,” and obtain Request for Qualifications for vendors to do the project.
City Council will hold their budget hearing on Thursday Sept. 13, 2012. The meeting will coincide with the second public hearing for the City Tax report.
The Lockhart City Council routinely 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.