City sets deposits, rental fees for library

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

The Lockhart City Council voted on Tuesday evening to amend the procedures that allow businesses and organizations to rent space in the Dr. Eugene Clark Library for non-city-sponsored events.

The proposal for a change in the library’s policies and procedures was brought before the Library Advisory Board recently, aft

er a couple requested permission to rent the facility for a wedding. Under previously-existing rules, no stipulation was available to allow the library to be used for such purposes.

On Tuesday, the council agreed to change the library’s policies to allow the facility to be rented both by individuals and other entities, with certain restrictions.

A deposit of $1,000 will be required to rent the historic structure, which may not be used for private commercial interests. However, businesses may rent the space, at the rate of $100 per hour, for free-of-charge informational events, provided those events do not promote a specific business or product.

City Manager Vance Rodgers noted the new policy would allow the wedding in question, but would limit the number of people allowed in the building, restrict the use of the balconies and the stage, and would forbid any food or beverages being served in the building. He also said the $1,000 deposit would be fully refundable, provided those renting the library complied with all areas of the rental policy.

Councilmember Richard Banks expressed concern that the amount of the required deposit, $1,000, might be exclusionary for some. He said a high deposit would discourage people from using the facility for events, such as a wedding or meeting.

“In determining this fee, we had to look at the value of the things in the library,” Rodgers said. “This is a very important asset to the community, and because of its beauty, we have people from time to time that want to use it for different functions, but we have to protect it at the same time. The deposit might not cover the damage if, say, one of the stained-glass windows were broken, but it would cover the deductible on the insurance.”

Rodgers also explained the deposit procedure would be similar to those in place for other city facilities. Often, he said, deposit checks are not cashed by the City of Lockhart, and are returned to the renting parties after the conclusion of the event and completion of the cleanup.

The new policy also addresses the use of the facility by production companies, as the library has grown in popularity as a movie set in recent years. Like any other group or individual, production companies will be asked to pay the $1,000 deposit and $100 per hour rental fee for use of the facility.

In brief news:
The council discussed a change in employee health benefits for the coming year. According to Finance Director Jeff Hinson, a change in insurance carrier for employees will result in savings of nearly $23,000 over the next year.

The panel approved an interlocal agreement with Caldwell County to help facilitate the occupation of the expanded Caldwell County Jail next month.

Fire codes require an additional fire hydrant to be installed at the end of Reed Drive to service the jail. The installation of that hydrant and extension of existing water lines would cost the County upwards of $35,000, where the same work will cost the City of Lockhart some $3,700.

Conversely, the city has recognized the need to pave a portion of Reed Drive, at a potential cost substantially higher than that $3,700. This work would be significantly less expensive for Caldwell County, which has paving material and equipment on hand.

Therefore, the two entities have agreed upon an arrangement where the city will install the hydrant in exchange for the county paving the road. This work will take place later this month.

Because Mayor James “Jimmy” Bertram and Councilmember Richard Wieland were both absent from the meeting, it was decided to table discussion of several amendments to the Code of Ordinances as proposed by the Ordinance Review Committee. Those changes will be taken up during the next regular meeting of the Lockhart City Council, on Dec. 16, 2008.

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