Council eyes changes to budget billing

Council eyes changes to budget billing

By Miranda Rogers

POST-REGISTER

 

The City of Lockhart may soon offer new options to help customers budget for their utility bills.

Under the City’s current “budget billing” program, certain customers are eligible for a billing program that bills the customer for the average use over a 12-month period. Councilmember Juan Mendoza requested the discussion, hoping that the Council could alter the requirements to allow more customers to be eligible for the service.

Currently, qualifications for the budget billing program include maintenance of a good payment history for a consecutive six months, including no disconnects, no insufficient checks presented, and no more than one late payment.

After a convoluted explanation of the difference between “average billing” and “true average billing,” the council decided to table the item until December, when it will be presented with more information about the “true average billing.”

The concern about the averages, as voiced by Councilmember John Castillo, is the fact that during particularly hot summers or cold winters, the City could be put at risk of providing service without ample payment.

The Council also voted to update the city’s Code of Ordinances with regards to “Animals and Beekeeping” to clarify the definition of “Public Nuisance,” adding language regarding a pet owner’s failure to remove waste from public or private property.

In response to a growing plague of E. coli and other nutrient loads in and around Plum Creek, and in connection with a grant agreement with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality the City of Lockhart Public Works department has increased their efforts to reduce and eliminate potential contributors like dog waste. Such efforts include placing dog waste collection stations around the park, as well as requiring owners of dogs to pick up after their pets anywhere on public or private property. Though the issue has been attributed to feral hogs and other wildlife, the City is taking steps to educate pet owners about water quality and increase responsibility.

March 2 – 3, 2013, have been slated for the much discussed 2013 Grand Prix Kart Race. After struggling with the large fee of $70,000, the City’s responsibility will now focus solely on providing barricades and smooth street surfaces, as well as crowd control. EMS will be standing by, and the city expects good participation from the churches.

The street improvements have been finished and the water main on Prairie Lea and will complete on Commerce. City Manager Vance Rodgers said he is looking forward to having at least two more meetings to try to get all concerns from local businesses addressed.

In brief news:

In a “housekeeping” item, the council has chosen to remove a statutory cap that the State puts on cities for the benefit accumulation fund of the Texas Municipal Retirement System at the actuarially determined rate of total employee compensation. Finance Department Head Jeff Hinson stated that if the cap was not removed, all options would be taken away, and the employee retirement account would no longer be “fully funded.”

After bids for supplement maintenance mowing of the Municipal Airport runway, taxiway and adjoining areas were solicited publicly, Mr. Billy Houston was the only bid in response, but still hard to beat. Mr. Houston has been mowing under previous contracts for three years and is “always there when we need him,” Rodgers says. The bid is currently only for one year, but can be extended to three upon mutual agreement at the same prices.

The City of Lockhart will be reentering their second year into contract with Schmidt & Sons to deliver diesel and gasoline at the lowest profit margin, which will be $.04 for gas and $.05 for diesel.

After performing “commendably” for the past six years, Worlanda Neal has agreed to continue serving on the Civil Service Commission for a third term, which will be three years long. Both the City Manager and Civil Service Director concur that she has been an asset to the Civil Service Commission.

Beginning Dec. 1, 2012, Lockhart will be entering an Engineering Services Agreement with the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) to identify large electric system improvements. LCRA has developed a five-year plan that will give the city a better balance of electricity with $140 thousand in benefits per year.

During Citizen Comments, David Studer brought up a concern that there may not be an exit sign on the new toll road that identifies the city of Lockhart. He said that if he didn’t already know where he was, he would have gone right through, which may pose a threat for potential tourists. The City Council agreed to make sure the problem was taken care of.

William Groves has resigned from the Parks Board, and now they are seeking a new member, who must also be a city resident.

Zoning for 1409 Blackjack Street will change from Agriculture-Open Space District to Commercial Heavy Business District as requested by David Marquez on behalf of Melvin Alex and Jo Nell Schulze. The property will be purchased for future office use for a company that has started here in 2007.

The Lockhart City Council 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 televised on Time Warner Digital Cable Channel 10.

 

electric system improvements. LCRA has developed a five-year plan that will give the city a better balance of electricity with $140 thousand in benefits per year.

During Citizen Comments, David Studer brought up a concern that there may not be an exit sign on the new toll road that identifies the city of Lockhart. He said that if he didn’t already know where he was, he would have gone right through, which may pose a threat for potential tourists. The City Council agreed to make sure the problem was taken care of.

William Groves has resigned from the Parks Board, and now they are seeking a new member, who must also be a city resident.

Zoning for 1409 Blackjack Street will change from Agriculture-Open Space District to Commercial Heavy Business District as requested by David Marquez on behalf of Melvin Alex and Jo Nell Schulze. The property will be purchased for future office use for a company that has started here in 2007.

The Lockhart City Council 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 televised on Time Warner Digital Cable Channel 10.

 

 

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