By Kathi Bliss
During a brief meeting of the Lockhart City Council on Tuesday evening, the council addressed a variety of issues moving toward passage of the upcoming fiscal year budget.
Although the council has not yet publicly addressed any potential changes to the tax rate for the 2014-2015 Fiscal Year budget, one change that came up for discussion was the possibility of a cemetery tax.
City Manager Vance Rodgers, in reviewing the budget for the Cemetery Department, an offshoot of the Parks Department, noted the City is responsible for maintenance of both the Lockhart Municipal Cemetery on Highway 183, and the Hooks Cemetery on Old Kelley Road. That maintenance, he said, could be legally funded by imposing a “cemetery tax,” which all City of Lockhart taxpayers could see added to their property tax bill in the future.
Although there was little discussion of the logistics of imposing such a tax, Rodgers said it was something the Council could consider as they move forward in budget talks.
In other budget-related items, the Council reviewed the funds that might be necessary to add curb-and-gutter projects to several streets throughout the community.
Rodgers noted the Road and Street budget is stretched thin, and that it would likely require a bond project to improve streets to the level the Council and their constituents would prefer to see. In the meantime, he said, funding is being made available in the upcoming budget for several street projects, including paving, chip sealing and repair throughout the community.
In the near future, Rodgers will provide the council with a breakdown of city streets, their condition, and the district in which they are located.
Also included in the proposed budget are several capital purchase, including vehicles for several departments, construction and roofing projects at facilities throughout the city’s building inventory, and several personnel changes.
The council will continue holding budget workshops throughout July and early August, until they take an official vote on the budget next month.
In brief news:
The Council approved an application for a Texas Community Development Block Grant, which will help to fund drainage and street improvements on Richland Drive.
They officially accepted the resignation of former District 4 Councilmember Richard Banks, who tendered his resignation last week. Mayor Lew White noted that under the City Charter, the Council is not required to hold a special election to fill the position, which is up for election in November. Neither are they authorized, under the charter, to appoint an interim councilmember to fill the position prior to the election.
They considered requests from a variety of non-profit organizations for potential funding in the coming year, and also read a proclamation declaring July 2014 National Breastfeeding Month.
The Lockhart City Council routinely meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers on the third floor of the Masonic Annex to the Dr. Eugene Clark Library (the Masonic Building). Council meetings are open to the public and are televised on Time Warner Digital Cable Channel 10.