By Kathi Bliss
In a brief, yet occasionally contentious meeting of the Lockhart City Council on Tuesday evening, the council approved an end to the temporary reduction of road impact fees on a split vote.
For several years, the Impact Fee Advisory Committee has encouraged the council to end the reductions, and during their Oct. 4 meeting, the panel voted to have the ordinance amended to bring the reductions to an end.
Mayor Pro Tem Paul Gomez, who presided over the meeting in the absence of Mayor Ray Sanders, spoke out against ending the reductions and “increasing impact fees,” a stance for which he has been well known during his time on the council. Gomez had been absent from the Oct. 4 meeting, but said that he would have voted against ending the reductions, had he been present at that time.
When he finished speaking, District Four Councilmember Richard Banks said he should not be trying to “browbeat” the other councilmembers into changing their votes. Gomez responded he was not asking anyone to change a previous stance, but rather that he was explaining his own position.
In the end, the council voted 4-2 to approve the revised ordinance ending the reductions, with Gomez and District Three Councilmember Lew White standing against the change.
Extended conversation, with no resolution, took place regarding a proposed change to the city’s zoning ordinance, intended to strengthen and clarify the rules about “all-weather surfaces” appropriate for parking.
The discussion was initiated by City Planner Dan Gibson, who asked the council to make amendments to the ordinance because vehicle parking on surfaces such as residential yards continues to be an enforcement issue.
City Manager Vance Rodgers told the council that he, along with the inspection and enforcement staff, frequently work with homeowners to help them understand what sort of surfaces are appropriate.
Ultimately, a motion to approve Gibson’s proposed changes to the ordinance failed on a tied 3-3 vote.
The council spent time discussing a nominee to the Capital Area Council of Governments General Assembly. The discussion had come up before, at that time with the council splitting votes between White and District Two Councilmember John Castillo.
Richard “Dick” Wieland, who serves on the CAPCOG nominating committee, came forward and encouraged the council to nominate White for the position, saying that he would feel most comfortable offering an endorsement for White.
However, the council voted 4-2 in favor of nominating Castillo to the Assembly.
In brief news:
The council heard information from City Secretary Connie Rodriguez about record retention rules from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
They approved the city’s quarterly investment report and annual mutual aid agreement with Travis County Fire Rescue.
The city awarded a contract in the amount of $196,191.50 to Herschap Backhoe and Ditching for installation of eight-inch and 12-inch water mains.
They approved resolutions adopting the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority Hazard Mitigation Plan Update, and supporting upcoming Ballot Proposition 2.
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 of Lockhart City Hall. The meetings are open to the public and interested citizens and stakeholders are encouraged to attend.