By Miranda Rogers
A simple discussion almost reached boiling point during the Council meeting on Tuesday, as the Councilmembers heard the semi-annual assessment from the Impact Fee Advisory Committee.
The report evaluates the implementation of the impact fee collections to fund capital improvement plans. As of the Committee’s March 27 meeting, the current total balance of all impact fee accounts at $316,340. The total impact fee revenue during this six-month period was $42,827, and no funds were spent on CIP projects.
While the committee recommended that no changes were needed to the current land use assumptions, capital improvement plans, or impact fees, Mayor Lew White questioned his colleagues’ satisfaction with the status quo of the city, and sought ideas to spur construction of housing.
In what was at times a spirited discussion, Councilmember Richard Banks said it was the lack of jobs, rather than the lack of housing, that is keeping people out of Lockhart. The pair, each consistent in their opinion on Impact Fees, went back and forth on the issue, with White finally telling the council that he welcomes ideas from his fellow Council members, reminding them that it was their job to help the staff and to do some homework on the subject.
In other business, the Council approved a zoning change for Caldwell County, presented by County Administrator Ron Heggemeier.
The change pertains to the County’s recently acquired property at 1703 S. Colorado, informally known as the “Old WalMart,” which will be changed from Commercial Heavy Business District to Public and Institutional District as a result of the change.
The property was purchased last year and will soon undergo an extensive renovation, after which Caldwell County will plans on moving several judicial functions, and possibly some vehicle service activities, including County Clerk, District Clerk, District Attorney and Adult Probation.
The request for a zoning change was made in order to have this kind of function in the building.
After appointing City Manager Vance Rodgers as one of the two Lockhart residents to serve on the Seton Community Advisory Board, the Council has elected to appoint applicant Carlos Cisneros as the second Lockhart resident.
Parks Manager Bernie Rangel had voiced an interest in being involved; however because he works for the City, the Council chose to reflect diversity on the board, not wanting to show a “conflict of interest.”
The purpose of the Board will be to ensure the quality and utilization of the Emergency Medical Services provided by Seton.
The current City of Lockhart curfew of 11 p.m. to 6 p.m. will be held in place, without modification, for an additional three years.
Lockhart Chief of Police Mike Lummus claimed that the curfew has been a very good tool, and recorded 29 citations in the last 16 months.
Situations where they could not extract citations were more serious matters that may have led to the individual being taken to juvenile hall, or returned to their parents. The curfew will not be applied to students who have a school activity or are going to or returning from work.
White presented several proclamations, declaring the month of April, 2013 as “Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month,” “Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month,” and “Fair Housing Month.” April 21-27, 2013 has been proclaimed “National Crime Victims’ Rights week.”
On behalf of the council, Mayor White thanked CASA Simple Texas, Hays County Women’s Center and the Victims’ Assistance Team for turning their experience into motivation to address the needs of the community.
In brief news, the current contract with Charles E. Laurence, M.D. as the City Health Officer, which was scheduled to expire on May 1, 2013, will be renewed. Laurence has been the City Health Officer for more than 17 years, and all subsequent renewals of his contract will be automatic unless either the Health Officer or City Manager provides termination notice in compliance with the agreement.
The City’s Fair Housing Ordinance will be rewritten in its entirety to reflect more recent standards from the Federal and state governments. The ordinance, as currently written, was adopted on Sept. 21, 1993. The change has been dubbed a “housekeeping item,” by City staff, and will not impact any current grants.
The Lockhart City Council routinely meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month, at 7:30 p.m. in the Glosserman Conference and Training Center of Lockhart City Hall. The meetings are open to the public and are televised on Time Warner Digital Cable Channel 10.