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Plans move forward for library remodel

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

More than 20 years after the initial acquisition of the Masonic Building and the first plans to renovate the Dr. Eugene Clark Library complex, the council agreed on Tuesday evening to move forward with the next phase of construction, a $1.3 million dollar project that will more than triple the library’s current useable space

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Architect Norman Alston appeared before the council this week with a detailed plan for the renovations and expansion, which he said has been discussed with and approved by not only the Library Advisory Board and the Irving Club, but also by the Friends of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library and the Lockhart Historical Preservation Commission.

The massive undertaking, which will be funded in large part by certificates of obligation approved by the council last year, will expand the existing children’s area on the first floor of the Masonic Annex, move most of the stacks and the Lockhart Technology Center to the second floor of that building, and relocate the city council chambers to a meeting room on the third floor.

In the process of renovation of the Masonic Annex, most of the books will be moved from the Dr. Eugene Clark Building, which will be returned to it’s originally decreed purpose, a lyceum and study area which will be open to the public and utilized by library staff and programs for dozens of special events every year.

The current connector between the two buildings will be expanded and turned into the complex’s main entry way, where the main circulation desk will be located, allowing staff to better monitor comings and goings into each of the historic buildings.

Alston asked the council to approve the current plans so he can move forward in creating
blueprints and start the bidding process for construction.

Work on the project is expected to start in 2011, and Alston said when the time comes to begin choosing contractors for the project, local bidders will be given assistance in preparing bids, in an effort to spend as much of the allocated budget locally as possible.

In other business, City Planner Dan Gibson presented a report from the Impact Fee
Advisory Board regarding the collection of water, wastewater and road impact fees in connection with new construction in Lockhart.

According to the figures Gibson presented, fees have been collected in significantly less amounts than originally projected, due in part to the fact that for the last several years, the council has voted to charge only a portion of the initially-approved impact fees.

Those collections, he said, are intended to finance infrastructure projects that will be needed in the future as Lockhart grows. The purpose of the fees is to place the burden of that infrastructure on the developers and property owners who “create the impact,” rather than on the taxpayers at large.

After lengthy discussion about current and projected development in Lockhart, the council asked Gibson to return during the next scheduled meeting on Oct. 19 with an ordinance that continues the reductions in road impact fees.

In brief news:
The council offered a proclamation honoring the Lockhart Chamber of Commerce and declaring the week of Oct. 18 – 22, 2010, as Texas Chamber of Commerce week. During the presentation, Sanders offered a personal commentary on how proud he is to work with the Lockhart Chamber of Commerce and impressed he has historically been with the work they do on a day-to-day basis.

At the request of Finance Director Jeff Hinson, the council approved the city’s investment policy for the current fiscal year. Under state law, the council is required to review and approve the investment policy annually. However, Hinson said, no substantive changes have been made to the policy this year.

Rodgers asked the council to allow city staff to donate certain items of obsolete and unused electronics equipment to Goodwill. The equipment, he said, is no longer appropriate for use within the spectrum of city functions, and can be disposed of at no charge to the city if donated. Otherwise, charges for the storage or disposal of the equipment might be accrued.

After some discussion which will lead to a further review of the pay policy, the council approved incremental pay increases for longevity within the police and fire departments. The increases, approved in connection with the 2010-2011 Fiscal Year Budget, are a requirement under the city’s civil service ordinance approved by voters several years ago.

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 broadcast live on Time Warner Digital Cable Channel 10.

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