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Spring sports stretch city staff

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

As Lockhart’s Little League and spring soccer seasons gain steam, the city staff faces growing concern that they will not be able to keep up with maintenance needs.
According to assistant city manager Vance Rodgers, the city’s parks maintenance staff lacks sufficient manpower to maintain the city’s parks and, more

immediately, the sports fields. Many of the fields are used by Lockhart’s many youth sports organizations.
At Rodgers’ request, the city staff will be examining a variety of ways to finance the equipment and personnel resources required to maintain not only the existing facilities, but the 33 acres of new parks, greenbelts and fields.
During the last budget cycle, it was suggested that the youth leagues take some of the responsibility for mowing and weed-eating at the fields, but the suggestion was met with resistance from the leagues, who claim that many children who would like to participate in youth sports are already unable to pay the fees, and that contracting maintenance for the fields would be cost prohibitive.
Rodgers would like to look at the possibility of seasonal help, with options including the use of private industry mowing maintenance people.
“What we have to remember though, is that these fields don’t belong to the leagues,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Frank Estrada. “These fields belong to the city of Lockhart.”
In the near future, Rodgers will present possible solutions to solve the manpower shortage.
The fleet of vehicles belonging to Lockhart’s emergency services will be upgraded in the near future. Both the fire department and EMS approached the council to ask for approval for vehicle maintenance and replacement.
Fire Chief Jerry Doyle asked the council to allow the Lockhart Fire Department to use funds from the recent sale of a brush truck toward the purpose of a new light-duty rescue vehicle, which will be used primarily for first-response medical calls, public assistance, rescues and fire-alarm calls
According to Doyle, the new truck would provide financial savings for the city because the firefighters would not be required to take the large engine on light-duty calls.
Doyle said that two of the four on-duty firefighters on each shift would be assigned to the new vehicle, leaving the other two back at the station to man the engines in the event of a larger-scale call.
He also said that the department has a total of $125,000 from last fall’s sale of the brush truck. Although a portion of the funds are earmarked as matching funds for an Assistance to Firefighters Grant, the $105,888 purchase price is available from those proceeds.
According to EMS director Cheryl Schneider, the city budgeted $51,000 to have the ambulance remounted. After advertising for bids, the city received one bid, from Professional Ambulance Sales & Service out of Comanche, Texas.
Schneider said that ambulance remounts are not as common as they once were, but that she was surprised that the city only received one bid.
The City of Lockhart will make the initial expenditure of $55,528, but will be reimbursed by Caldwell County, as the city and county share the costs of ambulance services.
In brief council news:
Sanders read a proclamation declaring April, 2005 “Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month.”
A 3.809-acre tract north of the Lockhart Municipal Airport, which was zoned Residential – Low Density was rezoned to Agricultural – Open Space. The property is owned by the City of Lockhart.
A second tract, a 9.8-acre tract owned by the estate of Frank Bufkin, was rezoned from Residential – Light Density to Commercial – Medium Business. The property would not be suitable for residence construction, as it is in the flight path of the Lockhart Municipal Airport. This motion passed 5-1, with Mayor Pro-Tem Frank Estrada dissenting.
The council approved an ordinance designating the Lockhart Housing Authority as a five-member board.
The council nominated Dave Moore and Frank Hinds to serve on the Caldwell County Appraisal District board of directors.
Kathibliss@post-register.com

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