City annexes 2,142 acres
The Lockhart City Council gave final approval Tuesday evening on two resolutions that will result in the annexation of more than 2,000 acres of property.
The annexation, which became a topic of discussion early this year, was completed in hopes of lending the city control over the development of the area as State Highway 130 approaches Lockhart.
“We chose the pro
perty based on what would be the most feasible,” said City Planner Dan Gibson. “The property that we”re annexing tonight pretty well covers the route that the highway will take next to the City. This will allow us to have zoning rules in place to protect the property as development starts.”
According to Gibson, several smaller towns along the route of the new toll highway did not annex adjoining property prior to construction and are feeling the pinch now.
“Hutto, for example, did not annex before the highway was built,” Gibson said. “Their population shot up and they”ve had so much development that now they”re scrambling to try and catch up. We didn”t want Lockhart to be in that same position.”
However, some residents being annexed still objected strongly to the plan.
“I think that this “land grab” is premature,” said Doug Spillmann, whose farm is one of the properties that was annexed. “I don”t know that we”re going to see any immediate development from this highway, and I would just as soon wait to see what it”s going to do before I let the city annex my farmstead.”
Spillmann, along with a few others, has been a vocal and constant opponent of the annexation for several months. While his objections did not result in an opportunity for him to “opt out” of the annexation, they did bring several points to the attention of the council.
“There are a lot of things that you brought to our attention that we didn”t think about,” said Councilmember Michael Sanders. “These are things that we”ve tried to fix prior to the annexation to make the transition as easy for the residents as we can, and we couldn”t have done that without the input.”
Some of the changes Sanders referred to are updates to ordinances governing fences, burning, livestock and gunfire in the city limits. The changes were meant to help accommodate property owners who will soon be living on agricultural property within the city limits.
In other business, the Council heard a report from W. Frank Coggins, the chair of the Civic Center Committee.
According to research done by the Committee, Coggins said, the City of Lockhart should move forward with plans to build a Civic Center in the near future.
“We had a great group of people, some good experts on this project,” Coggins said. “And we think that we”ve come up with something workable.”
According to the committee report, it could cost as much as $4 million to build the 20,000 square foot facility. However, the amenities provided by the facility will include enough space to host local and statewide conferences, trade shows and events.
“There is still a lot of work to do and decisions to make,” Coggins said. “But we have a good start and I think there are a lot of things we can keep working toward.”
The committee will meet with the entire council in mid-January to discuss the project details, including the possibility of holding a bond election to finance the construction.
In brief news:
At the request of Economic Development Director Sandra Mauldin, the council approved the sale of a one-acre tract of property in the Lockhart Industrial Park. The buyer hopes to open a new business, a powdercoating facility, in the Industrial Park in early 2007.
The council signed a contract with Asplundh Tree Service to trim trees on several streets where limbs are endangering power lines. According to Electric Department Supervisor M.L. Richards, the city will advertise in the near future to notify customers as to when the trees will be trimmed.
They approved a grant from the State Department of Health Services in the amount of $35,000. The grant will help pay for the purchase of a new ambulance, according to EMS Director Cheryl Schneider.
City Manager Vance Rodgers appointed three individuals, Doug Shomette, Alfredo Munoz and Worlanda Neal to serve on the Civil Service Commission.
Chief of Police Mike Lummus and Lt. Bill Tedford made a presentation regarding five vehicles that the Lockhart Police Department plans to purchase in the near future. The vehicles, 2007 Dodge Chargers, will be used to replace several aging units in the LPD fleet.
Mayor James “Jimmy” Bertram and Councilmember Lew White made a presentation to the Lockhart Post-Register, which was recently designated as the city’s official newspaper.
The Lockhart City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month in the Glosserman Room at Lockhart City Hall. Meetings and work sessions are also televised on Time Warner Cable Channel 10.