City bids farewell to Sanders, welcomes Bertram
By LPR Staff
It was an emotional changing of the guard on Tuesday evening during the Lockhart City Council”s first regular meeting after the May 7 election.
The 421st Judicial District Judge, Todd Blomerth, was on hand during the meeting to deliver the oath of office to councilmembers Lew White and Michael Sanders, as well as to newl
y-elected mayor Jimmy Bertram.
After the new officers were sworn in, the council and staff bid a warm farewell to outgoing mayor Ray Sanders, who has served on the council for nine years, first as a councilmember and later as mayor.
“I first met this man when he beat me like a drum,” said Lew White of Sanders” election as councilmember for District 3, in which he defeated White nearly 10 years ago. “I”m glad that he did. He”s been a wonderful servant to the community.”
Fond and respectful comments about the former mayor continued for several minutes, as each councilmember had a memory to share. Finally, City Manager Clovia English and City Secretary Connie Ortiz presented Sanders with a plaque in honor of his service and a scrapbook full of memories of his time in office. Both English and Ortiz held back tears as they thanked Sanders for his leadership.
The city staff also recognized Sanders” wife, Valerie, who has been, “so generous in sharing her husband with us,” English said.
When asked to deliver a farewell message, Sanders was nearly too choked-up to speak, able only to thank the community for allowing him to serve for so long.
After a short reception in honor of Sanders and the newly-seated council members, the city returned to business, conducting a short meeting.
At the request of Justice of the Peace M. Louis Cisneros and the Cemeterio Navarro Historico Association, the council agreed unanimously to forgive around $600 in back-taxes and penalties owed on the cemetery property located on Mulberry Street. The city will also convey their interest in the property to the Association, which hopes to restore the cemetery and have it registered as a historical cemetery.
“Some time ago, [local taxing entities] instituted a judicial foreclosure on the property for back taxes,” said Stephen Byrd, an attorney working with the Caldwell County Appraisal District and taxing entities to collect delinquent taxes. “The city, school and county are joint owners of the property.”
Caldwell County conveyed ownership of the property last week, and the Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees is expected to do the same during their meeting on Monday, May 25.
The council also approved a contract with Howard Painting Company in Austin for internal and external maintenance and painting of the water tower located on San Jacinto Street.
Along with the $71,100 price for the work, the city approved an additional sum up to $15,000 for “shrouding” the tank during the maintenance. A plastic shroud will be installed around the tank, protecting the surrounding homes from any potential damage due to the sand-blasting and painting, and allowing the contractors to minimize airborne dust particles in the residential neighborhood.
The project is expected to begin in June and last around 45 days. According to assistant city manager Vance Rodgers, there should be no interruption in water service and no change in water pressure while the repairs are taking place.
In brief council business:
Sanders delivered his final proclamation as Mayor of Lockhart to the Lockhart Police Department, in honor of Police Week.
The city agreed to continue using the services of the Caldwell County Appraisal District for purposes of tax collection.
After a brief executive session, the council agreed to purchase a building on Highway 142 from Bluebonnet Electric.