City firms plans for Chinese Trade Center
By LPR Staff
International trade has found its way to Lockhart, and more is promised to be on the way.
After an 11-day trip to Lockhart”s sister city Shangyu, China, two local companies made agreements to do business with Chinese manufacturers.
“In China, they can”t do business with anyone unless they have the permission of the
government,” said mayor Jimmy Bertram during Tuesday evening”s council meeting. “Now, the government has given the permission to do business with us, and they weren”t going to do that….[unless we traveled to Shangyu].”
Bertram said Chinese tradition dictates that Chinese companies only do business with those they consider friends, and the trip was a “good-will mission” to prove that the Chinese have a friend in Lockhart.
Both Garage Door Services and Prescott Products negotiated agreements for exclusive trade with Chinese manufacturers. Also, the local government in Shangyu committed to building a multi-million dollar trade complex within the city of Lockhart in the future.
According to Economic Development Director Sandra Mauldin, trade center representatives have already begun recruiting Chinese companies to participate in the trade center. Later this summer, representatives will travel to Lockhart to become more familiar with the area and to discuss potential locations for the center.
“He will spend about two or three months here to take a closer look at our city and at Central Texas to see what kind of businesses would be appropriate for them to bring over here and what ways we can maximize our relationship,” she said.
The council also agreed to apply for a grant that will provide salaries for additional full-time firefighters.
“The grant is a five-year grant that will pay for both salaries and benefits for full time firefighters,” said Fire Chief Jerry Doyle upon requesting the grant. “The city will pay a portion and the federal government will pay the rest, up to $100,000 per firefighter over the course of the five years.”
Doyle said the grant operates on a sliding scale, paying 90 percent of the salary during the first year, and decreasing in funding annually over five years. The fifth year, the grant recipient will be expected to finance the entire salary.
City Manager Clovia English will review current fire personnel and determine how many new firefighter salaries will be requested under the grant.
District Four Councilmember Michael Sanders, also a U.S. Navy Seabee, announced that he will soon be deployed to the Middle East for a period of eight months. Sanders expects his deployment date to be July 15. He will keep his position on the council, and continue to receive councilmember pay, while he is overseas.
In other business:
Assistant City Manager Vance Rodgers approached the council on behalf of Morris Alexander, requesting an interlocal agreement with the Maxwell Water Supply Corporation. Alexander plans to acquire a property within the Lockhart extraterritorial jurisdiction that is more than a mile from the city”s nearest water main. However, the property is only 1,200 feet from the Maxwell water supply. The agreement will allow Maxwell to service four meters on the Alexander property, but no other meetings. The decision will save the city upwards of $6,000 for the installation of water service to the area.
In response to a Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) traffic study, the council voted to create a school zone at the intersection of Highway 142 and Mockingbird Lane. The school zone will have a speed limit of 30 miles per hour during peak school times, and 45 miles per hour during other times. The city will ask TxDOT to revisit the study after the school year begins to reassess the need for a traffic light at the intersection.
In brief council news:
The City recognized LHS graduate Chris West for his accomplishments in long-distance running and cross country during his time at Lockhart High.
The council approved an ordinance changing the zoning of the Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative property between Borchert Loop and San Antonio Street from Industrial Light to Public and Institutional, opening the property to be available for city use pending the purchase of the property. Councilmember Roland, who is an employee of Bluebonnet Electric, abstained from the vote.
They also approved an ordinance changing the property at 308 W. San Antonio St. (City Hall) from Commercial Medium Business to Public and Institutional.
The city approved a bid from Terex Utilities South for a 4045 Digger Truck. The agreed purchase price of the vehicle is $88,359.
Several councilmembers made appointments to boards and commissions.