City increases electric, trash rates, raises taxes


City manager resigns, citing personal reasons
By LPR Staff

During a special meeting on Tuesday evening, the Lockhart City Council approved an increase in electric rates, trash rates and taxes to support the city”s budget for the coming fiscal year.
According to Finance Director John Washburn, the increase in electric charges wi

ll support maintenance and upgrades to the power system, and should not be contributed to the operating budget.
“The increase will generate between $200,000 and $220,000,” he said. “We”d like to set the money aside in an “upgrade fund” account, so that it can be applied only to electrical system upgrades.”
Washburn said the increase, an additional .00225 cents per kilowatt hour, will be applied to utility customers” “system charge.” Based on average consumption, Washburn expects the rate increase to add around $2.60 per month to customers” bills.
In other city service news, the council also approved a 55-cent “passthrough charge” to be added to customers” trash collection charges.
“On at least two occasions, Central Texas Refuse has requested an increase under the contract for collections,” reported Assistant City Manager Vance Rodgers. “The last time they had a rate increase was in 2003.”
Rodgers said the increase could be attributed largely to increasing fuel costs. Each hand-collection customer will see a 55-cent increase to their bill, while an increase of 6 percent will be added to trash bin services.
Rodgers said the increase would bring the minimum collection charge to $16.30 for residential customers and $24.80 for commercial service. The charges will not affect the senior citizens discounts.
After a brief discussion following weeks of research and planning, the council approved the budget for the coming fiscal year.
The city expects expenditures upwards of $26.5 million in the coming year, including cost-of-living pay increases, road and street upgrades and the purchase of five police vehicles. To help fund the budget, the city approved a tax increase of approximately 1.1 cents per $100 of valuation. The total tax rate for maintenance, operations and interest for the 2006-2007 fiscal year will be .6257.
Near the end of Monday”s meeting, City Manager Clovia English announced that she will resign her position effective Nov. 2.
“This is an emotional decision, and Lockhart is home,” she said. “But my father”s health is declining and I want to be with him.”
English, who came on board as City Manager in 1999, said that she has accepted a position as the City Manager for the City of Corinth, in the Dallas Metroplex area.
“I”ve made wonderful friends here, and we have wonderful employees here,” she said. “But at this time, I have to put my father first.”
She recommended that the council consider appointing Rodgers as the Interim City Manager.
The Lockhart City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month in the Glosserman Room of Lockhart City Hall. The next scheduled meeting has been moved, and will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 2. All city council meetings are televised on Time Warner Cable Channel 10.


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