City still deciding on its path for sidewalk repair￼
By Kyle Mooty
Lockhart City Council and Mayor Lew White will deliberate more regarding the possibility of having upkeep of sidewalks become part of a cost-sharing program between the city and property owners.
Some of the possibilities discussed drew disapproval, such as the fines to those who don’t pay if a cost-sharing program is implemented. Councilmember Kara McGregor said a $500 per-day fine “could make a difference in some residents being able to live in a home or not.”
White said the payment program could be on a more affordable plan. He also noted that while some municipalities put all of the sidewalk repair costs on the property owners, most of the residents he had heard from believed it was the city’s responsibility.
Councilmember Brad Westmoreland said he hoped in the meantime the city was using “common sense” when it found a sidewalk in dire need of repair.
In other business:
Several non-profit organizations have requested annual funding from the city, although no action was taken during the June 7 meeting.
Included among the non-profits were Public Transit, Hays Caldwell Women’s Center, Community Action, Lockhart Senior Citizen’s Activity Center, CASA of Central Texas, Caldwell County Christian Ministries, and others.
Public Transit includes the recently added CARTS Now, which provides 100-plus rides per day with three vans and continues to grow. Rides range from work-related, medical, and other reasons. Currently, the rides are free.
The Hays Caldwell Women’s Center requested $7,400. It has applied for a full-time counselor for the Lockhart office. They are seeing a 61 percent increase, not because there is more violence but because it is providing more services.
Community Action, which provides Meals on Wheels, is requesting $8,000. In 2021, it distributed more than 17,000 meals in Lockhart. There are 60 clients on a regular basis. The program returned to hot meals in April, but clients have a choice of hot or frozen, and it was noted that 82 percent decided to stay with the frozen meals. The hot meals come from Austin and the frozen from Mississippi. It cost on average $3.50 per meal. In the first five months of 2022, Community Action delivered 4,283 meals. The meals are low in sodium and low in sugar and can also be diabetic friendly if requested.
The Lockhart Senior Citizens Activity Center asked for continued support. Its indoor dining is picking up since the COVID-19 pandemic, and its thrift store is thriving.
Lockhart Police now have funds available to use for body cameras.
The Council unanimously passed a resolution to enter into an agreement with TxDOT for a bridge replacement or rehabilitation for the North Blanco Street Bridge over Town Creek.
An 1,800 square-foot building shed is planned for the city at 214 Bufkin Lane to store a bucket truck and assorted materials.
White noted COVID cases “have slowly been on the rise in Caldwell County,” and City Manager Steve Lewis said that the Centers for Disease Control had upgraded Caldwell County for a low risk to a medium risk.
Alfonso Sifuentes, director of market development and community relations for Central Texas Refuse,
asked for Saturdays to become an option for citizens for its free disposal location at the 130 Environmental Park.
“If Saturdays were available, it would benefit the residents greatly,” Sifuentes said. “It is for that reason as well as preparing for the exponential growth of this area that we’re experiencing and to mitigate illegal dumping that we have throughout the county we have submitted an amendment to the Texas commission of environmental quality for an expansion of our operating hours.”
Central Texas Refuse is rolling out its change in days of regular trash routes, and Sifuentes thanked the City for its help in notifying residents.
No action has yet been taken on the request.
Pastor Pete Archinega addressed the Council toward the end of the meeting and expressed his displeasure in some things he’s seen in Lockhart, particularly with the Movie in the Park choice of a Disney film.
“We’re seeing way too much stuff,” Archinega said. “We’re bringing Austin to this place. Satan is here. If you’re Christian, your responsibility is to God first. Disney has sold out. I’m upset at that choice for Movies in the Park. It’s already bad enough that things are happening in our schools.”
Encanto will be the movie beginning at 8:30 p.m. on June 18.