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City to impose suspensions for library return violations

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

During a brief meeting of the Lockhart City Council on Tuesday, the council approved an ordinance that may make it more difficult for people to accrue large library fines.

The change in the ordinance lends additional teeth to the library’s existing policies, which allow library staff to prevent patrons from checking

out materials unless they return or re-check overdue items. However, the new ordinance would allow staff to suspend library privileges altogether, including access to public computers in the Library and the Technology Center, if patrons fail to return overdue materials after receiving written notice.

The council also discussed making changes to the current civil service rules for public safety employees.

Specifically, current rules allow for merit pay raises for certain personnel. The Civil Service Commission encouraged the council to repeal the existing ordinance and replace it with rules that would allow for a “step pay” program, which does not rely upon subjective factors such as job performance.
Additionally, they reviewed the rule that requires the City Fire Marshal to a licensed peace officer.

The City of Lockhart has been without a fire marshal since the retirement of Mark Baker last year. Though a candidate applied and tested for the position, that candidate is not yet a certified peace officer, and is currently attending a police academy.

The changes are not specifically for that candidate, however. The new ordinance approved by the council includes a reduction in pay for the position, but does allow for certification pay and authorizes an education stipend, which will allow the position to be opened up to a wider variety of candidates in the future.

In brief news:
The council authorized the Lockhart Fire Department to apply for grants to purchase a four-wheel drive brush truck through the Texas Forest Service’s Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program, as well as a grant for other equipment under the Texas Commission on Fire Protection’s Fire Department Emergency Program.

They approved a bid in the amount of $27,870 for the purchase of a new generator for the Public Safety Building on Bufkin Lane. Most of the purchase price, $25,000, will be reimbursed to the city under a grant from the Capital Area Planning Council of Governments (CAPCOG).

They approved a zoning change to allow Food Processing and Preparation Plants as a specific use in the Commercial Central Business District.

They discussed releasing a lien on a property that was seized for taxes by the Lockhart Independent School District. Although the council was agreeable to releasing the tax liens in an effort to make the property more saleable, they balked at the notion of releasing maintenance liens attached as a result of the city being required to mow the lots. Mayor James “Jimmy” Bertram said, and most of the council agreed, that LISD should have taken responsibility for the upkeep of the property, and since they chose not to, they should be held accountable for paying for those services.

The Lockhart City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Glosserman Conference Room of Lockhart City Hall. Meetings are open to the public and are televised on Time Warner Cable Channel 10.

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