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Code of Ethics established by City

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By Kyle Mooty

LPR Editor

A Code of Ethics and Anti-Discrimination Ordinance has been approved unanimously by the Lockhart City Council .

The Ordinance states that “it is appropriate and necessary for good government and to promote personal integrity, honesty and ethical conduct in all activities undertaken” for all elected officials and appointed officers of the city.

Mayor Lew White said the ordinance is pretty clear.

“We’re all big boys and girls here and we understand our duties and responsibilities,” White said.

There were also questions regarding how complaints from citizens will be handled and who would determine if the complaint needed to go before the council.

Councilmember David Bryant asked of the procedure and vetting process of a citizen’s complaint. City Attorney Monte Akers and City Manager Steve Lewis would first look at the complaint and make that determination.

“If we run into a situation where we have a complaint about the council, we felt like it was best to have something in writing to address these types of complaints,” White said. “We feel like it is better to have an ordinance like this on record so if we have any complaints from a citizen we have something to go by. I don’t see anything in this ordinance that goes beyond commondecency and honesty and integrity.”

Councilmember Kara McGregor said the ordinance, which went through several edits before being voted on, was solid. “I think we’re in a really good place,” McGregor said.

In other business:

The Council is also considering more direction pertaining to the Code for Downtown Alcohol Beverage Regulations and Enforcement.

“Basically, the issue before you is establishing a procedure for allowing open containers and consumption of alcohol on public streets and sidewalks in the downtown commercial district,” Akers said to the Council. “The state law is rather flexible. The city may ban (open containers) completely, or it may allow them across the board.”

Akers said the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission is concerned about the type of alcohol license an establishment possesses, but it would be the city’s decision regarding if containers of alcohol are allowed on city streets and sidewalks.

White said that in the past the City had allowed alcohol on the square during permitted events such as Courthouse Nights, Cinco de Mayo, Running of the Bulls, etc.

“You always see someone that has a can in their hand, and they can’t quite make those 10 extra steps to the garbage can, so they always leave it on a doorstep or in the street or on a curb or such,” White said. “I’m for everyone having a good time and enjoying themselves on the square, but how far do we wanna go?”

Lockhart Downtown Business Association President Sally Daniel thanked the Council for trying to clarify for owners what they need to do regarding alcohol sales, permits and procedures.

“There’s been a lot of confusion,” Daniel said.

White said he hoped to invite an officer from TABC to a special meeting, which will be scheduled in the next 30 days.

“I thought there were things we needed to clarify,” White said.

Lockhart resident Erin Martinez addressed the Council regarding “overpopulation of stray animals affecting both the city and the county. My question is what is the city’s plan and what can the citizens do to get the City to have a plan on its agenda in an official capacity?”

Martinez was told that her comment would be taken under advisement.

Public hearings on the Lockhart Economic Development Corporation’s budget for fiscal year 2022–2023, and the City of Lockhart’s proposed budget for the same period will be Aug. 16 and Sept. 6.

City Manager Steve Lewis noted the City of Lockhart water consumption is 54 percent from the San Marcos River and 46 percent from area ground wells.

New water from the Carrizo Groundwater Supply Project will come to Lockhart in June 2023.

“We want to talk about conservation now, so we don’t have to take more drastic steps later,” Lewis said.

Regarding COVID-19, White said it was still all over the place, but vaccines are still available. “Please take advantage of them,” he said.

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