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Council gives parklet reprieve

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LPR staff reports

The parklet located by Little Trouble received a 30-day stay of execution last week, saving it just before the permit was set to expire on Sept. 25.
Following comments from several business owners and residents who appeared before council to defend the temporary patio that is situated over a couple of parking spaces at the Northeast corner of San Antonio and Main Streets, the Lockhart City Council directed city staff to prepare a 30-day extension for the parklet and draft a parklet policy for consideration at a future City Council meeting.
The permit for the parklet was set to expire on Sept. 25 after council granted what it said was a one-time extension back in July.

Water, wastewater, cemetery rates to rise

Water rates, wastewater rates and cemetery plot costs will all go up following action taken by the Lockhart City Council at its Sept. 21 meeting.
Water rates will be based on customers’ meter size and usage, which the city said was a common practice among municipal utility customers.
Rates are being adjusted to ensure that revenue sustainably funds the ongoing provision of safe and reliable water service while covering the current debt obligation associated with water infrastructure improvements, the city said, explaining that changing the pricing on each usage tier promotes conservation by charging a higher amount for non-essential usage, while providing affordability through minimum usage and lower price tiers that capture essential indoor usage.
The new rates will be phased in over a three-year period that will begin in the second billing cycle in November 2021.
Residential rates are currently $23.60 per month per living unit, which includes 2,000 gallons of usage, with a $34.33 fixed monthly charge for all other customers. Additional charges apply for usage beyond 2,000 gallons.
Under the new model, customers with the smallest meter size will see their base rate rise to $23.43 per billing cycle in November. But depending on meter size, base monthly rates go up, capping at $251.93 for customers with 4-inch meters, the largest size listed on the city’s web site.
Rates will continue to rise through 2025, when a typical residential customer will pay $30.26 per month.
Wastewater will rise to $16.75 per month in November for all customers, and will rise each year through 2025, when it will be $21.96 per month.
But rate increases are not just for the living — being dead in Lockhart will also cost more. The city, which last adjusted its cemetery rates in 1999, is raising the price of its plots by $300 for all who wish to be buried there.
To see all of the rate changes, visit www.lockhart-tx.org.

Robbery suspect nabbed, police say

Lockhart police on Tuesday said they arrested the suspect in a May aggravated robbery that occurred within the city limits.
Police did not release the 15-year-old suspect’s name due to his being a minor.
On May 11, police said the teen threatened a citizen with what appeared to be a firearm in an attempt to take the person’s money.
The victim was unharmed, police said.
The suspect was located in Tomball. The Tomball Police Department assisted in the case.

Doggett: Impaired Balloon Pilot crashes continue

U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett, whose district includes parts of Caldwell County, said balloon crashes similar to the deadly event that occurred in 2016 continue to happen, thanks to inaction by the Federal Aviation administration.
“Just over five years after the tragic hot air balloon crash in Lockhart, we have now received the toxicology report from the 2021 New Mexico crash,” Doggett said in a press release. “The toxicology report for veteran balloon pilot Nick Meleski just made public reveals high amounts of cocaine and THC in tests run on his blood and urine. Meleski, 62, piloted the hot air balloon that crashed into power lines in Albuquerque in June, killing five. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has repeatedly refused to require commercial balloon operators to maintain an FAA medical certificate as is required of other commercial pilots.”
Doggett said he hoped the new tragedy would prompt the FAA to enforce the legislation that he championed that became law in 2018 requiring balloon operators to maintain FAA medical certificates.
“FAA has done nothing in five years but dither and delay,” Doggett said. “I warned FAA again and again that more inaction would lead to the loss of more innocent lives. I hope the tragic loss of four more innocents in New Mexico will finally prompt FAA to take the urgent action so long overdue. We cannot bring these precious lives back. But, when this measure is finally implemented, we hope no more families will be exposed to the horror of a crash from an impaired pilot.”

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