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Funding available for Uri damages

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From staff reports

Caldwell County homeowners whose homes suffered damages during Winter Storm Uri may qualify for repair funding made available through the Meals on Wheels of Central Texas.
The organization secured $1 million in grant money from actor Matthew McConaughey’s Just Keep Livin’ Foundation that is being made available to middle-income homeowners whose homes are still in need of repair said Charles Cloutman, Vice President of Home Repair for Meals on Wheels of Central Texas, who spoke at a Dec. 7 meeting of the Lockhart City Council.
“I’ve been tortured by the fact that for years, we didn’t have enough funding in Caldwell County,” Cloutman said. “I was tickled pink to be able to present a grant request to Matthew McConaughey’s foundation. We want to make sure these jobs are done right and thought out, and we want to keep homeowners involved in the process. We’re just trying to serve our clients and turn over every rock to make things happen.”
To qualify, you must be a homeowner, provide copies of income and assets, meet gross income guidelines and have a family income that is 80 percent or below of the median. Household income requirements to qualify range from a maximum of $55,400 for a household of one to a maximum of $104,450 for a household of eight.
Eligible repairs include window/door repairs or replacement, roof repair/replacement due to ice damage, water pipes and well heads, home interior/exterior repair, and preventative repairs if potential weather damage could pose health and safety issues. However, it’s important to note that some repairs may require a building permit.
Cloutman said callers would have the benefit of speaking to bilingual intake specialists.
“We just want to help them,” he said. “These people are hurting. I wrote the grant the way I wanted and they went along with it.”
The way the program is constructed allows extensive repairs to be made to homes rather than patchwork fixes, said Cloutman, who estimated the average cost of repairs needed at area homes at approximately $15,000.
“How can you fix water pipes but leave a hole in the roof, or a hole in the floor, or broken glass panes? Old pipes get clogged and you don’t know it. Then they freeze and they burst,” he continued. “Poor people and low-income people don’t have the money to fix these things and we’re bringing an answer to this.”
Mayor Lew White thanked Cloutman for the work his organization was doing in Lockhart and Caldwell County.
“I’d just like to say how much of a surprise it was, when I saw the home improvement project that was going on on Center Street a couple of weeks ago,” White said. “I think it was the home of a disabled veteran, and you could see how appreciative they were. They were two of your biggest cheerleaders. It was really enlightening for me to learn about this wonerful service.”
For more information or to apply, call Meals on Wheels of Central Texas at (512) 678-8171.

Council hears updates on water improvements

Council members heard a report from Public Works Director Sean Kelley, who updated council on the high service pump station expansion at the water treatment plant. The project involves the addition of two new large pumps with an estimated project cost of $570,000 that will be paid for with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.
The improvements will help the city exceed future water pressure and distribution requirements. As currently assembled, Lockhart can distribute water at 3,000 gallons per minute, but estimated demand by 2027 is projected to be 3,531 gallons per minute. The replacement of a 600-gallon-per-minute pump with a 1,200 gpm one and the addition of another 1,200 gpm pump will give the city a total of four high pressure capacity service pumps with a capacity of 4,800 gpm.
Completion is expected in 2022, although Kelley said supply chain issues could delay the project.


Other City Council updates include:
The Mayor issued a Proclamation declaring December 1-7, as “Tree of Angels” Week to the Lockhart Police Department’s Victim Services. The Tree of Angels program was formed by People Against Violent Crime, a statewide organization, to provide communities a means to remember those who lost their lives in violent crimes by hanging an angel to the tree with the name of the victim, along with an accompanying ceremony. Due to COVID-19, the ceremony in Lockhart was virtual.
City Council approved an ordinance amending Chapter 12 of the City of Lockhart’s Code of Ordinances, regarding Buildings and Building Regulations, to adopt the 2018 International Building Codes–which involves the following: Building Code, existing Building Code, Residential Code, Plumbing Code, Fuel and Gas Code, Mechanical Code, Energy Code, Swimming Pool and Spa Code, and the 2017 National Electrical Code. These new amendments go into effect in 30 days.
The Lockhart Animal Services Division has transitioned from the City’s Public Works Department to the Lockhart Police Department, as recommended by a consultant with the Animal Control and Care Academy. Interim Sgt. David Martinez is serving as supervisor.

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