Lockhart City Council sets budget public hearing
By Wesley Gardner
The Lockhart City Council on Tuesday scheduled a public hearing for Sept. 15 regarding the city’s proposed budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
Two weeks ago, councilmembers approved a Sept. 15 public hearing to potentially adopt a proposed tax rate would drop to $0.6354 per $100 property evaluation from last year’s rate of $0.6842, though because of increased property value in Lockhart, the city wouldn’t take in any additional year-over-year revenue.
The current proposed budget expects $35,357,321 in revenues over $34,738,434 in expenditures. Under the proposed budget, all employees would receive a three percent cost-of-living adjustment.
Pending the council’s final decision on the budget, some employees may receive an additional adjustment to their compensation to bring their salaries closer to the average pay for their position, which was determined in a recently completed compensation study. The potential salary increases will require no additional revenue because of the city’s proposed no-new-revenue rate.
Officials noted that while the public hearing date is set, the city can still make changes to the proposed budget before councilmembers vote to approve it on Sept. 15.
In other business, councilmembers addressed the citywide order mandating individuals wear facemasks in businesses. Mayor Lew White and several councilmembers said they’d heard reports or had seen individuals in businesses not wearing masks.
District 2 Councilmember Kara McGregor suggested potentially issuing warnings to those caught without masks in local businesses.
“I know we’re not leveraging fines, but can we consider authorizing warnings?” McGregor asked.
“I don’t think that’s included in the ordinance, but if the warning has no teeth,” said White.
“I know,” said McGregor. “Maybe there’s just some shame.”
Although the order is city wide, Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order requiring facemasks in business supersedes any order issued by either the city or Caldwell County. Abbott’s order does not include any penalties for those caught without masks.
Councilmembers also voted to change the name of Robert E. Lee Street to Red Tail Lane. Officials noted there are currently no buildings addressed on that street and that the only expense will be the replacement of a single street name sign on its existing pole.
Mayor Lew White said the new name was proposed to honor the red tail hawk that sometimes can be seen in the area.