Lockhart City Council sets tax rate public hearing, approved COVID-19 relief fund
By Wesley Gardner
The Lockhart City Council on Tuesday set Sept. 15 as the date that councilmembers will hold a public hearing to vote on the proposed tax rate for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
The proposed 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.
Councilmembers also approved a program aimed at helping residents experiencing COVID-19-related financial hardships who were unable to pay their utility bills from March through June.
The funding source for the new Emergency Utility Relief Grant program is from the City of Lockhart’s allotment of Coronavirus Relief Fund from the Texas Department of Emergency Management authorized under the CARES Act.
“The City’s utility services are considered essential services to meet basic public health, sanitation, welfare and public safety needs of the city’s residents,” said Mayor Lew White said. “We are pleased to be able to offer this program to help residents who have been hit hard financially due to the pandemic.”
If a city residential customer meets the program eligibility requirements, the program will assist in paying that customer’s past due City of Lockhart utility bill for the following months and cycles:
• March 2020 cycle 2 utility bill due April 10, 2020
• April 2020 cycle 1 utility bill due April 25, 2020
• April 2020 cycle 2 utility bill due May 10, 2020
• May 2020 cycle 1 utility bill due May 25, 2020
• May 2020 cycle 2 utility bill due June 10, 2020
• June 2020 cycle 1 utility bill due June 25, 2020
• June 2020 cycle 2 utility bill due July 10, 2020
Eligible utility items include:
• Services including electric, water, wastewater and solid waste
• Monthly service charges for utility services
• Late payment penalty
• Service disconnection fee
City utility customers must meet all requirements identified below to qualify for financial assistance through the program:
• Applicants must be experiencing a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Applicants must be experiencing a financial hardship due to job loss or income reduction related to COVID-19.
• Applicants must be inside-City residential customers with active utility accounts.
• Applicants must be the primary individuals under whose name the utility account is registered and established.
• Applicant’s household income must be at or below the federal income thresholds for low income.
The federal annual income thresholds for the program based on household size is as follows. One person must make $54,700 or less. Two must make $62,500 or less. Three must make $70,300 or less. Four must make $78,100 or less. Five must make $84,350 or less. Six must make $90,600 or less. Seven must make $96,850 or less. Eight must make $103,100 or less.
For more information and to print an application, visit www.lockhart-tx.org.
In other business, councilmembers voted to transfer $25,000 from the Lockhart COVID-19 Recovery Loan Program to provide additional funding for city’s COVID-19 Economic Relief Grant Program, which was originally started by the Lockhart Chamber of Commerce and the Caldwell County Community Services Foundation. Eligible businesses can apply for grants of up to $2,500.
The program previously awarded one-time grants in May to 10 businesses.
Businesses that have previously received a COVID loan or grant from the city prior to this round are not eligible. Other eligibility requirements include:
• Business headquarters must be located within the boundaries of the city of Lockhart.
• The business must submit balance sheets and profit and loss statements for January through July 2020.
• Nonprofit businesses, organizations and associations are not eligible for funding.
• Businesses may not have more than 25 employees.
Applications can be mailed or delivered to Lockhart City Hall or submitted electronically to email@example.com.
In other business, councilmembers approved a zoning change that will allow for the construction of a new building operated by Golden Age Home that will offer additional space for assisted living, as well as a memory care facility.
Additionally, the zoning change will allow Dominion Advisors to build low-rise apartments, townhomes, duplexes and single-family homes.
According to Nicole Burnett, executive director of Golden Age Home, the planned residential facilities will provide housing options for residents currently living at Golden Age Home.