Mendoza takes seat at city council table


By LPR Staff

A thick air of humor and celebration hung over a brief meeting of the Lockhart City Council on Tuesday evening as a new councilmember took his seat at the table and a longtime servant bid farewell.

After a Dec. 8, 2010, runoff election, Juan Mendoza, Jr., claimed victory over Dyral Thomas and secured his position as District 1 Coun

cilmember, the seat held by Kenny Roland since 1998. With several family members and friends in attendance, Mendoza was sworn into office by Justice of the Peace Mary Alice Llanas after the results of the 68-67 election were canvassed.

A jovial Roland thanked the council, the city staff and the city attorney, and both Mendoza and Thomas for their interest in running for office. He then offered Mendoza advice on successfully advocating for the people in his district.

Prior to the swearing-in, the council engaged in lively discussion about the possibility of entering a cooperative agreement with the City of Luling, the City of Martindale and Caldwell County toward the goal of a regional animal shelter.

The discussions about a regional concept began after the Caldwell County Commissioners decided last summer to encourage Sheriff Daniel Law to explore the possibility of building and running a Caldwell County Animal Shelter.

In the past, Caldwell County has partnered with the City of Lockhart in funding the Lockhart Animal Shelter, which has been the flagship shelter in the county. While the City of Luling operates a shelter, according to Mayor Ray Sanders, that shelter has a too-small capacity. While Lockhart has acquired some bond funding for the construction of a new shelter, Luling is also eyeing the possibility of rebuilding their shelter.

Those factors congealed into a “perfect storm” of circumstances to draw interested parties to the table to discuss a regional-style shelter to be shared by Lockhart, Luling and Caldwell County.

Although Animal Services Director Melanie Tucker and City Manager Vance Rodgers said the notion is still in the early talking phases, some Councilmembers balked at the idea, suggesting the City of Lockhart needs to move forward in construction to serve the people of Lockhart, and worry about a “regional” concept later, if at all.

They also expressed concern that City of Lockhart taxpayers might wind up footing the lion’s share of the bill in the regional concept.

Although no final decisions were made, the council set a deadline of June to move forward with a regional shelter, or proceed with construction of a shelter focused specifically on the City of Lockhart.

In other business, local resident Mary Vance came forward to address the council regarding a decision they made on Dec. 13 to uphold an appeal lodged by a property owner against the Lockhart Historic Preservation Commission.

Vance, a member of the Commission but speaking as an individual citizen, said the council’s decision to uphold the appeal and allow the property owner to move forward with replacing windows in his building with windows that are not approved by the Historic Preservation Ordinance, prompted her to halt plans to renovate a house in Lockhart with the intent of turning it into a bed and breakfast, and also to consider selling her rural property.

She suggested the council should take a more active interest in helping property owners renovate their buildings in compliance with the ordinance, up to and including providing financial incentives, contracting assistance and possibly funding to those endeavors.

The council also scheduled a Jan. 18, 2011, public hearing to allow interested citizens to discuss the possibility of extending the allowable sale of alcohol until 2 a.m. in local licensed establishments.

In brief news:
They entered an interlocal agreement with several surrounding municipalities and organizations, establishing a partnership for support and management of a local coordinator position in support of the Plum Creek Watershed Protection Plan. Rodgers said participation in the agreement would likely not cost the city more than $3,000.

The City entered an agreement with Schneider Engineering to provide professional tracking and support with regard to the city’s electric service. With that agreement in place, Schneider Engineering will also work with a number of area cities and electric co-ops to negotiate a contract with outside electric generation services to provide up to 10 percent of the city’s power needs, in an effort to negotiate lower generation rates than are currently being charged by LCRA.

The Lockhart City Council routinely meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month in the Glosserman Conference Room of Lockhart City Hall. Work sessions begin at 6:30 p.m., with the regular meeting following at 7:30. Meetings are open to the public and televised on Time Warner Digital Cable Channel 10.


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