WalMart inches closer to arrival


By LPR Staff

An extension of good will by the Lockhart City Council helped move a new WalMart store closer to arrival in the community on Tuesday.
Under current rules, a building permit cannot be issued for a construction job until all public improvements are in place and a final plat has been filed. However, the retail super-chain

has requested something of a variance, which will allow construction to begin on the structure before the public improvements are in place.
City Manager Vance Rodgers presented a Letter of Guarantee on behalf of the store”s developers to the council on Tuesday. Under the agreement, which the council quickly and unanimously approved, the City will facilitate the issuance of permits without the final plat and public improvements being in place. However, should the developers not complete the improvements as specified, they will be required to pay the City of Lockhart nearly $580,000.
“The people at WalMart are thrilled the council is even willing to consider this agreement,” Rodgers said. “This will facilitate the building of the structure hand-in-hand with the infrastructure.”
However, Rodgers reported the agreement would likely not speed the start of the project, which was recently put on hold until perhaps next year.
In other business, after heated discussion, the council opted to hold a special election in November to allow voters to decide on nearly 30 proposed amendments to the City Charter.
Because of the potential cost of a special election, three members of the council were adamant about not calling the special election, putting the amendments on hold until the regular election in May 2008.
However, because there will be a general election this year, others, including Mayor James “Jimmy” Bertram hoped to hold a joint election with Caldwell County. Because both the City Charter and Code of Ordinances have been under review for some time, Bertram and the others thought holding the election in November would speed resolution to certain issues in the Code of Ordinances.
Despite a split 4-3 vote, the election will be held in November.
The council also opted to increase rates for trash collection for the next two months after receiving information from Central Texas Refuse (CTR) about an increase in landfill fees.
Trash services will increase from $16.30 to $17.09 monthly for residential customers and from $24.80 to $27.53 for commercial customers.
Those rates will change again in December, when CTR service changes to once-a-week collection with outdoor trash carts provided by the company.
Neither rate change will affect the current discount offered to senior citizens.
The council recognized and hosted a short reception to honor Cheryl Schneider, the EMS Director and Animal Services Director who recently retired from the City of Lockhart to accept a position with the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter. Schneider has been a fixture, both in the health and animal rights communities, for 20 years.
The Lockhart City Council will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 11 to discuss the pending fiscal year budget and new tax rates during a public hearing beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Glosserman Room of Lockhart City Hall.


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