Levelland City Council holds regular meeting and bans the sale and possession of synthetic drugs in Levelland

The Levelland City Council met in a regular meeting tonight.  They passed on a second and final reading an ordinance banning the sale and possession of synthetic marijuana in Levelland.  The city attorney pointed out that the ordinance will take effect immediately, there will not be a 30 day grace period before enforcement action will take place, as some neighboring cities have done.  A full report from the council meeting is posted below.  Tune in to KLVT news at 7:05am Tuesday on KLVT AM 1230 and online at http://www.klvtradio.com.  We will also have an interview with the Levelland City Manager at 8:30am Tuesday as part of Good Morning Texas.

Full Report from Council Meeting……..

1)  They received the report on the fiscal year audit for 2011-2012 from Keith Downs from the accounting firm of Pate, Downs and Pinkerton.  The report indicated a clean report.  It showed that property tax rates remained the same as the current year due to an increase in values which enabled an increase in revenues of $3.6 Million dollars.  The city’s total revenues were 15.5 million dollars.  A significant portion, 48.5% of the city’s revenue comes from general revenues which includes property, franchise and sales and use taxes.  5.5% comes from grants, while 46.0% relates to charges for services.  It also indicated that expenditures came in under the budgeted amount.  The general fund reported a fund balance this year of 5.7 million dollars.  There was a 3.5% increase in total liabilities and a 4.3% increase in net assets for the city.

2)  They also considered a resolution supporting the Rose Meadows Apartments.  Paul Holdman, of Zimmerman Properties LLC was present to discuss the pending project.  They are the same owners of Deer Creek Apartments, which are full with a waiting list for several months.  They are looking to build 48 units, combonation of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments on Alamo Road, south of Holly Street.  They are working on a loan through housing tax credits from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, however the state is now requiring a pass through loan program which would work that First Southwest would loan $110,000 to the City of Levelland in a fully collateralized loan and the city would in turn loan that money to Zimmerman Properties for a period of approximately 30 days.  First Southwest is the financial entity that does bond services for the city, their attorneys have reviewed the agreement and city attorneys have reviewed the agreement.  Their is no risk to the city and the city is not out any money.  Construction is expected to start in December 2013 and loan proceeds would be funded in January 2014.

3)  The city council received a presentation on a potential settlement of the landfill contested proceeding.  Several landowners have protested the proposed landfill and the TCEQ has granted them a contested hearing which was held late last month.  One of the affected landowners spoke to the council concerning the settlement.  They first wanted the city to totally change the location, even offering to buy the land from the city with a profit and help the city find another location.  They claim that a landfill will affect the value of their farm land.  They want to try to settle without proceeding with further action in Austin.  Landowners are asking that the city sell the land which is located south of Levelland.  City administration will meet with the landowner to discuss settlement options.  It was noted that voters approved purchase of land through a bond election in 2004 and the city spent 4 years looking for property that best meets the very strict requirements of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.  Several landowners have been fighting the location for several years.  There has been atleast 100 thousand dollars spent on engineering costs and etc. that would be lost if this site was chosen.  One of their main concerns was a main gas line running under the property, it was noted that the city has made an adjustment to the plans to move the entrance to the property totally away from the gas line which only runs on the corner of the property.  It was pointed out that there will not be any more strain on the gas line than there is currently.  City Manager Rick Osburn pointed out that the city will comply with all requirements of TCEQ and EPA for operation of landfill.  One of the landowners present said they plan to pursue this matter further through state environmental departments.  The council will meet in closed session with legal counsel to further discuss the matter.

4)  The council approved the quarterly investment report

5)  The council approved the engineering contract for design of the Levelland Oxy Sports complex

6)  The council also approved a request for proposals for securing a Construction Manager at Risk for the Levelland Oxy Sports Complex.  Administration plans to make a recommendation to hire a CMaR in their April meeting.

7)  The council also acted on a hotel occupancy tax fund request of $2000 for The Ranch Sorting National Championships clinic to be held in March.  It was approved unanimously.

8)  The council took action on a second reading of an ordinance to prohibit the sale and possession of synthetic drugs.  City attorney Richard Husen pointed out that the city ordinance will take effect immediately after a final publication.  He also pointed out that he does not feel that a 30 day grace period should be offered, as is the case in Lubbock with their ordinance passed this week.  The Chief of Police and Asst. Chief will visit local vendors and make sure they are aware of the new ordinance and aware that enforcement action will take place immediately.  A citizen was present to speak against the ban, saying that passing a rule will not stop the synthetic marijuana all it will do is create a tax for our children to pay.  The statement created a debate, heated at times by many parents and relatives of individuals who have been affected by this substance.  Mayor Waymon Jackson maintained orderly meeting and called for the reading of the ordinance.  It passed on a unanimous vote.

Following a brief executive session council reconvened and took action to make an offer of $40,400 to the property owners in the area of the new landfill for them to build a dirt berm with dirt provided by the city from dirt they dig out of the landfill plus 175 trees to be planted around their property to shield it from the landfill and for irrigation for the trees.  The protesting landowners provided an estimate for the costs for the project.  City Manager and City Attorney will work with landowners to see if an agreement can be worked out.  Several of the landowners present said that this offer doesn’t solve the real issues on water contamination and a gas line on the property.  They said they will pursue further action in Austin if an agreement cannot be reached.

About KLVT News

News Director for KLVT AM 1230 in Levelland. We provide local and regional news updates 5 times a day on KLVT AM 1230 and online at www.klvtradio.com
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