Lucas City Council Appoints New Technology Committee to Address Inadequate Internet Service
At its first meeting of the new year on January 3, the Lucas City Council, chaired by Mayor Pro Tem Kathleen Peele in the absence of Mayor Jim Olk, tackled several key issues including the appointment of a new Technology Committee that is tasked with unraveling a long-standing problem --- securing adequate internet connectivity for all Lucas residents. Over the years, Internet service has been delivered to residents by more than a dozen different providers and many residents have complained of high prices and generally substandard service. The new Technology Committee, composed of five residents all with IT industry experience, has been organized to assist the Council in ferreting out potential solutions. The Committee will be convened soon and a public notice of its date, time and location will be announced as soon as a date has been determined. Residents interested in Internet Service enhancement will be invited to attend.
In anticipation of the May 4, 2019 election, Mayor Pro Tem Peele announced that candidates interested in running for City Council may secure a candidate’s packet at City Hall. The filing deadline for candidates is January 15.
On February 19 the City of Lucas will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of its incorporation and plans for the celebration marking the milestone are now being finalized.
The Council engaged in a lengthy discussion regarding future roadway reconstruction projects that have been identified in the City’s Capital Improvement Plan and Thoroughfare Plan. A total of twelve different potential reconstruction projects have been identified, but the costs of reconstructing all twelve roadways at one time is prohibitive with an estimated cost of $46 million. The Council wrestled with ways to prioritize the reconstruction needs, provide adequate funding for high priority projects, determine the most appropriate ways to underwrite the projects, and to establish a long-term timeline and plan to address the ongoing projects. It appears that the highest priority projects may be the reconstruction of the North portion of Stinson Road and the Southern portion of Winningkoff Road. The Council discussed addressing projects that in total would not exceed $7 to $9 million dollars funded by a combination of Certificates of Obligation along with some funding from the City’s operating account and reserve funds. Clearly, the Council is taking a prudent and very measured approach to properly maintaining the city’s roadways. A bond expert will be invited to meet with the City Council soon to lay out the various funding options that may be available to underwrite the projects.
Lucas Development Services Director Joe Hilbourn informed the Council that grant funding is available from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and that the Council may wish to authorize the City Manager to apply for a grant in order to construct a 5.3-mile addition to the City’s trail network identified as the exercise loop, adjacent to Estates Parkway, West Lucas Road, Allison Lane and Country Club Road. Three options for the construction project were reviewed briefly. After further discussion a motion was made and adopted authorizing the City Manager to apply for grant funding to underwrite the proposed project.
Texas State law requires City Councils to review their City’s Charter at least once every five years. City Attorney Joe Gorfida, Jr. briefed the Council on several minor provisions of the Charter that should be amended. The proposed amendments will be reviewed by the Council in the next several months and ballot provisions will be prepared for residents to vote on the proposed changes at the 2020 May election.
Finally, the Council approved a ballot language revision for the May 4, 2019 election having to do with the timeframe for the continuation of the Lucas Fire Control, Prevention, and EMS District, and sales tax dedicated to the District. This provision dedicates a small portion of the City’s sales tax to underwrite the costs of fire control, prevention and EMS services. The Council agreed that the timeframe should be ten years. The effect of this proposal would be to leave in place the provisions of the dedicated sales tax for a period of ten years. Should a change be desired before the ten years a ballot proposal would be prepared for residents to consider.
The next meeting of the Lucas City Council takes place on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 7:00 pm at City Hall.