BY BRIAN BESCH
LIVINGSTON -- January's Livingston City Council meeting marked the end of over a decade of service for Alderman Ray Hill.
In his letter of resignation, Hill said it had been a pleasure to serve on the council.
"I feel it is now time for me to retire from the city's political arena and make room for someone else to step up to the plate," Hill's letter stated.
Mayor Clarke Evans presented a resolution of appreciation at the meeting. Hill's wife, Ann, and other family members were in attendance for the presentation.
City Manager Report
The project engineer presented preliminary streets, necessary repairs and cost estimates for the major street improvement project at the November City Council meeting. He requested authorization to proceed with development of plans and specifications and advertisement for bids in January 2015 so work can begin in n the spring of 2015. $1 million has been included in the 2014 - 2015 budget for this major street improvement project. Plans call for the opening of bids for the project on March 25 at 2 p.m. with the award to be made by the city council at the April 14 meeting.
The project engineer presented preliminary plans, specifications and cost estimate for the exterior and interior painting of the 300,000-gallon water tank on Walnut Street on Cemetery Hill at the November City Council meeting. He requested authorization to proceed with development of plans and specifications and advertisement for bids in January 2015 so work can begin in the spring of 2015. Bond proceeds from the Certificates of Obligation. Series 2012 issue will be used to fund this project which has been Included in the 20 14 – 2015 budget. Plans call for the opening of bids on Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. with the award of the bid by the city council at the Feb. 10 meeting.
The project engineer presented preliminary plans and specifications and cost estimate for the sewer lift station upgrade project, to expand and upgrade the lift station located on the US 59 bypass south adjacent to the Relax Inn at the November city council meeting. He requested authorization to proceed with development of plans and specifications and advertisement for bids in January 2015 so work can begin in the spring of 2015. Bond proceeds from the Certificates of Obligation 2012 issue will be used to fund this project, which has been included in the 2014 - 2015 budget. Plans call for the opening of bids on Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. with the award of the bid by the city council at the March 10 meeting.
Sales Tax: The January 2015 sales tax, which represents sales in November, was in amount of $280,965.02, an increase of $27,280.10, or 10.76 percent, from last January. This is the second largest amount of sales tax revenue ever received by the city for the month of January (January 2009 was the highest; result of Hurricane Ike in September 2008).
Thursday, Jan 22, the library will host the TAME Trailblazer II exhibit, one of two interactive science and engineering museums-on-wheels in the state. The exhibits are geared to motivate and promote careers in science and engineering for all students. The program is free and will provide hands-on activities and exhibits for children in grades 3 - 8. Both USD and the Montessori teachers have been contacted to attend.
The Polk County Historical Commission will celebrate Texas Independence Day at the City Cemetery on Saturday, Feb. 28, with a special ceremony beginning at 11 a.m.
The Historical Commission plans to express appreciation and recognize all the individuals and groups who have worked on the beautification of the cemetery this past year.
The 3rd annual First Baptist Church Day of Service (RISE UP!) is scheduled for Sunday, April 19. They expect more than 650 adults and children to participate in this event this year and are inviting other area churches to join them in this effort of community service.
Work on the community projects will begin at 9 a.m. and continue for three or four hours that day.
The annual Multicultural event will be held on Monday, Jan. 19 at the Livingston Junior High School beginning at 5 p.m. with a free fish fry, musical entertainment and a variety of other events to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Murphy's Gas Station - The project is for a 1,200 square foot convenience store with six gas/diesel pumps to be located on the southeast comer of the Wal-Mart parking lot. City staff has reviewed plans and the building permit has been issued for the project - construction cost of $1,825,509. We have been notified that construction will begin in early February.
The EI Patron Grille project involves the renovation of the old Peoples State Bank building in Jackson Square as a new Mexican restaurant with construction costs of $135,000. A permit has been issued and construction is about 80 percent complete.
The Melbo's Gas and Car Wash project involves the demolition of the existing convenience store and car wash at US 190 and SH 146 Intersection. A pre-development meeting with owner and architect to review plans for new convenience store and gas station was held. Plans were submitted and approved by the city with the building permit issued for construction to begin - construction cost of $392,657. Demolition of the existing car wash and convenience store is complete with the removal of the old gas tanks underway.
The historical renovation project is to relocate the Polk County Courthouse elevator from the outside to inside. Plans have been approved, permit has been issued and construction is underway - construction cost of $875,000. The project is 90 percent complete, with exterior brick remaining. They are currently waiting on matching brick to arrive to complete the project.
A pre-development meeting was held on Oct. 8 with developers for a proposed convenience store and restaurant lease spaces at the intersection of Church and Willis Streets to include one or two restaurant lease spaces and a convenience store with gas pumps. Existing server line and recorded easement have been located and identified for the site. Developer is currently working on plans to submit to the city for review.
Livingston was designated a Main Street City by the Texas Historical Commission in 2005 and will celebrate the 10 year anniversary this year. The First Lady's Tour was held in March 2005 as the official kick-off of the historical renovation program. Preliminary discussion is underway for a Downtown Block Party to celebrate Main 5treet's 10th anniversary and to recognize the many accomplishments of this program.
Recognition of several new businesses in the Main Street District is underway with the delivery of welcome baskets by Main Street Board members - Friends and Neighbors, Blue Duck, Petalz, Across the Tracks, A - Z Auction, and Vision Satellite. Tony's Pizza is expected to open In February next door to the Donut Express.
Attitude of Gratitude Program - A new recognition program by the city council and administrative staff with frequent expressions of appreciation of individuals, businesses, churches, and community organizations that have shaped our community.
Request of Friends of Reservoirs of the City to participate as a Sponsor in the Lake Livingston Reservoir Fisheries and Riparian Habitat Enhancement Project known as "Bringing Lake Livingston back to life."
The 2015 General Election will be held Saturday, May 9. Positions to be filled are three city council positions currently held by Judy Cochran, Ray Luna and Elgin Davis. The first day to file for a place on the ballot is Wednesday, Jan. 2l, and the last day to file for a place on the ballot are Friday, Feb. 21.
The DAR has partnered with the Department of Defense and is participating in a special commemorative event to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. They have been given a special flag and plan to have a flag raising ceremony on Armed Forces Day (Tuesday, May 12) at city hall to honor and recognize the Vietnam War veterans.
The 2015 - 2016 Community Development Block grant applications are due by Feb. 21. Work is underway to determine a project that will qualify for this grant. City council will be asked to consider the resolution to submit the grant application at the regular February meeting.
Infrastructure Rehabilitation USA, Inc. from Shreveport, LA is beginning work on the rehabilitation of 17 manholes in various parts of town. They will be here for about two to three weeks wor1ting on this manhole rehabilitation project, which involves installing a triplex liner system in the existing manhole. Each manhole rehabilitation takes from four to six hours. This liner system is guaranteed to stop Infiltration and future deterioration of the manhole for 10 years.