Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Communities, neighbors celebrate safety

By Kathi BlissEditor/POST REGISTER

For the 24th year, people across America will unite on Tuesday evening, Aug. 7, to take a stand against drugs and crime in their neighborhoods and communities. Nearly 20 families, community service organizations and neighborhood watch programs across Caldwell County have joined forces with the Lockhart Police Department and the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office to make this year's National Night Out one of the best in Caldwell County History. "One of the best deterrents to crime is a close-knit community where the neighbors know each other and interact," wrote Lockhart's Mayor Pro Tem Frank Estrada in a written statement early this week. "National Night Out helps to strengthen communities by bringing neighbors together and by promoting cooperation between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve. "This year, in an effort to enhance that cooperation, Sheriff Daniel Law enlisted the service of Community Liaison Deputy Bob Carroll to organize National Night Out gatherings in the rural areas of Caldwell County.At press time on Wednesday, nearly every neighborhood and community in northern Caldwell County and in Lockhart was represented by individuals or groups planning get-togethers.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Congressman Doggett and Frank

Frank attended the National Rural Assembly Meeting June 25 – 27 in Washington DC

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Texas Community Development Block Grant Program - 2007/2008

The Governor's Capital Area Regional Review Committee was created as a voluntary, unincorporated association by the Governor of Texas. The committee's primary purpose is to assist the Governor, in conjunction with the Office of Rural Community Affairs, in reviewing funding applications submitted in State Planning Region 12 under the Texas Community Development Program.

The Capital Area Regional Review Committee, which Mayor Pro-Tem Frank Estrada has been a member since 1985, ranked the City of Lockhart 1st in the recent application funding out of 32 applicants.
Texas Community Development Block Grant Program - 2007/2008
The following are the results from the Governor’s Capital Area Regional Review Committee Scoring Meeting held on April 13, 2007. If you have any questions, please contact me at (512) 916-6045. They are also on our web site:


Monday, February 12, 2007

Lockhart Planning and Zoning Commission

City Planner Dan Gibson told the council that the Planning and Zoning Commission had reviewed the request and supported the change, which would make some 2.6 acres currently zoned for residential building into comercially-zoned property. He said the developer's request is in line with the city's current land-usage projections. Gibson did note, however, that more than 44 residents in the area sent in letters of opposition. "Under state law, if more than 20 percent of the adjoining property owners are against it, it would require six of the seven votes from council to change it," Gibson said. "Still, some of the people that sent in protests do not own adjoining property, and the letters that we got only amounted to some 19 percent." A chief cause of concern for District Two Councilmember Frank Estrada, who is the district representative for the area, is the fact that there are ongoing tensions between the developer and the property owner. Estrada suggested that those tensions might be in part responsible for the residents opposition to the zoning change. "To say that the owners are concerned is putting it lightly," Estrada said. "But most of the concerns that I've heard are personal disputes not directly related to this issue."Estrada suggested that the issue be tabled in order to give the developer and the residents time to discuss and settle their disputes, thinking that some of the community opposition might be resolved.Two councilmembers, Gomez and At Large Councilmember Dick Wieland, voted against tabling the issue, instead voting to deny the zoning change. The other five members, however, opted to take the issue up at the council's April 3 meeting.
The Lockhart City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Glosserman Conference Room at Lockhart City Hall.

Friday, February 09, 2007

City lists homes to be leveled

The City of Gonzales City Council voted unanimously to continue its attempt to clean up old and dilapidated property in the town.
Council voted unanimously to take the next step toward demolition of the substandard structures at the monthly meeting Tuesday nigh at city hall.
Five properties were designated for demolition within the next 90 days including houses at the following addresses: 1320 St. Andrew; 1219 Hastings; 1417 Harwood; 1109 Robertson and 806 Linert.
However, council decided to allow property owners at 1309 Water St. and 604 Hopkins St. to continue rehabilitation projects for at least the next 90 days without fear of demolition.
City Manager Buddy Drake also informed Norma Aquayo that she would also be allowed to continue work on her properties on Morey Street.

Friday, January 12, 2007


H.B. 6 (Hilderbran) – Parks: would do the following: (1) divide cities into two groups for purposes of calculating eligibility for state grant funding for local parks—cities under 500,000 in population, and cities of 500,000 or more in population; (2) for cities under 500,000 in population, restructure the local grant funding formulas based on the sporting goods sales tax; (3) for cities of 500,000 population or more, provide restructured funding for grants from the sporting goods sales tax, but allow such grants only to satisfy a city’s match requirement for a federal grant or for other specifically defined purposes such as benefiting “underserved” populations; and (4) provide that cities of 500,000 or more in population may receive state park grants only if recommended by a regional planning commission.
H.B. 422 (Phillips) – Transportation Funding: would: (1) allocate two-thirds of the revenue generated by the $30 state traffic fine to the Texas Mobility Fund; and (2) require the state comptroller to credit traffic fines submitted by a city of less than 5,000 population (when those fines account for more than thirty percent of the city’s revenue for the preceding year) to the Texas Mobility Fund. (Companion bill is S.B. 126 by Carona.)
H.B. 438 (Hochberg) – Property Tax: would provide that the appraised value of a residential homestead may not increase by more than ten percent for the entire time period since the most recent tax appraisal, as opposed to current law, which allows up to a ten-percent increase each year. (Note: Please see H.J.R. 40 below.)
H.B. 442 (Phillips) – Tasers: would provide that the removal or attempted removal of a taser from a peace officer is a felony offense.
H.B. 447 (Callegari) – Construction Procurement: would: (1) prohibit a reverse auction procedure for a public works contract for which a performance or payment bond is required; (2) consolidate the provisions of current law relating to alternative delivery systems for construction projects (e.g., competitive sealed proposals, construction manager-agent, construction manager at-risk, design-build, job order contracting) by most governmental entities, including cities; (3)provide procedures and criteria for a governmental entity to use when selected a construction contractor using a method other than competitive bidding; (4) authorize the use of any alternative delivery method, except for design-build, for any improvement to real property; and (5) limit the use of design-build to buildings and associated structures.
H.B. 457 (Rodriguez) – Property Tax: would require the chief appraiser to deliver a notice each year to each property owner whose property is not currently receiving a homestead exemption. The notice would contain information about how to apply for a homestead exemption.
H.B. 463 (Flores) - Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors: would create a statewide registration system, to be administered by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, for air conditioning and refrigeration technicians.
H.B. 466 (Flores) – Parks: would alter the formulas by which sporting goods sales taxes are allocated to the various parks accounts.
H.B. 476 (Vo) – Property Tax: would extend the ten-percent appraisal cap on residential homesteads to all real property. (Note: Please see H.J.R. 41 below.)
H.B. 478 (Vo) – Utility Payments: would provide that a payment for utility services is considered made on the date the envelope is postmarked if: (1) the payment is not required by law or contract to be delivered by a method other than mail; (2) the payment was mailed with sufficient postage; and (3) the envelope was properly addressed.
H.B. 486 (Driver) – Police Chief Education: would: (1) direct the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE) to create a uniform 24-month training period during which all police chiefs shall receive at least forty hours of training; and (2) direct TCLEOSE to establish a rule stating that the first continuing education training period for a police chief shall begin on the first day of the first uniform continuing education training period following the date the individual completes the TCLEOSE initial training program.
H.B. 490 (Solomons) – Pawn Shops: would do the following: (1) permit, but not require, police chiefs to place holds on pawn shop goods that are suspected of being stolen; and (2) require pawn shops that generate computerized pawn tickets to electronically transmit pawn data to the police department if required by the police chief.
H.B. 491 (Burnam) – Electric Markets: would limit the amount of generation capacity that a deregulated electric utility may own or control within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).
H.B. 492 (Orr) – Emergency Services Districts: would prohibit a city from removing area in its extraterritorial jurisdiction from an emergency services district.
H.B. 495 (Bonnen) - Emergency Services Personnel: would make assault on emergency services personnel a felony of the third degree.
H.B. 497 (Madden) – Construction Contracts: would provide that: (1) a dispute arising under a construction contract for non-residential construction may be referred to a “dispute board” if the contract provides for such a referral; (2) each construction contract entered into by a governmental entity that does not provide for submission of disputes arising under the contract to a dispute board must contain a provision stating that the provision was actively considered and rejected; (3) a dispute board consists of one, three, or a greater odd number of persons selected by the parties through a nomination process, and one person selected by the parties’ chosen members; (4) each member of the dispute board must meet certain qualifications related to the construction industry and meet certain training requirements; (5) a project owner (e.g., a governmental entity) shall provide a dispute board with all documents necessary to the board’s work, including conference facilities for meetings; (6) a dispute board may act in an advisory or formal decision-making capacity, as agreed by the parties; and (7) the meetings of a dispute board and its records are confidential.
H.B. 499 (Castro) - Guardrails: would require that a guardrail constructed on a bridge or overpass located on a public road or highway be at least 36 inches in height.
H.J.R. 40 (Hochberg) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that the appraised value of a residential homestead may not increase more than ten percent for the entire period since the most recent tax appraisal, as opposed to current law which allows up to a ten-percent increase each year. (Note: Please see H.B. 438 above.)
H.J.R. 41 (Vo) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to permit the legislature to extend the ten-percent appraisal cap on residential homesteads to all real property. (Note: Please see H.B. 476 above.)
S.B. 74 (Lucio) – Open Records: would: (1) authorize a program to protect the confidentiality of a victim of stalking, sexual assault, or family violence, and allow the victim to use a post office box as an official address; and (2) require a city to accept the designated substitute post office box address in place of the individual's true residential address, with certain exceptions.
S.B. 175 (Wentworth) – Open Records: would: (1) require a requestor to make a deposit or post a bond before the tenth business day after the required date, or the request will be considered withdrawn; (2) allow the attorney general's office 45 business days to issue a decision after the date the office receives a request for a decision, with an extension period of the attorney general's action of ten business days; and (3) require a city to release information to a person with a special right of access not later than the tenth business day after the receipt of a request for information.
S.J.R. 10 (Janek) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to permit the governing body of a political subdivision, including a city, to reduce the homestead appraisal cap from ten percent to some percentage not lower than three percent. Once lowered, the appraisal cap could be changed again by action of the governing body, but the change would take effect only after six years have expired since the first change.