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Local residents expressed their concerns within the City of Levelland, Monday, at the city council meeting regarding Levelland City Park and the council’s agenda item to consider term limits for city board members.
First, Manuel Mendez addressed the council about work he believes still needs to be done at the Levelland City Park.
To begin, he thanked the Levelland Community Development Corporation for providing the funds for the City Park renovations and for what has been done there.
“I appreciate that very much, but there’s a lot more work and a lot more money that needs to be raised or given to them to help the city out,” Mendez said. “It’s my understanding the budget, there isn’t much money to budget for parks.”
He said in speaking with Dustin Reichelt, director of parks for the city, he learned awning number three at the City Park doesn’t have electrical capabilities while the other two do.
“All three should be looking the same,” Mendez said.
Mendez said the city also needs to include a “clean-up clause” in its agreements with contractors.
“When we hire a contractor, we need to have a clean-up clause in there,” Mendez said. “It is not the responsibility of our employees who work for the city to clean up after these guys…There has to be something done with the contractors. If they’re going to work for the city, they’re going to clean up after themselves.”
Mendez said his goal is to ensure the Levelland City Park looks as good as the other parks throughout Levelland.
“Until my death, I’ll make sure the city park looks as nice as any other park in this community, and it doesn’t,” Mendez said.
Todd Paxton was next to address the council. He expressed concern about the city council’s plan to discuss imposing term limits on city council appointed boards.
“That would be something I would strongly recommend against,” Paxton said.
Paxton said having served on several boards for the city through the years, he understands the things involved and each is a little different.
“In general, I think most of those boards start out with two-year terms and they spend that first year trying to figure out what’s going on,” Paxton said. “The nature of those terms do require some continuity, and those can change.”
Paxton said it is up to the discretion of the Levelland City Council to approve or disapprove appointments to the many different city boards.
“It is purely up to your discretion whether to give them another term or not,” Paxton said. “You don’t need something artificial. There are going to be options on some boards where you’re going to want to keep continuity and it’s important to be able to do that.”
Paxton said he currently serves on two boards for the city, which he referred to as “sister boards,” for the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 1 and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 2.
“We’re in the midst of a project that we want to see finished,” Paxton said. “To artificially be kicked off hamstrings you.”
He asked the council to consider the possibility of other ways to ensure the city has different perspectives on boards, such as limiting how many boards a person can serve on at one time.
“None of you all are subject to a term limit,” Paxton said. “You all decide whether you want to run again and people in your district vote on it. We get asked to serve again or server on a board and it’s purely at your option whether that continues after that or not.”
Later in the meeting, the city council held a discussion on the possibility of imposing term limits.
Michael Stueart, city council member for District D, pointed out the Main Street Advisory Board requires board members to take one year off the board once their term is complete before taking on a second term.
“That cooling time allows people to get on those boards,” Stueart said. “We do make those appointments, but it’s a reset to get some fresh faces in there…That is something we as a council need to look at and not just be a rubber stamp and really looking at who do we need on those boards to get new ideas.”
Breann Buxkemper, city council member for District C, said she liked the idea of imposing term limits and if the council decided to do so, the city should “wipe the slate clean” and start those term limits from when the decision is made.
“Removing them is not the right word, maybe there are other people who have never had a chance to serve and who are very willing and interested but can’t,” Buxkemper said. “I know it comes to the city council when we are supposed to reappoint them, but it’s also a hard thing to think about not putting someone on that board when they have been serving.”
Engledow said she doesn’t know when someone wants to serve on a board until they come to her and tell her they want to serve, but can’t.
“We don’t know until someone comes up to us and says I tried to get on this board and I can’t, it’s locked up,” Engledow said. “That’s a concern.”
Stueart said Paxton brought up a good point in the council could consider limiting how many boards a person serves on.
“That puts pressure on us, I’ve set in committees before and it’s hard to find people,” Buxkemper said.
Jim Myatt, city council member for District A, said some boards need continuity and shouldn’t be limited by terms.
“Some people need to serve 10 years, though,” Myatt said. “Some things we have going right now are humming.”
Myatt said he believed the council needed to take a strong look at the possibility of imposing term limits and decide what boards should be imposed to term limits and which shouldn’t.
Barbra Pinner, Levelland Mayor, brought up that her position and council members don’t have term limits.
“The people speak for us, whether we’re going to sit here or not,” Engledow said. “For these boards, if I’m a private citizen and I want to be on a board…how do I get on there when the board is locked up?”
Council members were in agreement that they would like to continue looking at options for imposing term limits on city appointed boards before taking action.
The council voted to postpone taking action on whether to impose term limits or not until the November 15 city council meeting.