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Lubbock City Council Approves Moving Funds from 34th Street Reconstruction to North University

Cole Shooter,

At their meeting Thursday evening, the Lubbock City Council approved moving a sizable amount of bond funds from the 34th Street Reconstruction Project to an area around North University.

District 1 Councilman Victor Hernandez offered the budget ordinance, which moved $765,978 from the $21,490,998 set for the 34th Street Reconstruction Project from Indiana Avenue to Avenue Q.

The funding, originally appropriated in bonds for the North University Gateway Project in 2004, was later moved to the 34th Street project.

There was no impropriety in doing so, because the bond language which the voters approved simply said “The issuance of general obligation bonds in the amount of $9.2 million for street improvements,” with the North University funds as part of that total measure.

“Legally, what the City did was allowed,” said Hernandez.

“But, what’s sold to the public is not a lot more specific, and that’s where people get upset. They said ‘you came to my elementary school, you came to my neighborhood association, and you touted specific projects, and now you’re telling me you don’t have to comply with it?’ Legally, we don’t,” Hernandez continued.

The changes to be made to North University include drainage, curbs, sidewalks, and general improvements to the street and the public access areas.

The Council also approved moving $414,169 from a capital improvement project originally slated to construct a pavilion near Llano Estacado Lake, located in the Buddy Holly Recreation Area at North University and Cesar Chavez Boulevard.

The funds will go to refurbish the Landwer House, also located in the Buddy Holly Recreation Area. The Landwer House was built as a Spanish Mission-style home for Dr. and Mrs. Landwer in 1936. The City of Lubbock purchased it in 1972, and it now serves as a party house and community meeting place.

The Council unanimously approved the first reading of both the measures.

District 6 Councilwoman Latrelle Joy also offered a budget ordinance adding three positions to City Hall.

The three positions cost $182,522, and are being covered financially by increasing the sales tax revenue forecast for the year.

In the 2012-13 budget, the City has now budgeted for sales tax revenue of more than $52,760,000.

The new positions include two senior auditors to Internal Audit, and one executive assistant to the City Council. The City Manager’s office did not request for these positions to be added.

Mayor Glen Robertson did not agree with this measure, saying that he believed that other positions in the police department need to be filled first. City Manager Lee Ann Dumbauld was asked where she would prefer to see more employees, and specifically said that she believed that the City needs more building inspectors and animal control officers.

The first reading of that measure passed 5 to 2, Robertson and District 5 Councilwoman Karen Gibson voting against the creation of the new positions.

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