At their rather lengthy meeting Thursday night, the Lubbock City Council heard from a number of citizens unhappy about the City-owned Lubbock Power & Light, gave further approval to two annexation sites, and approved a severance package to Lubbock’s former city manager.

One Lubbock resident chided the Council on her high electric bill, saying “I went last month to get some assistance, and guess what? I can’t get but $100 for an entire year for assistance. I own my home. I own my car; I have no debt, so I don’t get any help. It doesn’t matter than I’m 70, or that I live on a fixed income, or that I’m a widow. They could care less.”

Resident Bill Curnow weighed in as well.

“What is clear is that it’s never LP&L’s fault…it’s never their fault. They never apologize for these things. It’s always someone else’s fault. It’s Xcel Energy’s fault for what happened a few weeks ago. It’s never LP&L’s fault,” said Curnow.

He continued, saying “They have a very clear cultural problem within that organization. It’s not the boots on the ground; it’s not the front line CSRs, but somewhere, somehow, a corporate culture of arrogance has set in and begun to metastasize. What little goodwill they had dissipated in minutes a few weeks ago. It’s going to take years to earn it back…a lot of work has to be done to repair the relationship between LP&L and its owners.”

Overall, 15 people addressed the Council about LP&L’s rates.

The Council unanimously approved a resolution to suspend a $30 fee LP&L charged in order to set up a payment plan for those that couldn’t afford to pay their higher bills in a single lump sum. The suspension was made retroactive back to June 1st, so those that have already paid the fee will have the funds credited back to their account.

The Council also heard the first of two public hearings on two different annexations.

The first public hearing was for annexation of approximately 80 acres adjacent to the City limits, just north of Farm-to-Market Road 1585 and east of Flint Avenue. Most of this annexation parcel, if completely approved by the Council in future meetings, will be an extension of Betenbough Homes’ Bella Mia subdivision. This item passed 6-1, with District 1 Councilman Victor Hernandez voting against the measure.

The second public hearing was for annexation of approximately 76 acres one half-mile south of Farm-to-Market 1585, just east of Quaker Avenue. The parcel, owned by Ford Development, will be used as another portion of the group’s Kelsey Park neighborhood, which is currently in development north of the annexation site. This particular annexation public hearing passed 5-2, with Hernandez and District 6 Councilwoman Latrelle Joy in opposition.

Another public hearing will be held on these annexation measures at the next Lubbock City Council meeting on August 22nd.

The Council also approved the severance package of former Lubbock City Manager Lee Ann Dumbauld, who was terminated by the Council on July 15th.

The package, which comes to nearly $351,000, is expected to settle the issue, according to Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson.

“That settles all monies owed to Ms. Dumbauld, and it’s got releases on both parties for any future action,” said Robertson.

The severance package was part of Ms. Dumbauld’s original hiring in 2005.

Robertson continued, saying “My understanding, is that the severance agreement kicks in because she was not fired for cause. If we had fired her for cause under the severance agreement, we wouldn’t have had to pay for it.”

The Council also heard the initial options for the search of Lubbock’s next permanent city manager, but has chosen to hold off on making any decisions on whether or not the search will be handled by the City of Lubbock Human Resources department or by an outside firm.

The City’s Human Resources department says they expect the search and hiring process to take six to 12 months.

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