Cole Shooter,
Cole Shooter,

Lubbock City Council meeting times have been changed.

At their meeting Thursday evening, the Lubbock City Council approved a resolution to begin their regular open sessions at 5:15 p.m. instead of 6:15 p.m.

The resolution was offered by District Two Lubbock City Councilman Floyd Price, after some discussion on the issue at their last meeting.

The change comes as a response to meetings that have gone well past midnight, often due to busy citizen comment sessions and lengthy discussions by the Council.

Council meetings were held in the mornings until mid-2012, when the Council decided to hold meetings in the evening to improve accessibility to citizens. An original suggestion was to hold an evening meeting at least once per quarter, but the Council later decided to hold all meetings during the evening hours.

Many work sessions for the Council will begin at 1 p.m., and they will begin executive session at 2:30 p.m.

The Council approved the resolution 6 to 1, with District Three Councilman Todd Klein dissenting.

The Council also declined to approve the second reading of an ordinance which would have increased bond and insurance requirements for roofing contractors.

Currently, all roofing contractors required to obtain permits for work to be done pursuant to adopted building codes must be registered with the City’s Building Inspection Department.

In order to register, those contractors are required to show proof of fiscal responsibility in the form of a $20,000 compliance bond or a certificate of liability insurance of $100,000.

Many other contractors, such as plumbers, electricians, and HVAC contractors are required by their licensing agencies to maintain a minimum $300,000 liability policy.

Since local roofing contractors are not state-regulated, the Ordinance would have required them to have the bond and liability insurance increased to $300,000 for residential projects and $1 million for commercial projects.

The City of Lubbock’s Model Code and Construction Ordinance Advisory Board recommended the item for approval.

A number of roofing contractors turned out to speak during citizen comments, both for and against the ordinance.

The concern over the changes that would have been required by the ordinance was that small roofing contractors would be unable to afford to meet the insurance requirements, driving them out of business.

The measure failed 5-2, with only District Five Councilwoman Karen Gibson and District Four Councilman Jim Gerlt voting in favor of the increased insurance requirements.

The Council also tabled a resolution relating to the exterior of the Omni Building, which has been deteriorating in downtown Lubbock for some time.

The resolution, offered by District One Councilman Victor Hernandez, would have declared the exterior surfaces of the Omni Building, located near 14th Street and Avenue K, as an imminent risk to public safety and welfare.

Had the Council approved that resolution, the City would have been able to contract with a plastering company to make repairs to the building, which is abandoned, but still private property.

Robertson said that the City’s legal counsel advised the Council to table that item, as the City is currently involved in a legal action against the owners of the building.

Mayor Robertson anticipates that a court date between the City of Lubbock and Lubbock Omni Office, Inc. will occur in November. At that point, the owners of the building could be ordered to bring the building up to code and alleviate the risks which resulted in street closures in the area.