At their meeting this week, the Lubbock City Council approved the purchase of items for city departments, and heard a master plan presentation for the Lubbock Police Department.

The council approved purchasing nearly $626,000 worth of pipe, values, fittings, and other maintenance and repair items for water utility maintenance. The companies chosen to supply the items are K.W. Sharp, Western Industrial, and Morrison Supply, all of Lubbock.

The City will also purchase database licenses for the Utility Billing and Payment System, also known as Banner. The Oracle database licenses approved by the Council this morning cost nearly $295,000.

Over $1.2 million in spending was approved by the Council Tuesday morning on sixteen new garbage trucks for the Solid Waste Department, and $376,000 approved to purchase four new vehicles for Water Pipeline Maintenance, the Street Department, and the Solid Waste Department.

New off-road maintenance equipment was also approved. Two loaders for alley maintenance and street cleaning, one tractor backhoe for the City of Lubbock Cemetery, and one backhoe with a front-end loader for Pipeline Maintenance will be purchased from Heritage Equipment Company of Lubbock for just over $484,000.  Other equipment was also approved for alley maintenance, street maintenance, park maintenance, and aviation operations.

Also approved were $27,000 in weed shredding at the Lubbock and Hancock Land Application sites. The contract was awarded to Abernathy Welding and Machine of Lubbock.

During the Lubbock Police Department’s Master Plan presentation, Police Chief Roger Ellis outlined ways the department is trying to reach quality police candidates, and the state of the LPD’s current facilities.

Ellis said that the LPD has assembled a diverse team of recruiters, and that Lubbock is competitive with all other departments in the region except for Abilene, leading Ellis to mention the benefits of a 5 to 6 percent pay increase. The department is advertising using radio and television advertising, and their most successful advertising tool are billboards placed around town. Currently, about one-third of the police force is eligible for retirement.

The department is focusing on retaining officers through good pay and benefits, as well as assignment rotation. Also, Equipment such as vehicles and technological outfitting in police vehicles are replaced on a 5 to 6 year rotation.

As for the Lubbock Police Department building itself, the main section of the building is at least fifty years old, and some areas are in need of renovation, according to Ellis.

Chief Ellis outlined some options to improve the department’s headquarters, including a new facility, which he estimated would cost between $25 million and $35 million to construct, a future precinct in southwest Lubbock, or purchasing smaller properties and dividing the force out. Of the three options the chief outlined, Ellis said he preferred the idea of a new facility to house the department.