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Stories Added - November 2009
Copyright 2009 - Polk County Publishing Company
Council green lights request for bids for street paving grant project in West End
Polk County Enterprise - November 2009
LIVINGSTON — A $250,000 grant project to pave streets in the northwest part of the city has been approved six months ahead of schedule and the city council granted City Manager Marilyn Sutton authority Tuesday to seek bids for engineering and administration services to set the paving project in motion. Sutton told the council no local match will be required to seal coat unpaved portions of Willis, North Pine, Starghill, Beatty and Colita streets.
The city will pave as much of the area as the $250,000 will allow. “Hopefully, with prices coming down we can add more streets to that,” Sutton said. The project is limited to low- to moderate-income neighborhoods that are currently unpaved, according to grant consultant David Waxman who made a presentation to the council at a prior meeting. The council also voted to move forward with obtaining a license from Union Pacific Railroad to upgrade water lines to serve the Polk County Judicial Center on Abbey St. Sutton told council members. that the project engineer looked at three possible routes for the new water line and the best choice would be to run the line under the railroad tracks which would also upgrade service to other users in that area. The council passed an ordinance establishing guidelines for onlocation filming in the City of Livingston that is similar to a new Onalaska ordinance.
The Texas Film Commission, a division of the Governor’s office, recently launched an effort to certify communities as “film-friendly” that encourages officials to set guidelines in place that encourage filmmakers to use those communities. Sutton said the project was suggested by the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce and after Chamber Executive Director Sydney Murphy and Beverly Miller attended a workshop on the program. City Attorney Gaffney Phillips told the council the ordinance was based on guidelines from the Film Commission. She made some revisions after reviewing existing ordinances in Bastrop, Corsicana and Onalaska — especially to ensure that the ordinances within Polk County are cohesive. Corrigan officials will consider a similar ordinance in the near future, Phillips added. The council also passed a resolution supporting an Interagency Cooperation Contract and licensing agreement to share imaging software with the Polk Central Appraisal District.
The software uses aerial images of property from four sides at the neighborhood level and from two sides at the community level. The program would allow Community Development inspectors, for example, to see building conditions without having to leave the office. The images will be updated every two years, Sutton said. The city’s tax abatement policy was extended for another two years, keeping an incentive program developed by Main Street Director Bob Zeigler in 2007 in place. The program created a reinvestment zone that will expire in 2012. Landmarks that define the four corners of the zone include the Polk County Enterprise building on the northeast corner, the old Miller Pump building on the southeast, the old Jackson’s Industrial Building on Jackson and Abbey, and First State Bank on the northwest.
The tax abatement project allows property owners who make substantial improvements to postpone increase in the taxable value of improvements over several years. The abatement applies to county ad valorem taxes only since the city does not assess property tax and state law prohibits school districts from granting abatements. City aldermen also approved the holiday schedule for 2010, granting employees nine paid holidays. They also approved a Christmas bonus of one week’s pay for staff with more than one year of service. Newer employees will receive $50.