Council approves construction projects, talks 2019 legislative session

Lewisville City Hall. (Photo by Adonis Carcamo)

At their Nov. 5 meeting, Lewisville City Council approved construction projects in Old Town and discussed their legislative priorities for the state’s 2019 session. Council also approved a contract with FCC for the city’s recyclable materials and accepted more than $300,000 in grants and awards.

Council approved more than $10 million in bids to repair roads in Old Town, with repairs potentially lasting until August 2020. The city approved an $8.5 million contract with HQS Construction LLC to make paving, drainage, landscape and signal improvements along Main, Mill and Charles streets.

This project will add bike lanes, wider sidewalks, ornamental lighting and street furniture to the central Old Town streets. City manager Donna Barron said this construction will generate 69 additional parking spaces along Main Street.

The plans are to make sure Main Street and Mill Street are never both under construction at the same time, with Main Street construction running from January through September of 2019 and Mill Street starting directly after that, with a substantial completion date of August 2020, according to background material. Background material specifies construction will be cleaned up for the annual Western Days Festival, Homecoming Parade and Holiday Stroll.

Council also approved a $5.2 million contract with RKM Utility Services for a separate paving and drainage project on Midway Road, which will see the two-lane asphalt street remade out of concrete with a curb, gutter and sidewalks. This construction project would run from January to July of 2019, according to background material.

During the 6:30 p.m. workshop session, Council discussed their legislative priorities for the upcoming 2019 state legislative session.

Community Relations and Tourism Director James Kunke acts as a representative for the city in these issues. Kunke told Council he believes the 2019 legislative session will be hostile toward cities’ local government control. He explained to Council he feels like local and city influence in Austin is waning, so they must narrow their priorities to focus on those items.

With that in mind, Council decided to change their presentation on issues for next year, agreeing to consolidate their requests to a one page pamphlet instead of creating a booklet like in 2017.  

After almost an hour of deliberation, Council decided their priorities are, in order, annexation, local revenue caps, rights of way and phase 2 funding for I-35. They agreed to also keep an eye out for the issues of land and water use, water rates and mass transit.

Council wants to push legislation that will allow annexation policies to stay local, as they increase their focus on annexing Castle Hills. The city opposes legislation that would restrict its ability to annex any other local properties. Similarly, the city wants to preserve municipal authority to manage and maintain public rights-of-way.

Earlier this year, Texas Governor Greg Abbott proposed a 2.5 percent revenue cap for cities, counties and school districts. Kunke said to Council while the city would have just enough funds to get by with this cap, it’s not ideal because it limits opportunities for residents.

Kunke used the example of sending emergency responders to Houston after Hurricane Harvey last year, saying Lewisville was able to provide that help because of available funds that now won’t be there with this cap.

The city opposes this legislation and believes applying a statewide solution is not the best practice. Kunke repeatedly said throughout the session every city has different needs, and the state should allow local authorities to have the power to act in their own best interest.

Council also wants to focus on getting state funding to finish the second phase of I-35E construction. The first phase was scheduled to finish in early 2017. This item was the city’s top priority during the 2017 legislative session.

Also in the workshop session, Director of Public Services Keith Marvin presented on contracting the city’s recyclable materials to FCC SA Inc., a global infrastructure operations company based out of Madrid with an office in Dallas.

The cost of the contract depended on whether the city chose to continue including glass as a an acceptable item in the recycling program, which staff recommended. The annual cost including glass with FCC was estimated at about $7,000, while the cost with the other proposed company, Waste Management, was about $42,000.

The city’s most recent contract with Pratt Industries for recyclable materials expired Nov. 1. Pratt informed the city it did not want to renew the contract. Processing is currently being done on a month-to-month basis.

The city had previously contracted with Waste Management for recyclable materials processing as recently as 2014, but switched to Pratt Industries in 2015. Waste Management has served as the city’s trash hauling contractor since the 1970s, but is currently in the process of selling area contracts to Republic Services.

During the meeting’s regular hearings, Council approved the contract with FCC. Council approved the decision 4-0, with Councilmember TJ Gilmore, who works for Waste Management, abstaining from the vote. The contract will be for the next three years.

During public hearings, Bret Flory, who applied for ProTech Automotive Solutions to locate its corporate office in Water’s Ridge Industrial Park, spoke to Council about the company. Flory said ProTech is a growing company and an industry leader.

According to city background material, Protech is an automotive repair company that focuses on the repair of car electronic systems. They work with repair shops such as Caliber Collision and Service King.

Council passed this item unanimously.

The city accepted more than $200,000 in grants and was awarded $125,955.52 under the State of Texas’ Homeland Security Grants Division.

Additionally, Denton County agreed to provide $71,000 to Lewisville for keeping Lewisville Public Library open to all Denton County residents. The county has been providing aid in exchange for this at varying numbers based on city population since 1991.

Council approved the sale of alcohol at Lewisville Public Library’s Bad Art night, scheduled for Dec. 14. The event is listed on the city’s calendar as a night for adults 21 and up to relieve stress by looking at each other’s bad art.

Councilmember Bob Troyer said he wants local brewing companies to sell at this event.

“I think it’s important we support our local businesses,” Troyer said.

Lewisville City Council meets at 7 p.m. the first and third Monday of every month at City Hall on 151 W. Church St., usually with a workshop session beforehand at which most of the discussion takes place. These meetings are open to the public.