In the year 2003, Lubbock's City Council faced a number of challenges. First, City Manger Bob Cass retired, and the search to replace him began. Then, LP&L fell into a deep hole, challenging the city budget. So, what's ahead for this year and where do we stand?
NewsChannel 11 sat down with Mayor Marc McDougal on Sunday to discuss what's in store for 2004.
"We still have some unfinished business, like hiring the city manager. Short term, it will be the #1 goal, and then of course, we'll be getting into the budget very quickly. We have water issues that we continue to deal with, and as I've said before, you will be hearing a lot about water for the next several years, but I think over the course of 2004 we'll be able to get Lubbock in very good shape for long term water usage," said Mayor Marc McDougal.
Mayor Marc McDougal says in short those are the known issues ahead for 2004, so let's break it down. Starting with water issues.
"Because of past leaders and city administrators, Lubbock is in great shape when it comes to water, but we need to with Lake Meredith going down, and with aging infrastructure, the pipeline to Bailey County 50 plus years old, no pipeline system at all to Lake Alan Henry and the Crimwa System is aging as well. We need to make sure that infrastructure is in good shape so we can continue to get the water to those pipes and maybe even make those stronger for years to come," said McDougal.
Overall, Mayor McDougal says we are in good shape water-wise, but we have to continue to prepare for the future. As for the city manager search...
"The council, in our conversations, we're looking at doing something very quickly and I don't think this is a process that we have to start completely over from scratch. You know we've been through a long process, and when it got down to the end, we opted to not go with any of the finalists that we had, so we'll start over from there. But that's not like starting from the beginning," said McDougal.
Then, there's the budget...
"We have a number of things that we have to look at in the budget, certainly the growth, southwest (Lubbock) continues to grow and we're starting to see a lot of growth north of the Loop, but you know infrastructure and making sure we are keeping up with the demands from the developers, because growth is definitely something we don't want to see slow down. That's what we need to go back into the budget."
Mayor McDougal says he expects the city will have a new manager in the next 45 to 60 days. However, no time limit has been set. And he adds, the city will continue to watch and stay involved with LP&L as they get back in the black.