Citizens Advisory Committee recommends dog park, new police depa - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Citizens Advisory Committee recommends dog park, new police department

Citizens Advisory Committee Chairman Barry Orr Citizens Advisory Committee Chairman Barry Orr
Mayor Pro Tem Jim Gerlt Mayor Pro Tem Jim Gerlt

The Citizens Advisory Committee gave their final recommendations to the Lubbock City Council Thursday afternoon, listing several improvements they felt the city needed to make.

"It's been a process of nine months. Fifteen members of the community selected by the council members - we have done public outreach, had public meetings and did extensive research with city staff and professionals in the areas of planning and engineering," said 2014 Citizens Advisory Committee Chairman Barry Orr.

The committee highlighted the immediate need for a new police department, repairs to city streets and public pools, the need for a walking path around the Canyon Lakes, the addition of a tornado siren warning system and a dog park.

"Our police facility has deteriorated to a point that it is almost not functional for our number one public safety department in the community. That is a $67 million project in itself which will include the emergency operations center," Orr said. "The bond recommendation is just under $134 million - that includes the amenities of the municipal pools, the canyon lakes project, the streets and public works buildings."

The recommendation for the police station would require the council to issue the $67 million bond immediately with a certificate of obligation. It's a process that doesn't require voter approval. The committee's recommendation is that a bond election be held next May to bring the issues before the voters.

"Now it's up to the council to determine what projects they believe are worthy and necessary. Once that's determined it'll be up to a group, again of community volunteers, to publicize the bond election, get the voter familiar with the improvements that we're recommending and then go to the polls in May and support the bond election," Orr said.

Mayor Pro Tem Jim Gerlt says the committee did an excellent job completing their task.

"I think it was a very good presentation. The committee has done a good job of bringing all of the things that we have kind of known need to be looked at and they've put together a comprehensive package," he said. "They've supported what we've known about the police station. It's one thing when a council member says boy this police station is in bad, bad shape we need to replace it but it's something else when an independent group of citizens comes in and says that who are going to have to pay for it. I think the citizens of Lubbock need to know that we had an independent group who came in and looked at these things and these are their recommendations, not ours."

Gerlt believes that a lack of tax dollars has put the city in a hole and the amount of money that they have to spend on improvements is the result.

"It's like eating an elephant, you do it one bite at a time. When you go back and look at what our tax rate was in the mid 90s, when it was at 65 cents per hundred and then it dropped down almost 20 cents per hundred valuation during the time, when you look at the value of dollars back then compared to dollars now the city had a lot more money to work with," he says.

The Mayor Pro Tem knows the committee is recommending a lot of money and he doesn't think citizens will approve every change.

"My opinion is the voters will be more concerned about public safety then they will be about quality of life so I think the pools, the canyon lakes trail, I think those are the ones that will be at the greatest risk of not being passed by the citizens, but at the same time, I think we have to keep in mind the necessity of having quality of life issues to take care of so it will be up to the citizens to make a choice," he said. "I don't know if the council wants to look at the work of the citizens advisory committee and say thanks, but no thanks, we're just going to push that aside they've trimmed a lot of down, a lot of it back also so from my perspective I think we need to take their recommendations and then pass them on to the voters to make their decision."

PDF: 2014 CAC Powerpoint

PDF: Final CAC Report

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