Lubbock City Council moves public safety, health to top of priority list amid record growth

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 7:50 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - On Tuesday, the Lubbock City Council started its work session by outlining its priorities in the next year. While keeping most the same, councilmembers requested making public safety the top priority and putting public health as its own item.

“These priorities, they help guide us as we put the budget together,” City Manager Jarrett Atkinson told the council. “The budget is the work plan for the city. That’s one time of year, everything is on the table all at the same time. It tells us where we’re going next year, what it’s going to cost and how to do it.”

Atkinson ended a review of previous year priorities and outcomes by telling the council how many single-family home permits had been requested from the City of Lubbock. In 2021, he said there were 2,428, which he said was a 33 percent increase over 2020′s record of 1,829.

The growth and the pandemic prompted the changes to the outline of current priorities, which are the following:

  • Fiscal Discipline
  • Communications
  • Community Improvement
  • Public Safety
  • Growth & Development
  • Economic Development/Redevelopment
    • North & East Lubbock

“I tried to figure out where we really had health as a priority,” Councilwoman Latrelle Joy said. “If we don’t know today how important that piece of our city has been and somebody has been asleep, I think we need to add that. I don’t think we will ever be the same again.”

Public health issues were previously under public safety but city staff agreed to place it as its own priority.

“My recommendation is to move public safety to the top of the list,” Councilman Jeff Griffith said. “As Mr. Atkinson went through, a lot of these years and things we’ve done communications obviously has improved, community improvement has improved, fiscal discipline has improved and I believe public safety has improved as I looked at new data, just yesterday. But the point is, I think that should be the top priority as our city continues to grow.”

Councilman Steve Massengale also requested an emphasis on infrastructure due to growth.

At least three councilmembers, Juan Chadis, Dan Pope and Jeff Griffith, have announced they will not seek re-election. Priorities outlined today can be changed by the next council.

“We’ll seat the new council later this year,” Pope said. “The interesting thing about the timing of the city business is such that the first thing that new council will really deal with is a budget. We would not be doing our job if we didn’t take the opportunity to give staff direction. Those budget meetings begin soon.”

To see the January 25 meeting, click here.

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