Wolfforth Council members learning about city

Department heads from the city of Wolfforth told City Council members about their departments at a council meeting July 5.

The meeting was the second requested by Mayor Charles Addington as a way to help new council members learn about the various city departments and their own responsibilities as council members.

Council members will be meeting again on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. to hear more about city business.

The city leaders heard last week from Andi Powers, Wolfforth Library director; Debbie Perkey, city secretary; and Doug Hutcheson, director of public works.

Powers gave the council an overview of how the library operates and what it offers. Powers said the library helps everyone from preschool children during story hour to elderly citizens hoping to learn about computers.

The library’s daily circulation fluctuates, Powers said, noting that although 170 people may come in per day during the summer, during slow winter days, there may be only 20 to 30 people coming in the door. Realistically, she said, the library actually serves Southwest Lubbock, since many residents of the city of Lubbock are closer to Wolfforth’s library than to the nearest Lubbock library.

The Wolfforth Library is open 59 hours a week, Powers said, but it employs just two-and-a-half employees during that time.

“I’m very proud of the work I do in the library and the role the library plays in the community,” Powers said.

Perkey told council members that her own primary role is in overseeing city records for the city and the council.

Perkey said she works with the council and also oversees the process of developing the city budget, which she said begins in April each year and culminates with the council’s adoption of the budget in October.

But Perkey is not alone in City Hall. The administrative staff also includes an assistant city secretary, an accounts receivable clerk, a court clerk and a part-time municipal judge. All of those positions are overseen by City Manager Darrell Newsom.

Perkey said over the years, the city staff has seen the need to cross-train for each others’ positions, so she said most anyone in City Hall can take payments or sub in as the court clerk as needed.

Modernizing the phone system when the City Hall moved to its new location and ongoing efforts to allow residents to pay for utilities online are making city government more efficient, she said. She estimated that she will be long retired before the city has any need to bring on additional office staff because of those improvements.

Addington and some of the council members asked Perkey if they could consider streamlining another process: the city financials they are presented with during each regular meeting.

Addington said he would like to have a smaller report that specifically highlights any unexpected expenses. Most of the line-item expenses currently given to council members were spent months before, he said.

Councilman Randy Gross said he would like to continue seeing a balance sheet on the financial report, but he would also like to see highlights of the largest bills and unexpected expenses for each department.

“We’ll get a shorter version structured,” Perkey said to the council members before allowing Doug Hutcheson to take the hot seat.

Hutcheson opened with a few jokes, telling the council that as public works director, his safety advice to employees is, “Don’t put your finger where you wouldn’t put your face.”

He went on to talk about water well reports, the sewage system and possible future reclamation facilities.

Water is the biggest issue before the city, Hutcheson said, noting that the city will need to get more of it and work out ways to treat it.

Councilwoman Julie Merrill said people complain to her about weeds on the roadway, and asked Hutcheson how she should respond to such issues. Hutcheson said those complaints should be directed to City Hall, adding that the city tries to get to that sort of work quickly. He said it is his goal that Wolfforth should look a little better than surrounding areas.

“We’re a very fortunate town. We only have one-and-a-half streets that aren’t paved,” Hutcheson said, noting that Wolfforth has no brick streets and few unpaved roads.

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