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Community survey, landfill, water rights top city agenda

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Posted: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 5:28 pm

Kerrville City Council considered community survey results, landfill expansion and a water rights permit at their regular meeting Feb. 28.

They also voted to rearrange the citizens’ forum section of meeting agendas; and got a quarterly report on activities at the Cailloux Theater facility.

Community survey

Kaitlin Berry, the city’s public information officer, reported to council on Feb. 28 on results from the 2016 National Citizen Survey which was sent to a final pool of 1,700 randomly selected households in the city last November and December.

There were 513 responses, a return rate of 29 percent with a 4 percent margin of error. Berry said to get an accurate return rate, surveys mailed to empty apartments or homes were subtracted from the initial pool of 1,800.

The NCS expected a return rate of 25-40 percent, and a margin of error less than 5 percent for a statistically valid sample, Berry said.

The city also provided a survey on their website, and website visitors had two weeks in December; and returned 33 completed surveys. Berry said those results were kept separate from the mailed responses.

According to NCS information, the report is about the “livability” of Kerrville. The introduction says, “Great communities are partners of the government, private sector, community-based organizations and residents, all geographically connected.

“The NCS captures residents’ opinions within three pillars of a community (Community characteristics, Governance and Participation) across eight central facets of community.”

NCS lists those as safety, mobility, natural environment, built environment, economy, recreation and wellness, education and enrichment, and community engagement.

Berry’s report said City of Kerrville got high marks for safety, natural environment, community environment, education and enrichment, and recreation and wellness.

She said the city got lower marks indicating a need for improvement in the economy, mobility and the built environment.

Comparisons to national benchmarks were given; and Berry noted where the low marks were under “community characteristics” in public transportation, new development, affordable quality housing, housing options, vibrant downtown / commercial area, and shopping opportunities.

The first 13 pages included “Governance” where Kerrville scored high for fire protection, ambulance service, police, parks and city power as the top five.

The next detailed section of 23 pages gave online survey results and then complete survey responses in charts listing every question with all responses tallied.

Landfill expansion

Council got a presentation from Stuart Barron, director of Public Works, about Phase III of the city’s project to obtain a “Landfill Expansion Permit” from Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. He asked council to approve a funds transfer of about $257,000, already budgeted, to pay for this next phase.

The initial phase was a solid waste management study in June 2014, followed by the Phase I Preliminary Assessment in November 2014; and the Phase II detailed assessment of expansions in July 2016.

Barron said a landfill expansion permit will increase the lifespan and projected usability of the landfill to approximately 100 years, which Barron said would secure long-term disposal needs for Kerrville.

“With the current level of waste generated in Kerr County, the life span of the landfill site without expansion is approximately seven years,” Barron told council, and said as long as Kerrville garbage gets taken to San Antonio by Republic Services, that 100 years would work.

It would be shorter if the city decides to break with Republic and place its waste locally again.

The engineering firm LNV has identified two areas on landfill property suitable for future use, one west of the current site, and the other on the opposite side called “Big Hill” expansion.

After Barron’s presentation, council passed on first reading an ordinance amending the budget for FY17 to include that funds transfer and to accept and allocate grant revenue related to the EMS Trauma Care System.

Water use permit

Barron told council the city owns a TCEQ Water Right Permit, numbered 3635, which authorizes the city to build and maintain two dams and reservoirs, and thereby impound up to 10 combined acre-feet of water on Quinlan Creek. The permit also allows the city to divert that water for irrigation purposes at Scott Schreiner Golf Course.

The permit was issued in 1979 and the city renewed it in 1999.

The permit is subject to a “take-or-pay” upstream diversion contract between Kerrville and the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, and the city must pay GBRA an annual fee whether the city uses the water or not. Barron said this year’s fee is $3,380, and the fee for the remainder of the contract out to December 2020 would be $13,520 over the next four years.

On Tuesday, Barron said the golf course started using reuse effluent water from the treatment plant in 2000; and then the dams and reservoir system were damaged by flood waters in 2002, and since then the golf course has not used any of the water under the permit.

At the council meeting, Barron asked council to abandon the TCEQ water permit though they first considered asking to revise the permit. But Barron said the city would lose seniority water rights, and it would cost about $55,000 and require renegotiating with GBRA at an unknown coat.

Council agreed, and voted to have Barron start the process to abandon the TCEQ water permit.

Rearranging agenda order

Council members held a workshop about a week ago, and one item was a request to rearrange the order of two recurring items on city council meeting agendas.

They started that change Feb. 28 by voting 3-1 (with White dissenting) to move the announcements of community interest to the beginning, to start on a positive note; and move the Visitors/Citizens Forum to the end after “items for future agendas.”

The two items have been in the opposite order for a long time, with citizen comments allowed at the beginning (if not on specific agenda items), and community announcements at the end.

Audience members followed the new order, but said they had mixed feelings about the change, especially if citizens weren’t willing to stay through entire meetings to have a turn to speak to council.

Playhouse 2000 report

Jeffrey Brown, executive director at Playhouse 2000, gave his quarterly report on Cailloux performing arts center activities across 2016,.

His report included 90 events; 187 “lit nights;” a total of 52,900 attendees (28 percent more than in 2015), $510,366 from face value of tickets sold; $600,795 income and $583,255 in expenses; $17,540 or 3 percent “positive net income.”

He listed their events last year; and invited council to P2K’s “Gala Dinner with the Stars” to be held March 25. He also added highlights of current and upcoming events into June and July.

Commendation

A resolution of commendation was presented to Kenneth Bledsoe by White for his service on the Building Board of Adjustment and Appeals. White thanked for volunteering to serve on this city board since 2010.

Consent agenda

As part of the approved Consent Agenda, council authorized the submission of a grant application to the Office of the Governor, Criminal Division by the Kerrville Police Department, with the grant money to be spent for a 3D X330 laser scanner with associated hardware, software and training.

The system would be used for traffic accident mapping and reconstruction, and in crime scene investigations.

Council also approved an update of the city’s purchasing policy and procedures; and of the city’s investment policy and strategy.

Board appointments

Council made two board appointments, first by naming Dr. Mark Mosier to the Kerrville-Kerr County Joint Airport Board to fill a recent vacancy.

They also voted 4-0 to reappoint Phillip Stacy to the Kerrville Public Utility Board, out of the three nominations sent to council by KPUB officials.

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