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Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2018 12:00 am

Ker County Commissioners tackled topics of Animal Control, holiday lighting, a disaster designation after flooding, and a solution for new dangers on jail inmates’ mail in a Nov. 13 meeting.

Animal Services facility

Local architect Peter Lewis presented a “scope of work” to commissioners related to the Kerr County Animal Services facility on Loop 534, saying the fee for his professional services would be $4,400 for steps to evaluate it and make proposals for replacement or improvements.

Lewis listed meeting with county officials including presentation of a conceptual design; touring the existing local facility and at least one other in the Hill Country; recommendations for a new local facility; a written report and budget.

Commissioners approved 4-0 the proposed scope of work. There was no deadline listed.

In two other related items, there was discussion of moving a vacant building about 56x28 feet from River Star Park to Animal Control to provide more office space. Lewis and others said the Animal Control property has three smaller storage buildings that possibly could be moved to make room for the larger one.

Commissioners also agreed to post a job description for a new Adoption Coordinator / Animal Control Officer for this department, with a salary range of $16-20 per hour.

Christmas, courthouse grounds

Commissioners approved an application from the Jewish Community of the Hill Country to allow them to place an 8-foot solar-powered Menorah on the grounds, and hold a Nov. 30 lighting celebration 6-7 p.m. for Hannukah.

County Judge Tom Pollard and other court members said the local Cailloux Foundation withdrew its plans to design and install a portion of the Christmas decorations on the grounds. So county officials created a Plan B and used the inventory of county decorations and its own maintenance staff to prepare the site for last Saturday’s Lighting Ceremony and the holiday season.

Kerrville Public Utility Board still erected the Christmas tree on the Sidney Baker/Main Street corner.

Hazard mitigation,

disaster declaration

Dub Thomas, Kerr emergency management coordinator, got court approval for what he called “300 pages of riveting information” in a redrawn “Kerr County Multijurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan.” He said AACOG created the original plan after the Federal Emergency Management Agency pushed down responsibility for this to the most local level.

Thomas said he had nine organizations and other officials involved in this re-draft, and once commissioners approved it, said this update would be due again in five years.

He also asked for official county approval on a Disaster Declaration due to severe flooding and dated Oct. 25. He said all agencies and governmental entities involved came up with total figures of close to $1 million in county damages. The bulk of that total is estimated for damages to City of Kerrville effluent pipes below the Loop 534 bridge at Kerrville Schreiner Park. Thomas said FEMA representatives were scheduled to survey damaged sites Nov. 14, and if future work is scheduled with joint funding, it could be 25 percent local and 75 percent federal.

Jail, electronic mail

Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer got county approval for a master services agreement with Smart Communications Holding, Inc., and a schedule of services, an attempt to keep drugs out of the jail that are entering on inmates’ mail.

Hierholzer said all jails are dealing with criminals outside liquefying drugs and putting that on stationary/writing paper and sent to inmates. He said inmates have been tearing off pieces of their paper mail and eating it to get the drugs.

The proposed solution from this company is, the company receives inmate mail (except for attorneys’ communications), digitizes it as computer files; and inmates can read it as files on a limited number of dedicated computers.

Commissioner’s salary

Commissioners voted 4-0 to set the salary for new Precinct 4 Commissioner Don Harris at $57,623, the FY19 budgeted base salary amount.

Court liaisons

Commissioners followed that with a short discussion of how to change the listed “court liaison” slots, following the resignation of Bob Reeves and Harris taking his seat. (Reeves resigned as commissioner recently to become Kerr County Tax Assessor-Collector in place of Diane Bolin at the end of November when she retires.)

They agreed as an immediate step to assign Harris in all the slots Reeves previously served, including AACOG, Animal Control/OSSF, Human Resources/Victim and Indigent Services, Investment Committee, and Veterans Services Officer.

They also agreed to look at this assignment list again after Jan. 1 when Rob Kelly will become county judge.

Crime Victims Assistance office

Two items concerned the Crime Victims Assistance office. First was discussion of the job description for the CVA Coordinator. This was a four-way discussion among District Attorneys Lucy Wilke and Scott Monroe, County Judge Tom Pollard and Hierholzer, as they all at times supervise this employee.

Commissioners voted 4-0 to post the job description and get applicants.

They took no action on a memorandum about operations of that office, saying they would decide that at a Nov. 19 workshop.

Property Tax Collection

Commissioners were updated by Sergio Garcia on collection of delinquent county property taxes by the firm Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collins & Mott.

He told the court values are assessed as of Jan. 1 of one year and become delinquent February of the following year if not paid, and a penalty added to those accounts. He said his firm’s staff contacts taxpayers by mail first, then by phone calls.

They collect as much as possible as soon as possible from those behind on tax payments, he said; and citizens have options to pay in full or in installments. The firm’s collection rate is 97 percent.

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