Commissioners discussed with citizens problematic parking and trash at a favored swimming spot on the river; and a housing development on Hwy. 27 West that neighbors say hasn’t solved their stormwater runoff into Johnson Creek.
W. Kerr low-water crossing
Commissioners held a public hearing on posting no-parking signs on FM 1340 at the Wagon Wheel low-water crossing over the north fork of the Guadalupe River.
There also was an action item listed, and at the end of the discussion, they voted to approve the plans for no-parking signs, “as a first effort for safety there.”
Property-owners near that crossing confirmed the traffic problems on a blind curve on a Farm-to-Market road that most drive too fast.
Also this crossing is very popular so far this summer, but it isn’t a designated park while other sites in Kerr County are.
They said popularity of low-water crossing swimming holes is cyclical, and this summer it seems this one is first on the list. They’ve seen 17 to 30-plus cars parked on the roadsides, especially on weekends; and whole families, including small children, crossing the road on foot while loaded down with everything from canopies to chairs and filled coolers to towels.
“They park in front of people’s front yards, and you can’t imagine what it would be like if it were your home, with all that trash, the diapers and beer cans and bottles,” one said.
Speakers suggested handicapped parking signs or a tow-away zone, or somehow “no more than 15 cars.”
Commissioners said Texas Department of Public Safety has been asked to provide control on this state-controlled road, but it takes county authority to place signs. Charlie Hastings, county engineer, said he recommends 300 feet from the bridge on the northeast side; and 275 feet back on the southwest roadside.
Enforcement was discussed, with Sheriff Larry Leitha saying he’d have officers help enforce the parking ban, with the help of the Precinct 4 constable. Tom Moser compared this problem to Brinks Crossing where they placed several trash cans; and said people there usually stop on that bridge, unload, and drive on to park; then return to pick up passengers and belongings. The trash cans have helped, but must be emptied often.
The other big discussion was about the manufactured home development for seniors on SH 27 West bordering Johnson Creek at Hoot Owl Hollow. The developer asked for a “Certificate of Compliance” to be issued and Hasting presented the request.
Hastings got an affidavit July 2 saying the developer was in compliance with the rules.
Monday, the main speaker was a neighbor across Johnson Creek, who showed photos of the result of 1.5 inches of rain recently when runoff from the unfinished housing site sent muddy caliche-sludge water into the creek. She compared current photos to some she took summer 2020 that look the same, despite the developer saying he fixed the retention pond, culvert, creek runoff as directed.
She said he moved a silt-fence less than 4 feet, not the 15 feet he was told to; and the culvert that drains retention ponds, with funnel-like openings, has changed the velocity and force of the stormwater run-off.
Commissioners discussed these conditions with Hastings, who agreed when housing with impervious roofs are added to the paved roads and foundation areas, the run-off will increase even more.
The neighbor said none of the surrounding property-owners have received any certified letters of notification from the developer. And she invited commissioners to come to her property in person to observe the conditions; and she’d provide the food and drinks for their visit.
Another neighbor asked if conditions on the ground there are actually different from the developer’s submitted plans on paper (which Hastings agreed have already been redesigned once); and didn’t get a certain answer. One asked for an outside engineer to check the developer’s numbers and actual installation.
The court also was reminded that if neighboring property-owners can sue the developer, and the court has approved this certificate of compliance, court members “can be sued with ‘em.”
Finally, Hastings said he didn’t have this information before, and he feels they should return to the developer and his engineer and ask them to look at this again.
Commissioners didn’t vote Monday on the certificate and agreed to have the developer and his engineer return to court for more discussion.
Commissioners approved a resolution 5-0 to be sent from Commissioners to the Texas Department of Transportation to try to get back $1.9 million previously allocated to the Kerrville-Kerr County Airport but sent elsewhere.
Dr. Mark Mosier, president of the airport board, said the local airport lost federal funding channeled through the state as block grants; and TxDOT is delaying now, after they told him the money was given to Midland-Odessa airports instead.
“I hope the funding will be returned to Kerrville. It was going to maintenance and repairs on the long runway and the apron,” Mosier said. “My goal is to keep the money in the original time frame, to Kerr, in 2022.”
Emergency Services District #4
The court voted to hold a public hearing on Aug. 16 to discuss creation of the county’s “Emergency Services District #4.” Tax Assessor-Collector Bob Reeves said he received signed petitions to check for qualified county resident registered voters; and the procedure requires at least 100 qualified signatures. He approved more than 100 on the petitions; and Aug. 16 is the last available date on which the court can consider this and, if approved, still get it the matter on the Nov. 2 General Election Ballot.
They did not discuss where this ESD would be located.
Commissioners handled three items for Divide School in Mountain Home, one an agreement for the county to sealcoat the school parking lot.
The other two were acceptance of a new metal cattleguard, larger than the present one, for the entrance off State Highway 41; and approval for Kerr County Road & Bridge to remove the present cattleguard, and install the new one.
Department Director Kelly Hoffer said the cattleguard at the school’s entrance is within the county’s roadside maintenance area; and when the old one is removed, the county department will claim it (as they have, others) and possibly use it elsewhere.
Veterans Advisory Committee
Gary Noller and other advisory board members presented the written quarterly report from the Veterans Advisory Committee, on the activities of Kerr County Veteran Services Officers, saying compensation granted by the Veterans Administration to qualified Kerr County resident veterans totaled $1.5 million last year.
They also said the local VA Medical Center continues to offer COVID vaccine to vets, their spouses and caregivers. They also thanked Commissioner Moser for his work with them as liaison to this committee from Commissioners’ Court.
Donations to SO
Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha got commissioners’ approval to accept three donations to his “Sheriff’s Special Response Team Fund” totaling $12,000. Two of the donations came from Claryle Flooring Center and Ronnie Bock’s Kerrville RV; and the third was from a citizen.
Leitha also got the court’s approval on a Memorandum of Understanding between the SO and the Texas Joint Counterdrug Task Force, an agreement he said runs with the county fiscal year to Sept. 30, 2021, and then will be renewed.
The SO’s Agreement for Inmate Health Care Services between the county and Wellpath, LLC, also was approved as amended, effective Oct. 1. Leitha said this contract covers only healthcare provided inside the jail to inmates.
This is the third amendment, and by the 2018 contract the cost increases by 3 percent per year. In year four starting Oct. 1, the cost will be $866,351.72 payable in equal monthly installments; or $80,529.31 per month.
Pets Alive donation
Commissioners voted 5-0 to accept a restricted donation to Animal Services from Kerrville Pets Alive! of $725, for the purchase of 100 more PetLink Datamars microchips. Treasurer Shelly Sandy said the microchips were for Pets Alive-sponsored chips for owner-claimed pets at KCAS, and for special microchipping events.
She said pets reclaimed at KCAS are already considered “flight risks” and need to get microchipped. “We get better results when we collaborate; and the public likes ‘free’,” she told the court.
Update, FEMA assistance
County Emergency Coordinator Dub Thomas reported on FEMA individual assistance received by citizens after last February’s winter storm, saying by March 21 people submitted 338 claims that were paid a total of $1.2 million or about $3,700 per individual. In June, Kerr County was added onto the program and people sent FEMA 585 claims, for even more reimbursements of federal assistance money.
Thomas said in general what people’s insurance doesn’t cover, FEMA considered; and citizens got checks. On ranches he assumes that included their livestock losses.
Center Point Homecoming
Three Center Point representatives from the school district and volunteer fire department asked the county to approve Center Point ISD use of Lions Park there for the Oct. 20 Homecoming Event, including games, a bonfire, and a parade through town.
Speakers were ISD Superintendent Cody Newcomb, CPISD Chief of Police Michael Earney, and CP VFD Chief Charles Holt.
Their request said they wanted to use the park 4-8 p.m.; but after discussion about set-up and clean-up, commissioners and the ISD and VFD representatives said they will need advance preparations, especially for the bonfire, to start at noon that day with cleanup of the bonfire and general site to last until 9 p.m.
Commissioners approved their request by a 5-0 vote.
Aggregate Production Operation
Commissioners had a listed agenda item to consider establishing a “Kerr County Advisory Committee for Aggregate Production Operations” that would encourage more communication and cooperation between rock quarry operators and their neighbors. But Moser told Kelly and other court members they should pass over this item and consider it at their next regular meeting (July 26.)
Meetings of this new advisory group are proposed to be held quarterly, once established.