County renews feral hog  abatement

Feral hog abatement, two proclamations, fireworks for Cinco de Mayo, and requested tie-ins on the new East Kerr wastewater system shared a long agenda for the Kerr County Commissioners on April 12, and were added to by winter storm updates and property matters, to make a four-hour meeting.

Hog abatement,

county-UGRA agreement

Commissioners approved an amendment to a renewed Hog Abatement Interlocal Cooperation Agreement between the county and Upper Guadalupe River Authority for FY21-22. The agreement cites damage caused by feral hogs across the county; and that the two entities provide a financial incentive of $10 for each feral hog tail submitted by individuals so long as funds are available.

UGRA also set aside up to $600 for software costs for the wireless signal used with the county’s traps.

Proclamation, National

Day of Prayer

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a request from Matthew G. Melton to hold a “National Day of Prayer” event on May 6 at 12 noon to 1 p.m. on the courthouse lawn.

Melton, who is a chaplain for Peterson Health, requested on behalf of the Kerr Ministerial Alliance the use of 100 chairs and a podium with access to electricity, by the flagpole on the front lawn of the building.

The court approved his request unanimously.

Soil & Water

Stewardship Week

Court members unanimously adopted a proclamation sent in by Denise Griffin, Kerr County SWCD staff member, to proclaim April 25 to May 2 as “Soil and Water Stewardship Week.”

The proclamation originated with the Texas State Soil & Water Conservation Board.

The only court comment was made by Commissioner Tom Moser who questioned how to present more public education on water conservation and drought.

Griffin didn’t attend the meeting in person; so Moser didn’t get a specific answer.

Fireworks, Cinco de Mayo

Commissioners voted 5-0 to allow retail fireworks permit holders to sell fireworks to the public beginning May 1 and ending at midnight May 5, in celebration of “Cinco de Mayo.”

Commissioner Don Harris said fire conditions are good for now, and he saw no handicaps in approving this. But he added, “This could change later if conditions change, within some timing limitations.”

E. Kerr Wastewater System, new connections

The court received a written “Wastewater Capacity Model” packet for the new East Kerr Center Point Wastewater Collection Project to review. The information included maps with every pipeline and pump marked, and estimated collection capacities at various points along the system between Center Point and Comfort’s wastewater collection site in Kendall County.

Already they said they know the new 6-inch pipes underground nearest the new Eden Farms subdivision north of State Highway 27 west of Center Point are not big enough for 230 “living units,” a combination of single-family affordable housing and recreational vehicle sites. Those pipes will have to be replaced with 8-inch pipes as that subdivision is built, sold and occupied.

Under separate consideration of two new requests to tie onto the new sewer lines, commissioners approved by a split vote to allow a housing project called Center Point Village to tie onto the new system. That vote was three to approve (Commissioners Tom Moser, Jonathan Letz and Harley Belew), one against (County Judge Robert Kelly), and one abstension (Commissioner Don Harris).

They also were updated (but did not vote on) a proposed Comfort RV park at Hermann Sons Road and SH 27, where the developer has asked to also be connected to the new wastewater system. That proposal includes a maximum of 201 RV units needing 105 sewer connections.

Commissioners also approved their first amendment to the Interlocal Cooperation Agreement of Kerr and Kendall Counties WCID (new wastewater collection system).

2021-22 budget calendar

The Auditor’s office got court approval of the proposed FY2021-22 Budget Calendar, subject to revisions, with a timeline based on the county tax rate not exceeding the voter-approval rate.

James Robles said it was similar to 2020’s calendar, with about the same number of workshops. Commissioners approved the budget workshop schedule unanimously.

This calendar says the “budget officer” (Kelly) will present a proposed budget to commissioners Monday, April 26; and they should expect preliminary tax rolls from the Kerr Central Appraisal District by April 30.

After budget worksheets go to and return from county departments by June 11, and are given to commissioners for review, commissioners’ first departmental budget workshops are listed June 15, 21 and 30.  

Road repair options,

winter storm

Kelly Hoffer, Road & Bridge chief, discussed road damage and repair options from the winter storm with the court, saying of 20 roads in Precincts 1 and 2, submitted in reports to the Texas Department of Emergency Management, some will need extensive work. She said especially Sheppard Rees and its initial hill; and Ranchero Road.

They both have heavy traffic, and if the county proceeds with repairs, it will take her entire staff and two months. She called this extent of roadwork “a major inconvenience near Nimitz Elementary School.”

Hoffer said after County Engineer Charlie Hastings turned in all his reports after the storm, she has asked FEMA if any funds are available for this repair work.

She has a list of another 18 sites her department can repair “in house,” adding some of those could fall under “seal-coat” work.

On a related item, commissioners authorized the county judge to execute a contract costing $3,500 with Rock Engineering & Testing to perform a geotechnical pavement evaluation for roads damaged in the storm, 2.5 miles of Ranchero Road and 0.4 miles of Sheppard Rees Road.

Hastings said alternating freezing and thawing in the ice/snow storm made small pavement cracks worse, and the company would evaluate that.

Update, severe winter

weather effects

County Emergency Coordinator Dub Thomas reported on citizens’ damage reports to the state and FEMA, saying 545 submissions were sent with more than 60 reporting “major damage.” He said 19 people didn’t send added required information as requested.

He said owners called some “destroyed but live-able;” and one called his property a storage building while another one refused a direct request to provide photographs. Thomas said 11 met all the requirements and were sent to FEMA.

Asked by commissioners for his recommendation about the ongoing disaster declaration, Thomas said he’d support canceling it now. The court next voted 5-0 to terminate that declaration.

Public hearing, The Ravine

Two items for a public hearing and decision on a “revision of plat” created a long discussion Monday as the owner of one of 23 lots/homes in The Ravine asked the county for a revision to take in part of a “common area” next door where his septic system line extends.

He is a 20-year resident, and was opposed by several of his neighbors in the housing area. They called him bullying, threatening, needlessly clearing “large oak trees” and affecting wildlife along their riverfront property, causing fires with fireworks when they have no water hydrant and must call firefighters, and creating obstructions for other families’ use of the common area.

Speakers called the area a “quaint or old-time” Hill Country subdivision more than once and referred to its unpaved caliche road serving all lots. It was created in the mid-to-late 1970s when a single owner and her attorney laid out the residential lots, plus the common area for use by all.

That legal paperwork didn’t create an HOA, but calls for a 2/3 vote of propertyowners there to make changes. Residents said Monday no vote has been called for. All opposed his request Monday.

Commissioners asked County Attorney Heather Stebbins for her opinion. She said there’s no authority for Commissioners Court to act because it interferes with the homeowners’ right to decide. Hastings noted on an original filed plat, there’s no lot number or the designation “common area” on the lot in question.

Commissioners agreed there are problems with that septic system that need to be fixed; and all the owners need to get together and solve this. Kelly told the requesting owner that he needs to have an attorney, and this question needs to be in a civil courtroom.

When Kelly called for a motion, no one offered one; and the man’s request failed for lack of a motion.

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