Kerr County Commissioners Court on Monday received an update on climate predictions for the spring and through the rest of 2023, scheduled an elections workshop which will allow public input, discussed issues related to placement of mailboxes in the county right-of ways, confirmed support of veterans causes, and discussed issues with the new subdivision regulations and water availability rules.

Spring Climate Outlook

County Emergency Management Coordinator Dub Thomas, reported information from a “Spring 2023 Climate Outlook” Webinar held on March 9. Thomas told the court that the weather may undergoing a return to an El Nino weather pattern, which will mean cooler temperatures and more rain.

Kerr County has been in a La Nina pattern for the past three years resulting in the drought issues faced today. Burn bans have been restored in Precincts 2 and 3.

“La Nina is basically over,” Thomas said, adding however, that the shift will be gradual.

He said the county was still presently above normal fire potential in the western part.

“Last year we may have had the hottest on record.”

He cautioned that even though it rains, any dry fuel on the ground can still be susceptible to fires even after they have dried out.

He also said that there will probably be several “red-flag” days based on wind and low humidity conditions issued by the state in the coming months.

“That means also that just because you can burn, doesn’t mean you should,” Thomas added.

He said it is against state law to burn once winds exceed 16 mph, and burning is prohibited at night.

The information shared in the webinar predicted April and May 2023 might bring some rain along with relative cooling compared to last year, and more rain in the fall and winter.

May and June may bring flash floods as hurricane season approaches, Thomas said.

He urged people to call the sheriff’s office and the volunteer fire departments to inform them that they will be burning and to always call the county’s burn ban hotline at (830) 315-2876 to get current information on burn bans in the four precincts.

Elections Workshop

The court had an extended discussion about holding a half-day Elections Workshop for March 20, 2023, starting at 9 a.m. in the courthouse.  The court’s consensus was to hold it as an open workshop to be aired on YouTube. They expressed the desire to keep the workshop non-partisan. County Attorney Heather Stebbins explained that nothing could keep the workshop from being a public event. One of the concerns that has occurred in other counties is the concern that someone or a group could hack into the county’s election system. The commissioners said that more detailed discussions might have to be in an executive session since some of the information would be deemed confidential..

Pct 2 Commissioner Rich Paces, who brought the idea of the workshop to the court last month. “It would be beneficial for the public to see the whole process,” he said.

County Judge Rob Kelly said that since the process is being criticized, he wanted to have the issue put to rest.

Although hacking into the county system was one of the main concerns, the court also said that more detailed discussions might have to be held in an executive session since some information would be deemed confidential.

County Tax Assessor Collector Bob Reeves said he would be glad to contact the representatives from the company whose equipment and software is used in tabulating the voting results election tabulation system and have them be present for the workshop.

Pct. 1 Commissioner Harley Belew agreed that the workshop needed to be both educational and clear and urged that it be more like a town hall meeting.

“There is a fine line between security and transparency,“ Reeves added. “We have to protect our integrity.”

Kelly said that the county needs such a session since accusations have been made about the integrity of the county’s election process, so they can “get comfortable ourselves and reassure the public how the process works. Kelly added they have taken the first step by setting the workshop.

Animal Control

Animal Control Director Reagan Givens asked the court to approve a donation to the department in the amount of $474 in February.

Givens also asked the court to confirm the animal control lease affidavit for vehicles through Enterprise Fleet management.

Sheriff’s Department

Sheriff Larry Leitha received approval for a Tower License Agreement with Crown Castle. Once the infrastructure has been put in place, the old agreement will not be needed. He also received approval to renew a Interlocal Agreement between Llano and Kerr Counties for jail services. Leitha said that Kerr County still has about 70 beds available and is in good shape to take in more inmates, although the jailer staff numbers are down.

Rural Mailbox

Placement Issues

Gaylyn Hierholzer, the Hunt postmaster, asked the court to clarify whether individuals could place mailboxes adjacent to existing boxes that are not on the county right-of-way. The issue was whether residents could place mail boxes on the county right-of-way in the Guadalupe Ranch Estates in West Kerr County.

The court concluded that they had no authority on mailbox placement on state highways and it was up to the local post office to receive permission for new boxes along a state highway, which has to go through a federal authority based in Tennessee.

She added that route contract workers have set rules on where to deliver, how far off the highway they can drive, and other stipulations.

She said that when it came to mailbox banks (multiple mailboxes in a line), Texas Department of Transportation mounts them on a pole that will break away if it is hit, which is safer than filling the base with concrete.

Road and Bridge can follow up if the county allows, for the sake of safety, on a county road.

However, TxDOT has a policy that if a box is in a row already, it is grandfathered in its place in a right of way. but no new ones can be placed there.

Kelly asked that Hierholzer send the county a plan on how to handle the matter, since the county cannot solve the situation.

Veterans Services

Veterans Advisory Committee representative Gary Noller presented a “Quarterly Report,” praising the local Veterans Service Officer Jenna Sanchez, for her outstanding work.

 “She is doing outstanding work,” he said, “We hope she will keep it up. It has become daunting, especially since the VA has passed the PACT act, and veterans are receiving notifications that they may qualify for more disability benefits.”

She has taken on 26 new clients since the new legislation was approved.

The work of the VSO in Kerr County has generated $1.9 million as of Sept. 30 2022, and $2.1 million by the end of December, 2022.

 Long-time supporter of the VSO program Commander William A. Cantrell received a special commendation and resolution from the county for his dedication and contributions on their behalf. A recipient of the Distinguished Cross for Valor while serving as a U.S. Navy aircraft pilot and squadron commander in Vietnam.

He helped found the Cpl. Jacob B. Leicht Memorial American Veterans Post 1000, supported the Freedoms Path apartments at the Kerrville VA, and helped complete the expansion of the Kerr County Memorial, and much more.

“End of the Vietnam War”


On Wednesday, March 29 there will be a special commemoration marking 50 years since the end of the Vietnam War.

The event will take place at the Kerr County Courthouse starting at 12 noon, and will last about a half hour.

“It is a day for us to honor those who served,” Kelly said.

Meals on Wheels

Program Recognition

Another resolution signed by the court went to Dietert Center for its Meals on Wheels program, in honor of the March for Wheels event scheduled for the week of March 20 through 24. Officials from the City of Kerrville, Kerr County, local businesses and others will ride out with Meals on Wheels volunteers each day to deliver the meals.

The Dietert Center has been promoting the program for the past 53 years in Kerr County, since it began at the original rock house on Jefferson Street.

Last year the program served 65,000 meals to homebound seniors in Kerr County. Dietert Center has 200 volunteers who prepare and deliver the meals to local residents.

“Patrons on home delivery routes get a hot meal, a warm smile  and a welfare check. It is heartwarming to see how many people are waiting for us,” said Brenda Thompson, executive director of the Dietert Center.

In order to receive additional funding, Dietert Center partners with Kerr County to provide for the program.

New County Website

Good news is around the corner for those hoping to see the new County website.

It is due to launch on Wednesday (today).  

Subdivision Rules and

Water Availability Rules

County Engineer Charlie Hastings introduced a discussion of subdivision regulations and water availability requirements.

He said he was asked earlier to meet with Headwaters Groundwater Conservation District and quantify what the county has written about water availability in the updated subdivision rules adopted recently.

“We have a couple of exemptions for water availability. If you don’t fall in the exempt categories, you will have to do a study on your property” he said.

Hasting pointed out that Aqua Texas has a lot of water systems in the county, but the county rules require a water availability study. HGCD has a document used internally, deliverable minimum standard based on sq. ft./acres on a lot. and permitted amounts.

Hastings also said that he was not sure how the county can write an exemption.

“We need to understand when a water availability study is done. ... It takes more than one hole, and depends on how many studies are done. They are site-specific,” he said.

Hastings also added that one reason the county adopted model subdivision regulations was “to ensure we don’t create more colonias in the area.”

Another concern is that water levels keep changing over the years, and there is no assurance of how much water will remain anywhere in 30 years, because the standards also keep changing.

Kelly suggested that the court consult with its legal counsel Charles Kimbrough on water issues and on the recommendations.

“We should judge on a case by case basis,” he added, “and get clarification from counsel.”

Other business

•    Kerr County Auditor Tanya Shelton received the okay to surplus a number of chairs from the maintenance department;

•    Road and Bridge Department updated the court on the status of trading in older equipment toward the purchase of new equipment;

•    The court agreed to allow KPUB to run a guy wire from Ingram ISD to Kerr County property, per a request by Ingram ISD.

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