Kerrville City Council approved funds at their March 23 regular meeting for added holiday lighting for Tranquility Island; and for renovations and improvements to the Doyle Center; and gave initial information about a “Downtown Revitalization Program” as they laid the groundwork for a “community development block grant” application for that work.

Christmas Lighting Corp.

Council approved a funding agreement between the city, its EIC, and the Kerrville Christmas Lighting Corporation for $100,000 for electrical infrastructure on Tranquility Island. The improvements will allow for additional trees to be lit with LED “up-lights” in addition to ground pedestals and features.

The island portion between the pedestrian bridge and the Francisco Lemos bridge is the area planned for this added lighting.

This added lighting is expected to cost a total of $200,000, according to the agenda; and the other half is intended to be raised in private donations from Kerrville citizens and businesses. The private donations must be raised first; then the EIC’s matching grant funds will be allocated. After that, the city will take ownership of the funds and oversee the project management.

Texas Community Development Block Grant application

Council passed a resolution adopting a public access plan for use during construction of “public infrastructure projects funded through the Texas Community Development Block Grant – Downtown Revitalization Program.”

City officials said they are planning to submit a grant application for funding for that downtown revitalization, and this resolution is part of that application. If the funding is granted, the city also is required to provide matched funding of $52,500.

The packet said the bulk of the work to be done in this project will cross the primary entry to the stores fronting Water Street between Clay and Earl Garrett.

So they have created a plan for scheduling work hours, suspending work during peak shopping seasons and hours, scheduling “pavement pours” with advance notification and working with property-owners in this area, and then have a post-construction public meeting on this plan.

Amendment, EIC and Doyle School agreement

This agreement dates from April 2020 for $500,000 to help pay for more than $1 million in improvements to the Doyle Center on Paschal Avenue. The agenda said as further design have been refined and project bidding occurred, the projected cost for Phase I is more than anticipated. So the Doyle Center nonprofit has asked for an added $150,000 grant funding.

The Economic Improvement Corporation approved the proposed contract amendment in a March 2 meeting; and council approved it at this March 23 meeting.

Ordinances, second reading

Council passed on second and final reading an ordinance abandoning an unimproved portion of a dedicated street that intersects with Meadowview Lane; and a second ordinance abandoning a dedicated alleyway across Elm Street in the 600 block.

New Public Health Task Force

Council also passed a resolution unanimously that will create a Public Health Task Force as an ad hoc board, which will consider issues relating to public health. The mayor was also authorized to appoint the members of the new task force.

Presentations

Three proclamations were presented and approved by council, one for March 2021 as “American Red Cross Month;” the second naming this March as the “19th Annual March for Meals” observance; and the third proclaiming April 2021 as “Don’t Mess with Texas Month.”

Two other awards also were presented at the start of the meeting, to the Kerrville Police Department “Officer of the Year” and to the Fire Department “Person of the Year” for officer, firefighter and EMS.

“American Red Cross Month” was proclaimed by Mayor Blackburn as a special time to recognize and thank volunteers who reach out to help their neighbors when they are in need. Stephanie Miller from the ARC board represented that organization at the meeting.

Brenda Thompson, executive director of the local Dietert Center represented the senior center and their ongoing Meals on Wheels program to receive the proclamation from Blackburn.

A trio of representatives from the city accepted the proclamation encouraging residents to prevent litter and work on waste reduction. They said the city “adopted” a two-mile section of Loop 98 that is cleaned four times per year, and the next cleanup is scheduled April 11.

Kerrville Police Chief Chris McCall presented KPD Officer Jacob Trevino as the 2021 “Officer of the Year,” nominated by his supervisor for his positive attitude, everyday work ethic and dedication to the department. Trevino has been with the department since 2017; and is currently assigned as a Field Training Officer in the Patrol Division.

Fire Chief Eric Maloney announced Casey Goodman as “Firefighter of the Year,” a firefighter here since November 2012. “Officer of the Year” is Lt. Jaran Floyd, a paramedic in addition to several other credentials and on the KFD force since 2005. And Ryan Michel was named EMS Person of the Year for 2021. Michel was hired as a firefighter in 2012 and recently assigned as A-Shift’s Lead Paramedic.

In other business, council got a report from Maloney on the city’s ongoing preparedness and response to COVID-19, and the city’s disaster declaration of a public health emergency remains in effect.

They also approved an amendment of the economic grant agreement with James Avery Craftsman, Inc., related to the agreements listed numbers of expected employee numbers between 2017 and 2021.

The agreed number for last year was 306 and for this year, 359; and Avery officials said due to market conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic, they missed their employment target at the end of 2020. The present agreement ends this year, and Avery’s asked to extend it to 2024 with added employees each year.

Financial report

The financial report included property tax revenues listed as slightly lower than budget due to Mooney delinquencies and an increased number of half-pay requests. And Sales Tax was listed as “continued strong performance led by regional sales, (especially home improvement),” plus online sales and manufacturing.

February 2021 reported 10 percent higher revenues than February 2019; and March 2021 as 19 percent higher than that month the year before.

Some other revenues were listed as down including from Kerrville Schreiner Park, Municipal Court and EMS’ non-emergency transports. Impacts from the winter storm were listed as dollar figures in some sections (payroll, for instance), but not in others (hotel occupancy tax funds).

The specific winter storm update listed 63 damage claims so far, and a preliminary estimate of more than $200,000 in damages. The city’s expected insurance reimbursement is expected in two payments, with the first one in the next 90 days.

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