Sheriff Honored, County Tax Rate Fixed |
Kerr County Commissioners hosted an awards show for Sheriff Larry Leitha at their regular meeting on September 13; and approved the Kerr County tax rate for fiscal 22; a “Voter Registration Day” on September 28; and the “Airport Race Wars 2” event on October 23.
Sheriff Leitha Award
At the meeting, a national first place award from the Military Order of World Wars was presented to Kerr County Sheriff, Larry Leitha, for “performing outstanding duty in accordance with the highest traditions of public service.”
Norman Wells of Hill Country Chapter of Kerrville, MOWW presented the award, saying the local nominated him for the Outstanding Individual Law and Order Award; and his nomination took first place at the MOWW national convention in August.
Wells’ appointment was for Leitha’s leadership at the KCSO from February 11-19, 2021, “when Kerr County and much of Texas experienced record-breaking extremely cold temperatures, significant accumulation of ice and snow / sleet and the related disruptions to public services, transport and communication.
Wells’ account stated that Leitha had only been on the job for six weeks, yet handled the emergency “with great skill, superb judgment and an exceptional allocation of resources …”
The nomination noted the fallen power lines blocking State Highway 16N; use Facebook posts to educate the public; help in traffic accidents on Interstate 10, then help DPS soldiers close that freeway; sheriff’s officers camped at the office for almost a week despite a broken water line; organize food for detainees when regular delivery was not possible, and diesel fuel to run generators; use personal four-wheel drive vehicles to conduct “welfare checks” at residences and deliver firewood in some cases.
Leitha thanked Wells and MOWW for this honor; and said retired Sheriff Rusty Hieholzer had informed him that the department had good people and needed to take care of them. Leitha said the “right group” included volunteer police and fire departments “in a full team effort”.
He also said he had since purchased sets of “snow chains” after a committee meeting to plan ahead.
Fixed tax rates
The commissioners offered a public hearing on the proposed county tax rate, and no one asked to speak. Then they voted unanimously in individual “record votes” to approve a county tax rate of $ 0.4542 per $ 100 of assessment. Of that total rate, the largest portion – $ 0.3948 per $ 100 assessment – goes to the Maintenance and Operations portion of the County’s new budget as of October 1.
Small amounts go to the Debt Service Interest and Sinking Fund and side roads.
They also proposed a public hearing and then passed the 2021 tax rate for the Lake Ingram Estates Road district. This has been set at $ 0.1521 per $ 100 of assessment for residents of that specific district. All funds go to their I&S account for roads.
National voter registration day
County Election Chief and Tax Collector Bob Reeves got unanimous approval from commissioners on a resolution naming Tuesday, September 28, “National Voter Registration Day.”
County Judge Robert Kelly agreed under that vote to sign the official resolution.
Track closure for races at the airport
Airport Manager Mary Rohrer of Kerrville-Kerr County Airport has obtained Commissioner’s Tribunal approval to sign a “Temporary Closure for Special Non-Aviation Event Request” for “Airport Race Wars 2.”
This event is scheduled for October 23 at the airport. Rohrer said this new official request from the Texas Department of Transportation / Aviation was approved by its airport board in late August. Once the permissions are provided by the County and Town of Kerrville, the request will be sent to TxDOT.
Proclamation, “Night Sky Month”
Kevin Russells, representing Bill Rector, called on Commissioners to proclaim October as “Hill Country Night Sky Month”. He cited the adverse effects of light pollution and asked the court to support the benefits of managed lighting for the night sky.
He called their request an “educational proclamation” and invited members of the court to a private party on October 6 at Hill Country at an observatory. Their agenda request also indicated that U Bar U Dark Sky Park and Observatory is the only Dark Sky Park on private land certified by the International Dark Sky Association in the United States.
The rector is president of the Kerr County Night Sky Friends.
The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution.
Hazardous waste collection event
Commissioners unanimously approved a motion to partner with the City of Kerrville for a “Household Hazardous Waste Event” to be held at the Hill Country Youth Event Center on Saturday October 23.
The time has not yet been set, but it will likely be between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., like last year, according to Commissioner Don Harris.
It was noted that this was the same date as the Airport Race Wars 2 at the local airport.
Donation of works of art
Artist George Waring got Kelly’s approval to donate a sketch he made of the original Kerr County courthouse, taken from archival documents.
Kelly thanked him for his artistic work and accepted the sketch to display at the courthouse.
Regulations, Historical Commission
Bunny Bond of the Kerr County Historical Commission has asked commissioners to approve the revised statutes for this county-sponsored group. Bond said that at the suggestion of the Texas Historical Commission, the draft was first sent to the county attorney and county auditor for review, and they responded with suggestions.
Bond said a four-person committee has undertaken this long-delayed task, revising it to combine it into a book of goals and procedures, as they work to preserve the county’s 165-year history.
She also obtained permission to use the Kerr County logo on the official documents of this commission.
Mark del Toro, director of Kerr 9-1-1, has requested approval of the FY22 9-1-1 budget, saying it has decreased it slightly from last year as fewer residents of the region now have a landline. And this reduced their possible income.
The Kerr Group is one of 21 emergency communications agencies in Texas, he said; and they called for increased funding statewide, through the state legislature. But they were refused by the governor’s office until the next ordinary session.
• Approval of a county contract with the Divide Volunteer Fire Department;
• I received a report from Kerr County Emergency Management Coordinator William “Dub” Thomas on COVID-19 numbers, including approximately 20,100 available vaccines; Over 43,900 vaccines administered; 21,418 people fully vaccinated; and percentages of vaccination rates for various age groups;
• updated their liaison positions to replace assignments held by former Commissioner Tom Moser and assign them to new Commissioner Beck Gipson; including Veterans Services Officers, 9-1-1, City Fire / EMS, Economic Development, Airport Joint Council and Library Council;
• Approval of a revised fee schedule for the sheriff and agents.