Monthly Archives: October 2019

EIC Meeting – 10/28/19 – KU Podcast Episode 2

This episode brings you the full audio from Monday, October 28’s Economic Improvement Corporation (EIC) meeting at City Hall.

Please subscribe to our podcast to get all of the updates pushed to your device automatically! We’ll soon be on Apple Podcasts, too.

City Council Meeting – 10/22/19 – KU Podcast Episode 1

Our very first episode of the Kerrville United Podcast is the most recent Kerrville City Council meeting from October 22, 2019. We will be bringing you meeting audio quite often, as that was actually the first impetus for this podcast. Some of us prefer to listen to meetings while driving or commuting, and this podcast format makes it even easier to consume meetings this way.

Please subscribe and let us know your feedback about this brand new podcast from Kerrville United. Thanks!

Introduction to Kerrville United Podcast – Episode 00

By popular demand, we have a new experiment at Kerrville United… Podcasting. In the coming weeks, we’ll bring you news, commentary, meeting audio, and interviews. Please stay tuned for more information, and please subscribe to us wherever you get your podcasts!

EIC approves funds for airport improvements

On Monday, Kerrville’s Economic Improvement Corporation (EIC) approved a funding agreement between the EIC and the City of Kerrville to provide funds for several improvements to the jointly-owned Kerrville/Kerr County Airport (KERV), including site work for the eventual construction of three box hangers, and renovations to the airport’s “Horseshoe” building.

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Commissioners set public meeting to discuss KCAS policies

During the October 28 meeting of the Kerr County Commissioners Court, the court set the date, time, and location for a public workshop to discuss Kerr County Animal Services policies and procedures. The meeting will be held on Monday, November 18, at 6:00 PM at the Hill Country Youth Events Center (ag barn). The event will be open to the public, and the public will be allowed to speak to commissioners about this matter.

Commissioners should embrace 21st century technology to increase transparency, engage citizens

Part of the controversy surrounding the recent Animal Services policy change has to do with whether or not the Kerr County Commissioners made decisions behind closed doors in executive session, and whether or not it was appropriate to discuss those types of policy changes in secret. Commissioners have repeatedly denied that any action was taken behind closed doors, and they insist that no decisions were made about the policies in executive session.

Here’s the problem we face at the moment… There is no way to verify what is and isn’t true regarding their insistence that everything was done properly. Since the county does not record their meetings in audio or video format, only those that were present can currently say what happened, what didn’t happen, what was in executive session, and what was in open session. The court’s minutes are generally only released several weeks or more after the meetings take place, giving the citizens no way to know exactly what transpired. This is a major problem when we all try to react to, and follow, current issues and events.

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Resources to watch during inclement weather

With strong thunderstorms in the forecast for Kerr County tonight, here are some resources that we will be watching.

Weather Updates via Facebook

Be sure and follow the Austin-San Antonio region of the US National Weather Service. They provide in-depth maps and forecasts, such as these below. I set my phone to alert me when this office posts on social media.

Wind and Weather Visualization

The best weather visualization available on a desktop computer is from Windy.com. Check out the wind graphic at 5:45 PM, which clearly shows where the front is located — right in Kerrville!

Weather Radio

If you have one, tune to 162.450 on your weather radio for up-to-the-minute warnings, forecasts, and information about severe weather.

KPUB Outage Map

With winds in the 20-30 MPH range tonight, there are bound to be some power outages caused by downed trees and lines. Keep an eye on the KPUB Outage Map to see where those outages are occurring.

Turnout on the rise compared to previous Texas Constitutional Amendment Election

Elections are underway in Kerr County and around the state for the 2019 Texas Constitutional Amendment Elections. Early voting began on Monday and continues through November 1. See image below for location and hours of early voting.

Kerrville voters also have the opportunity to vote on several proposed amendments to the City Charter, and that local election may be helping to boost turnout this year.

After three full days of early voting (Monday through Wednesday) Kerr County Elections officials have recorded a total of 386 in-person voters for the City Charter Amendment Election. For the 2017 constitutional amendment election, which included voters throughout Kerr County and not just in the City of Kerrville, only 96 votes had been cast after three days of early voting.

(These totals do not include mail-in ballots.)

Turnout of 2017 Texas Constitutional Election versus 2019 City Charter/Texas Constitutional Election (citywide only)

Although it’s still very early, the trend is encouraging. However, when compared to voter turnout in the 2019 Citywide election for two council seats, the totals are less impressive. After three days of early voting in the May elections, voter turnout numbered 1,053.

Take note of those early voting dates and times (above) and encourage your friends and family to visit the polls!

References

All data used in this article was obtained from the Kerr County Elections Department.

Catch up on Animal Shelter articles and documents

Lots of news over the past week regarding the shelter. Here are the relevant articles and documents, from oldest to newest. Part of our mission here at KU is to organize relevant links and documents so that the public can easily find them and become better informed. But Kerrville United cannot complete its mission without the work of local newspapers. Please support the Kerrville Daily Times and the Hill Country Community Journal!

October 15

Commissioners Court convenes and votes to change hours and policies. Here’s the agenda for that meeting. No recordings are made of the meetings, and the minutes won’t be publicly available for several weeks.

October 16

County issues press release announcing changes. Images of press release are below.

Kerrville United article titled, “Commissioners reduce Animal Shelter hours, eliminate Saturdays from schedule.”

October 17

Kerrville Daily Times news article titled, “Change in animal shelter hours leads to questions

October 19

Kerrville Daily Times editorial titled, “Missing logic in shelter decision

October 20

Kerr County updates its original Facebook post, adding…

UPDATE: For those of you who asked for the numbers to support the Saturday closure of the county-owned and operated shelter and for those who wanted to know what the Kerr County commissioners based their decision on … here is that information:
Of the 1,000 dogs and cats adopted from the Kerr County Animal Services facility from Jan. 1 to Oct. 1 of this year, there were 33 adopted on Saturdays. Another 27 animals went out on the shelter’s Family Fit program on Saturdays, but a large number of those pets were returned for various reasons. So, between 4-5% of the total pet adoptions for 2019 were on Saturdays.
Additionally, on Saturdays for the same time period, there were 35 pet surrenders by owners who could no longer or who were no longer willing to take care of them. This number nearly offsets the number of Saturday adoption.
Also, the number of lost pets reclaimed by their rightful owners on Saturdays was 15. That is a slight percentage out of the total of 267 reclaimed pets this year.
According to commissioners, when the court approved being open on Saturdays it was for a trial period, and their intention was to do an evaluation after sufficient time had passed. The trial was done for a year, and the results do not justify continuing, they said.
As to the plan to have volunteers sign up in advance, county officials said that this will limit the number of volunteers in the facility at any one point in time, which is prudent so operations can continue to be efficient. This process will insure the safety of pets and volunteers alike. The other neighboring animal control facilities have the same procedure in place, and they have reported that it works well.
As a final point, commissioners stated that pet adoption is not a requirement of state law for the local animal control facility. (Rabies control and public safety IS a state-mandated service.)
Generally, communities have nonprofit organizations that take the pets from an animal control operation such as the county’s and then they handle the pet adoptions. In Kerr County, there are two facilities that assist KCAS, the Freeman-Fritts Animal Shelter and the Kathleen C. Cailloux Humane Society of Kerrville.
Both have helped a great deal, but are not able to take all of the pets. County leaders stated that what KCAS needs is a local, nonprofit organization to work with to help house and adopt pets. This idea has been brought up numerous times to the local pet advocacy groups and, hopefully, this will take place in the future.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/kerrcountytexas/posts/669539976888983

October 21

Kerr County Commissioners hold special meeting, but shelter advocates were not allowed to speak because the matter was not posted on the agenda.

Kerr County issues new press release defending the new policies. Images pictured below.

Kerrville United opinion article titled, “Commissioners botched the rollout of new Animal Shelter policies.”

October 22

Kerrville Daily Times article titled, “County says facts drove decision on shelter hours.”

Kerr County adds on their Facebook page…

Commissioners on Monday, Oct. 21, released information — statistics and other variables — they analyzed before unanimously deciding last week to make changes to the Kerr County Animal Services’ facility schedule, including closing its two-hour shifts on Saturdays.
They said they hope this information will provide a bigger picture and explain why they made the decision they did.
Knowing that this is an issue many are passionate about in the community, commissioners on Monday also mentioned the possibility that they will host a special meeting soon so citizens can provide input. It was said that such a meeting will be held on a weeknight and possibly at the Hill County Youth Event Center, in order to accommodate working individuals and an anticipated crowd, respectively.
If more news develops on a meeting focusing on the county-owned and operated shelter, we will post the details here, as well as distribute the information to local media.
To be sure to stay up-to-date on county news as it happens, please be sure to become a follower by hitting the “Like” button under our page’s cover photo.

https://www.facebook.com/kerrcountytexas/

October 23

Article appearing in Kerrville Daily Times titled, “County wants to see nonprofit aid animal adoptions.”

Editorial appearing in Kerrville Daily Times titled, “Animals, fiscal responsibility prove to be a challenging mix.”

Article appearing in Hill Country Community Journal titled, “Shelter hours reduction prompts group opposition.”

Public meeting of the Kerr County Animal Services Advisory Board. The meeting will took place at 1 PM on October 23 at the Kerr County Courthouse. The agenda is posted below.

October 24

Article appearing in Kerrville Daily Times titled, “Elephant in the room: Questions regarding new policies vex animal services committee.”