Financial Outlook 2017

This week’s video is an in-depth look at the city’s finances, including revenues, expenses, assets, and debt. Have you ever wondered how the city brings in revenue? How much it costs to provide police and fire protection? Or water and sewer services? How much debt does the city actually have? This is the video for you. We explore the city’s finances without insider jargon.

In addition to the video, some of our members have also authored a white paper with additional information and discussion about finances. See the document below the video. This is the first in a series of white papers that will provide in-depth discussion and facts about the issues facing our community.

 

Financial Review City of Kerrville 2017 by Aaron Yates on Scribd

Turmoil on EIC

The city council voted last week to terminate a volunteer EIC board member for daring to disagree with the council majority. Mr. Wilson, along with a majority of EIC members, regularly voted against Mr. Baroody’s vote. Baroody holds a place on EIC as well as Place 2 of City Council, having run unopposed in 2017. According to Baroody, James Wilson threatened conflict with council. However, Mr. Wilson said repeatedly that he “anticipates” conflict — not a threat.

Merriam-Webster defines “anticipate” to mean: “to give advance thought, discussion, or treatment to” a matter. Mr. Wilson certainly had reason to suspect a future conflict with council, which, at the time, was busy attempting to terminate the contract with City Attorney Mike Hayes.

Learn more by viewing our most recent video.

City Council Voting Records

Do you remember how the votes went down this year? All 115 of them since May? Don’t worry, you don’t have to. We have recorded the votes from each council member going back to the inauguration of the newest council members in May 2017. This page will be updated as often as possible.

City Council Recap for December 12, 2017

The Kerrville City Council held a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday evening, December 12, 2017, in council chambers at Kerrville City Hall. The meeting was quite eventful, yet at least one action was quite concerning. Here is a brief recap of the events.

Debt Refinancing

The City refinanced over $17 million of General Obligation and Revenue Bonds last week. The purpose of the refinancing was to restructure the current debt service to enable financing of two major infrastructure projects: the Legion sewer lift station and the water system enhancement to bring the TTHM levels within mandated limits.

This action coupled with the restructuring of the debt to KPUB, which allows the funding of these upgrades within the Council guidelines that stipulate no more that 35% of water & sewer revenues can be used for debt service. Specifics of the refinancing are available online. Here are the critical elements of the refinancing:

  • Gross savings by refinancing the $17.2 M is $1.17 M with a net present value savings of $1.1 M
  • The average coupon interest rate is 2.472 %.
  • The City was able to retain a high AA rating and the rating agency, Standard and Poor’s, offered exceptionally positive words regarding the current financial state of the city as well as its management of financial matters.
  • S&P offered comments such as, “Very strong management with strong financial policies and practices..”, “ Strong debt and contingent liability position…” This is counter to some who claim that the City’s finances are reckless and in a very onerous position. The professionals speak highly of Kerrville history of financial management!

O’Reilly Auto Parts CUP Denied

O’Reilly Auto Parts Corporation had requested a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for an acre of land bordering the Guadalupe River and adjacent to Starbucks on Junction Highway. The Planning & Zoning Commission had previously approved their request, with some additional stipulations added.

Discussions during the council meeting centered on the proposed size of the building — over 7,000 square feet — and the impact upon the river corridor. Speakers encouraged the Council to deny the request because of the negative impact upon the river views as well as overall vision for the future of the river front. After considerable discussion, the council voted 5-0 to deny the request. According to O’Reilly’s representatives, it’s unlikely they will proceed with any construction project on this site, since they’d now be limited to only 3,000 square feet.

Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Fees Reduced

The Council voted 5-0 to correct an anomaly in the Alcoholic Beverages Ordinance which imposed a $1,500 licensing fee upon brewing sites, such as Pint & Plow, as compared to the licensing fee of a restaurant of only $150. A quick agreement was obtained to reduce brewpubs fees to $150.

Termination of EIC Member James Wilson

There were two agenda items related to the Economic Improvement Corporation (EIC). First, the EIC requested the council increase their budget by $83,300 to provide potential funding for outside legal services. After a bit of wrangling, the council voted 5-0 to authorize the budget modifications.

Emotions ran hot on the next EIC item regarding the intention to essentially fire a volunteer EIC Board member, Mr. Jim Wilson. George Baroody was the lead Council member in proposing that Mr. Wilson’s term be terminated immediately. In Mr. Baroody’s words , “Mr. Wilson has made comments which disparage the Kerrville City Council!”

Mr. Ferguson questioned the suggestion and thought removing Wilson would be inappropriate. Mrs. Summerlin had a significantly different view from Baroody’s, as well. She insisted that no threats to sue had been made, nor were any comments made by Mr. Wilson which warranted removal, especially mid-term with his term up for renewal in June 2018.

Emotions ran hot as the termination was approved. Mrs. Summerlin called the move undemocratic and a scary precedent. Why would anyone volunteer to serve on the city commissions or boards if their service is contingent upon their complete agreement with the Council majority, asked Summerlin.

Baroody continually asserted that this situation was different and created an unhealthy operating condition on the EIC Board. After a series of exchanges among Baroody, White and Summerlin, the vote to remove Wilson was 3-2, with White, Baroody, and Voelkel in favor, and Summerlin and Ferguson opposed. Applications will be accepted for candidates wishing to fill the remainder of the term held by Wilson.

In the aftermath of this action, another EIC member resigned in protest. Mr. Paul Stafford submitted his resignation on Thursday, adding his name to the list of EIC members who no longer serve our community because of the actions of this council. Delayne Sigerman was removed in May 2017, and now James Wilson and Paul Stafford have also vacated their chairs after serving the city with distinction in these volunteer posts.

Upcoming City Council Meeting on Tuesday, December 12

The Kerrville City Council will hold a regular meeting at 6 PM on Tuesday night, and a few agenda items have piqued our interest.

CUP for O’Reily Auto Parts on the River

The council will hold a public hearing and consider a resolution allowing for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for about an acre of land next to Starbucks. The owners want to build a new O’Reily’s auto parts store — their second location in Kerrville.

Kerrville has often been criticized for squandering opportunities along its greatest asset — the Guadalupe River. Is granting a CUP for an auto parts store along the river a good idea for Kerrville? The council will wrestle with that decision on Tuesday night.

EIC Board Appointments

The agenda item states: “Review and possible action concerning the Economic Improvement Corporation board appointments.” This caught our eye because there are no members that are nearing the end of their term, as far as we know. Current EIC members include:

  • Kenneth Early, President
  • Sheri Patillo, Vice President
  • George Baroody, Council Place 2
  • Gary Cooper
  • James Wilson
  • Robert Naman

This council appointed Gary Cooper and Robert Naman back in May of 2017. Council and the EIC have faced off on several issues this year, including the budget for the KEDC and a discussion about the legal representation of the EIC during a conflict with the council.

Council may adjourn into executive session to discuss these matters, as the agenda foreshadows.

Other Board Appointments

Council will also consider appointments to the Food Service Advisory Board and the Planning and Zoning Commission.

City Manager Performance Review

Also in executive session, the council will conduct a performance review of City Manager Mark McDaniel.

All of these matters and more will be on the agenda for this Tuesday night. A copy of the agenda is available at the following link:

http://kerrvilletx.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2837

How to vote in the City of Kerrville Election

Did you know that in the last city election, 75.8% of the voters were between the ages of 60 and 89?

Did you know that only about 14% of registered voters actually cast a ballot in the last city election?

This means that only a small segment of the community is controlling who gets to make decisions that affect all of us on a daily basis. The most important way you can make Kerrville a better place to live, work, and play, is to make sure your voice is heard in EVERY local election.


Check your voter registration status

Using this link, you can check to make sure your registration is current and accurate. Login using either your voter ID number, driver’s license number, or name and date of birth.

https://teamrv-mvp.sos.texas.gov/MVP/mvp.do

The deadline to register for the next city council election is April 5, 2018!


Register to vote

You can register online or in person. For in-person registration, visit the tax office at the Kerr County Courthouse, 700 Main Street, Suite 124.

Register Online: https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/vrapp/index.asp


Get informed

Our website (and Facebook page) should help you keep informed on several issues pertaining to the City of Kerrville, but also consider reading the Kerrville Daily Times and the Hill Country Community Journal to get a variety of sources on local issues.

Please consider joining our email newsletter to receive important updates on city issues and events.

The City of Kerrville also has its own YouTube page with full recordings of most important meetings of City Council, EIC, P&Z, and other city boards. Check it out to get an in-depth look at your city government!

For other ballot measures, check out the League of Women Voters. They offer free voting guides for state and national elections.


VOTE!

Finally, get out there and vote! The City of Kerrville election is scheduled for May 5, 2018. Early voting will be from April 23 to May 1. All voting takes place at the Cailloux Theater at 910 Main St, Kerrville, TX 78028.

City Council Recap for November 14, 2017

CITY ATTORNEY OFFERED A REVISED CONTRACT

After a 3 hour executive session, which was punctuated by a revolving door of City officials and outside attorney being called in and sent out, the Council voted 4-1 to offer City Attorney Mike Hayes a revised contract. (Details of this contract will be furnished soon). Mayor Bonnie White was the lone dissenter. Her clear angry demeanor might characterize the lengthy executive session!

DEBT REFINANCING

The City’s outside financial advisor advised the Council that anticipated changes in the federal laws governing early refinancing of bonded indebtedness (normally effected to capture benefits of lower interest rates) necessitates Kerrville fast track refinancing of up to $20M of current debt. Savings net of refinancing costs is estimated to be over $600,00. Also this refinancing will restructure the debt repayment to facilitate addressing of other near term infrastructure needs. After deliberation the Council voted 5-0 to move forward with the restructuring.

RIVER TRAIL COMPLETION

The Council reviewed bids to complete the River Trail project. This completes the final segment of the trail and provides associated parking and other amenities. The funds to complete this quality of life project have been tagged from City 4B funds. The accepted bid was 13% below the projected costs. This project should commence soon.

CITY/COUNTY AGREEMENT ON LIBRARY AND ANIMAL CONTROL SERVICES

After a lengthy period of disagreement, the two local governmental agencies agreed to reopen the City library for free use by Kerr County residents living outside the City and for the County to assume full responsibility for animal control throughout the County. The agreement will be reviewed in March 2018 to ensure both entities are in support of continuing the agreement or are adjustments needed

TTHM REMOVAL

A study of how to achieve mandated level of TTHM was received and reviewed by the Council. The City has attempted to achieve compliance through numerous changes in the
Potable water system design but it was determined a more significant changed or addition was required. The Council instructed the staff to move forward with design and implementation of the Granulate Activated Charcoal technique with the anticipated capital costs exceeding $4M and annual operating costs over $400,000.

 

Article by Glenn Andrew
Video by Aaron Yates

Sports Complex Fever Broken in November Bond Elections

Although Kerr County’s voter turnout was incredibly low, thanks in part to no other matters on the ballot other than Texas Constitutional amendment propositions, other nearby communities had some important local matters to address.

I found two elections that I think are useful for comparison to one of our local projects, the Holdsworth Drive Athletic Complex. Of course, our athletic complex, which is set to open this spring, was funded without ad valorem tax increases. Our complex was funded by a donation of $1.5 million in land and $3+ million in cash from the Cailloux Foundation, and $9 million from the Kerrville Economic Improvement Corporation (EIC) via 4b sales tax revenue. So Kerrville was not asked to raise taxes in order to pay for the soon-to-open complex — we were able to create a world class facility for our youth without asking taxpayers to foot the extra bill.

However, taxpayers in Gillespie and Val Verde Counties had to make a decision… Would they abide a slight tax increase to provide much needed athletic facilities for the area youth? Continue reading

Lowest voter turnout in at least 12 years for November 2017 Election

The 2017 Constitutional Amendment Election was held on Tuesday, November 7, and only 4.9% of registered Kerr County voters cast a ballot. This is the lowest county-wide turnout for a November election in at least the past 12 years. Constitutional elections are held every two years, and in 2011, and we had a turnout of 8.64%, which was the previous low — about 3.5 points higher than today’s turnout.

Absentee, early, and election day voting options were offered. About 5% voted by mail, 34% voted early, and 61% voted on election day. Four polling places were open — one for each precinct.

On the ballot were seven propositions to amend the Texas Constitution, and are discussed in great detail in this Voter’s Guide provided by the League of Women Voters.

Kerr County voters said “Yes” to all but two of the seven proposed amendments. Numbers 5 and 7 failed to receive a majority of support by our county’s voters.

Number 5 was a constitutional amendment on professional sports team charitable foundations
conducting charitable raffles. Proposition 5 would amend Article 3, Section 47(d-1) of the Texas Constitution, enabling certain professional sports team charitable foundations to conduct charitable raffles.

This measure failed in Kerr County by 51.87% to 48.13%.

Number 7 was a constitutional amendment relating to legislative authority to permit credit unions and other financial institutions to award prizes by lot to promote savings. Proposition 7 would amend the constitution to allow the legislature to authorize credit unions or other financial institutions to conduct promotional activities that can award a prize to one or more of the institution’s depositors selected by lot to encourage savings.

Kerr County voters said “No” by a margin of 50.18% to 49.82%.

The other propositions garnered wide majority support “For” the measures.

The statewide turnout ended up coming in at around 5.7%.

Statewide election night returns: https://enrpages.sos.state.tx.us/public/nov07_320_state.htm

Article by Aaron Yates

Editor’s Note: This post has been edited several times to update the turnout numbers and correct a statement about previous Constitutional Amendment Elections.

Special meeting to discuss Mike Hayes contract

City Council has called a special meeting for Friday, October 20, at 2:00 PM in council chambers at city hall to:

Deliberate the employment, evaluation, and contract of the City Attorney.

The meeting agenda includes language to allow the council to adjourn into executive session, which would be closed to public viewing. However, the public is allowed to attend the open portion of the meeting, which includes voting on any action that was discussed during the executive session.

Some social media viewers have already criticized the scheduling of the meeting during a workday, which precludes much of the public from being able to attend and support Mr. Hayes.

At this time we don’t know if this meeting will bring resolution to this matter, or if it will just be an additional discussion or negotiation with Mr. Hayes. We will bring you the latest news as soon as we have it — most likely on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning.