Aug. 25 update: Winter storm bills still being tacked on

Kerrville gets hit with bill to cover emergencies in a power outage

The fallout of the winter storm disaster of 2021 was felt, once again, Tuesday night as the city of Kerrville faced a nearly $1 million bill to bolster its emergency electrical capacity.

And, by the way, it's an unfunded mandate from the state of Texas. The city will spend $858,000 to pay for the equipment.

City Manager E.A. Hoppe explained this was a one-time expense but requiring the city to issue debt.


"This will help provide a financial resource for us to purchase electrical equipment so we may respond within an emergency situation like we did in February," Hoppe said.

Senate Bill 3, signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in June, mandates that city-owned water providers meet emergency preparedness standards outlined in the legislation in the wake of February's winter storm.

The payment drew a response from Mayor Bill Blackburn, who called it an unfair expense due to the state's overall unpreparedness to handle the storm.

While the city of Kerrville was wrestling with the expenses related to the winter storm, Abbott was crowing about the power grid held up during summer stress.

See @GregAbbott_TX's post on Twitter.


One of the big winners on Tuesday night was George Eychner, who has spearheaded the effort to convert Tranquility Island into a holiday light show. The City Council, which includes Eychner's wife, Judy, unanimously agreed to spend $114,000 to run power to the island in Louise Hays Park.

George Eychner has led the non-profit and voluntary effort to bring back Christmas lighting across the city as part of the Kerrville Christmas Lighting Corp. His first work was hanging lighted ornaments along Sidney Baker Highway. Eychner told The Lead he's working to bring Kerrville on par with Fredericksburg, Marble Falls and Burnet. No word if Eychner is ambitious enough to take on Johnson City.

The council also agreed to pay more than $300,000 to replace a stairway from the Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library to the island. The existing wooden stairway was heavily damaged during the winter storm.


In our story Tuesday about the tax rate, we mistakenly reported the tax rate. The city's effective property tax rate is going down, but it's still 4.6% higher than the no-new revenue rate. The new tax rate is 51 cents per $100 of assessed value and represents a decrease versus the previous year. However, since assessed values went up, many residents will see their property taxes rise.


For all of the data lovers out there, the U.S. Census released a fascinating tool on Wednesday to visualize Texas' growth over the last decade. Texas leads the way nationally in development with 15% growth over the last decade, but how we got there is a significant journey. Here's a link to check out the site for yourself:


The folks at Kerrville Pets Alive raised concerns about the number of pets surrendered by owners to Kerr County Animal Services in recent days.

Karen Guerriero, the non-profit's president, said there is an uptick in surrenders of dogs and cats. She connects part of the problem to people returning to school and work.

"It's a real concern, and it could be related to the pandemic," Guerriero said.

Owners surrendered at least 15 dogs and cats since Aug. 15. Guerriero said KPA is working with KCAS to get as many of the animals adopted as possible. If you're interested in helping reach out to KCAS here:

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