In a move that surprised no one, a divided Kerr County Commissioner's Court voted 3-2 to end an agreement with the city of Kerrville that exchanges library and animal control services.
The issue? In the words of Commissioners Harley David Belew and Don Harris it was over books that they consider child pornography or books that sexualize children. With scant evidence of that assertion, Commissioner Jonathan Letz joined his fellow commissioners in voting to "renegotiate" the contract with the city. They did give themselves 120 days to renegotiate.
However, the vote came under the objections of Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly, who raised concerns about other interlocal agreements with Kerrville, including a $1.3 million annual contract to provide emergency medical services.
Despite those objections, Kelly faced two hardliners in Belew and Harris about library content. Most of the books questioned by the court during a "Banned Book" week display at the Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library featured LGBTQ+ themes or sexual health. And these books are frequently at the top of efforts in other parts of Texas and the nation that conservative activists challenge.
However, Belew described the books as child pornography. Harris and Letz argued the library contract was not equitable and that the county was required to do more on the animal control side of the deal. Letz emphasized animal control services required by the state would still be in place for Kerrville residents.
Kelly said he understands how some in Kerrville could see the city's support of the passage of Prop. C, a $5 million bond to build a new animal control shelter, as a "bait and switch." Kerrville residents carried the bond, while other parts of the county voted against it.
There were nearly 30 people who signed up to speak, but Kelly only allowed a fraction of that to address the court.