The Lead July 27, 2022: Kerrville gets a look at its future water expenses — it's big

More than $120 million is needed to keep the city's water system current over the next two decades.

Good morning, Kerr County!

One of the last things we do before sending the newsletter out is to check the weather, and as we are writing this, it's still 88 degrees at 10 p.m. Do not expect changes. Through next week, we can expect more of the same, with highs in the mid to high 90s and lows in the 70s.

On today's The Lead Live!

We expect Fitch Estate Sales to be in the house today, but we will miss Rachel Fitch. It seems like everyone has COVID-19 this month, and we'll talk about some of the numbers we're seeing. It's important to keep the official statistics in perspective because they are probably a vast undercount. We will chat with Andrew Gay of Texas Hill Country Advisors about the markets and are we in a recession? Join us at 9 a.m.

Today's newsletter is presented by

The Texas Hill Country is one of the most beautiful places on earth. In this podcast, Hill Country resident Tom Fox visits the people and organizations that make this the most unique area of Texas. Listen to his podcasts here: The Hill Country Podcast


Things to do today!

Markets and Sales

  • Friends of the Library Book Sale — Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library, 1–3 p.m. Information: The details: Looking for a great read? Or better yet, come down and support the work of Friends of the Library. Maybe find a banned book? That sounds like a fun day to us.
  • Kerr County Produce Market Day — The Big Red Barn, 10 a.m., Information: 830-896-7330 The details: Kerr County Produce Market Day (The Big Red Barn). Local Hill Country wholesale warehouse distributor for the finest fruits and vegetables. Open to the public.

Thursday, July 28

Public meetings

  • Kerrville Planning and Zoning — Kerrville City Hall, 6 p.m.


  • An Evening with the Buffalo Soldiers — Doyle School Community Center, 6-8 p.m. Information: The details: Clifton Fifer lectures on the legacy of the famed Buffalo Soldiers, members of the U.S. Army's cavalry units after the Civil War.

Science and Nature

  • Nature Nights — Riverside Nature Center, 6 p.m. Information: 830-257-4837 The details: Artifacts: The Storytellers.

Live music

  • Braden Toomey — Southern Sky Music Cafe, 7 p.m. Information:
  • Open Mic Night — Gravity Check Saloon and Arena, 6-10 p.m. Information:

Quote of the day

A city of Kerrville consultant said Tuesday afternoon that we're now jumping into wastewater discussion. Councilmember Joe Herring said, "we'd rather not jump into wastewater."

Nonprofit week on The Lead Live is Aug. 22-26 and we're almost full!

With the generous support of the Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country, The Lead Live presents Nonprofit Week Aug. 22-26 at Pint and Plow Brewing Co. in Kerrville.

Each nonprofit can spend 20 minutes sharing with the community about their work while soliciting donations. Patrons may give through Facebook Stars, or stop by Pint and Plow with a donation during the show. All the money raised in a segment will return to the nonprofit.

Each show (Monday-Friday) is three hours, from 8-11 a.m., with six 20-minutes segments available each day!

If you're interested, please fill out this form:

For questions, please email to reserve your place.

Uh … that's going to be expensive!

The Kerrville City Council got a look at what it's going to cost to improve water infrastructure in the coming years, and it's not going to be cheap.

The Kerrville City Council got the estimated price tag for what it will cost to keep its water and wastewater systems updated for the next 20 years — $122 million.

"I have sticker shock," Kerrville City Councilmember Brenda Hughes said. "How are we going to pay for this?"

The Council heard about the proposed costs during a presentation from Freese and Nichols, the city's longtime engineering and project management consultant. The costs anticipate adding more than 4,000 new water and wastewater connections over the next 25 years.

"The city's water system is in good shape," said Ethan Shires, a Freese and Nichols project manager. "But Texas is growing."

In reality, Kerrville needs more than $200 million in water distribution and wastewater collection improvements, but about half of that developers cover.

"We're trying to absorb this," Mayor Judy Eychner said of the nearly 90-minute presentation ahead of Tuesday's regular meeting.

More than half of Kerrville's major expenses are two projects — a considerable pipeline replacement and collecting wastewater from the city of Ingram, one of the city's largest customers. Ingram's sewer system upgrade could cost $19 million, while the pipeline replacements could top $50 million.

The presentation was an update of the city water master plan — last updated in 2014.

Kerrville City Manager E.A. Hoppe said the process of understanding the city's long-term water needs is essential in the face of developers seeking to build in the Hill Country. With that understanding, Kerrville's planners can set rates and fees to accommodate thousands of new connections.

Hoppe said it was essential to begin the work so that future residents, councils and city staff aren't burdened with failing infrastructure.

What this conversation wasn't about was supply. Instead, Public Works Director Stuart Barron and Shires focused on distribution, replacing thousands of feet of aging lines in the years to come — much of it in the city's oldest neighborhoods.

Of course, paying for the long list of projects is going to be something the City Council will have to give a long thought to, and Councilmember Joe Herring questioned how the consultants calculated the numbers. Barron told the Council that city public works staff had confidence in those estimates.

Hoppe told the City Council he wanted to have the water master plan adopted in the next six to eight weeks, allowing city staff to determine financing options. The city still carries considerable debt for water projects, passed to ratepayers. In a previous meeting, the City Council looked at rate increases in the coming fiscal year of about 5%.

The City Council unanimously approves school resource officers

The Kerrville City Council gave enthusiastic approval to add two additional Kerrville Police Department officers to patrol at Kerrville Independent School District elementary school campuses.

Kerrville Police Chief Chris McCall said the school district would help shoulder the expense of the two officers, including salaries and equipment.

City Councilmember Brenda Hughes asked if the department had held active shooter training at district schools, and McCall said more training was planned at KISD campuses.

San Antonio is the top destination for Kerrville's young adults, but staying home is also a powerful draw

For young adults, the exit out of Kerrville is about a four-hour drive — at least, according to U.S. Census Bureau. But at least half of those 16-26 years old were content to stay right here in Kerr County.

The study examined where young adults move to based on race and income factors. The results are not necessarily surprising. About 12% moved to San Antonio, with another 9% heading to Austin.

More than 80% of those who grew up in Kerr County stayed in Texas, many heading away for college or career destinations. Of the 40% who left for other cities in Texas, more than half of those headed to the big cities — San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Houston and Fort Worth. Other top destinations included Corpus Christi, Midland, College Station and San Angelo.

The remaining 12% left the state and headed all over the United States, but the most captivating draw was Los Angeles. However, these out-of-state destinations accounted for a small number in the demographic. Los Angeles was less than one percent (.70%), while Seattle was half of one percent.

In terms of affluence, young adults from the top 20% in household income were more likely to leave Kerr County, about half. The top Texas destinations did not change, but the tug of Los Angeles placed it at the same level as College Station. Booming Nashville also proved to be a draw.

Those in the bottom 20% of household income were more likely to stay in Kerr County, and some of their destinations in Texas were closer to home. For instance, Burnet was among the Top 10 destinations for the demographic. According to the study, 60% of Hispanic young adults were more likely to stay in Kerr County. Hispanic young adults from Kerr County also stayed in Texas — 92%. When Hispanic young adults left Kerr County, they headed to Phoenix, San Diego or Los Angeles.

Black young adults were likely to stay in Texas — more so, than Whites — but 13% left the state. Many across the Midwest and South. Black young adults staying in Texas found themselves in San Antonio and Austin, but also in Victoria, Killeen and Clovis, New Mexico.

Top 5 Texas destinations for all young adults from Kerr County

  1. San Antonio, 12%
  2. Austin, 9%
  3. Houston, 3.4%
  4. Dallas, 2.5%
  5. Fort Worth, 1.4%

Top 5 out-of-state destinations of all young adults from Kerr County

  1. Los Angeles, .7%
  2. Seattle, .45%
  3. San Diego, .42%
  4. Phoenix, .38%
  5. New York, .31%
  6. Denver .30%

And how about young adults coming to Kerrville? That number shows a trend many have noticed — Californians coming to Texas. Considering most Kerrville-area young adults stayed put, about 45% of the area's young adult population came from Texas or other states. The Census does not provide a raw number to see if there is a net migration from Los Angeles to Kerrville. However, 1.1% of all new Kerr County residents came from either Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside or San Bernardino counties in California.

Where are Texas young adults moving to Kerrville from?

  1. San Antonio
  2. Austin
  3. Houston
  4. Dallas
  5. Fort Worth

Where are Texas young adults moving to Kerrville from?

  1. San Antonio
  2. Austin
  3. Houston
  4. Dallas
  5. Fort Worth

Where are out-of-state young adults moving to Kerrville from?

  1. Los Angeles
  2. Sacramento
  3. San Diego
  4. Chicago
  5. Phoenix

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