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The Lead June 28, 2022: RAIN! Yes that was moisture; Housing, rentals and plans are on the Kerrville agenda

It wasn't a lot of rain but it certainly felt nice to have a break from the heat — for a bit.

A glorious day for a smidge of rain

Look, we know it wasn't a lot of rain, but we will take it. Monday's thunderstorm was a welcome break in our ongoing drought but was not really that significant. The storm took down some trees, including an old one in the Pint and Plow Brewing Co. parking lot, making a mess of the streets. The moisture broke a month-long drought streak, but the dry conditions should resume. There's still a chance of thunderstorms today — a slight chance.

Tracking the rainfall

Water and Sidney Baker streets faces some minor flooding.

A tree at Pint and Plow Brewing Co. came down during Monday's storm.

A Kerrville Public Utility Board crew works to remove branches from power lines across from the Kerrville Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Monday.

On today's The Lead Live!

Today, it's all about fashion as Tome Boutique owner Natallee Peppitt takes over for a summer-themed fashion show. The Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau's Julie Davis will give us the word on upcoming events.

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Robert Earl Keen names his opening act

The up-and-coming band Flatland Cavalry will be the "surprise act" joining Robert Earl Keen for his mega and final Fourth on the River concert in Louise Hays Park on Monday. The band consists of Cleto Cordero, Reid Dillon, Jonathan Saenz, Jason Albers, Wesley Hall and Adam Gallegos. The group formed in Lubbock, and tours extensively around Texas. Here's a sample:


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This week's Arcadia Live Featured Event

The Band of Heathens

  • The Band of Heathens — Arcadia Live, 7:30 p.m. Information: The details: With their professional lives on hold during the pandemic, The Band of Heathens found a year-long creative workaround. Every Tuesday night, the five-piece group came together via Zoom from their respective homes–from L.A. to Asheville-to host the Good Time Supper Club, a ninety-minute variety program. "It was nice to be able to use music as a connective thread and something that's healing," says guitarist-vocalist Ed Jurdi. Guitarist-vocalist and fellow founding member Gordy Quist agrees. "The show was like a release, where we all connected and forgot about the stuff going on around us. At some point, we decided to bring in guests for an interview, and that turned into 'Hey, let's pre-record a music video of a cover song with each of them.'"

More events today

  • Texas Watercolor Society Annual Exhibit — Hill Country Arts Foundation., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Through June 30. Information: The details: The Hill Country Arts Foundation is hosting the Texas Watercolor Society's 73rd National Exhibit. This exhibit features watercolor pieces by over forty artists from across the United States. In 1949, TWS was founded by Margaret Pace Willson and Amy Freeman Lee with the mission to advance the art of painting in watercolors, and hold annual exhibitions of watercolor paintings. Today, more than 60 years later, TWS continues to promote the high standards set by its founders. Thus, as a national exhibit, TWS proudly takes its place among the elite watercolor organizations in the nation.
  • Heaven's Declare Art Exhibition (Recurring through Saturday) — Museum of Western Art, 10 a.m. Information: The details: Featuring works by renowned artists who celebrate the heavens. The exhibition will feature works by Phil Bob Borman, G. Russell Case, Tim Newton, Laurel Daniel, Linda Glover Gooch, David Griffin, David Grossman, Michael Magrin, Denise LaRue Mahlke, Phil Starke and John Taft.
  • Southwest Gourd Show — Kerrville Arts and Cultural Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: The details: See some of the finest examples of gourd-based art and uses during this unique exhibit that runs through July 9.

2 dead after plane crash

The burned wreckage of a Mooney M20J airplane is still at the site of a fatal crash.

The names of a man and woman killed in a Kerrville plane crash Saturday are still pending. Still, there was some clarity about the incident from message boards for Mooney Aircraft aficionados.

The crash happened late Saturday afternoon, the plane landing near Our Lady of the Hills High School. The plane caught fire, setting off a small brush fire extinguished by the Kerrville Fire Department.

Employees of Mooney Aircraft said the plane, a Mooney Mooney M20J, was not serviced at the company's Kerrville plant. Flight tracking information showed the aircraft was flown briefly on June 23 and 24 before the crash on Saturday. GMT Enterprises LLC owns the plane out of Stephenville. GMT Enterprises owns an auto repair shop.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was on its initial climb before the crash. The cause of the crash, which the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, is still unknown.

Back to the short-term rental discussion

There's just an hour allocated this afternoon for the Kerrville City Council and its planning and zoning commission to discuss, or implement, some changes to the city's short-term rental ordinances.

The two bodies will meet at 4 p.m. at City Hall for an hour-long meeting, where city staff could propose strengthening the city's rules and regulations about the increasingly popular rentals — often rented out to vacationers or as short-term housing for employees.

The proliferation of short-term rentals has flustered both the P&Z and the City Council, with P&Z more apt to reject approving conditional-use permits when neighbors show up to protest. In turn, the City Council has overruled P&Z rejections.

Improving that process and direction seems to be the goal of Mayor Judy Eychner and P&Z Chairman Michael Sigerman.

One more workshop to consider, and this is kind of important

After the 4 p.m. meeting, the City Council holds another workshop to discuss the creation of public facility corporation. This 5 p.m. meeting, which includes an executive session, appears to be an information item on establishing the "PFC" and how it would operate in Kerrville.

In simple terms, it's another way the city (or school district) can issue debt to build public projects — like affordable housing — by creating a corporation that would manage the project. It's a state-approved method that allows cities to provide alternative financing options. It also gives a fat property tax break to those looking to develop the properties on behalf of the PFC. In fact, here's what part of the statute says:

"An exemption under this section for a multifamily residential development which is owned by a public facility corporation created by a housing authority under this chapter and which does not have at least 20% of its units reserved for public housing units, applies only if:

  • The housing authority holds a public hearing, at a regular meeting of the authority's governing body, to approve the development; and
  • At least 50 percent of the units in the multifamily residential development are reserved for occupancy by individuals and families earning less than 80 percent of the area median family income.
  • For the purposes of Subsection (d), a "public housing unit" is a dwelling unit for which the landlord receives a public housing operating subsidy. It does not include a unit for which payments are made to the landlord under the federal Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.
  • Notwithstanding Subsections (a) and (b), during the period of time that a corporation owns a particular public facility, a leasehold or other possessory interest in the real property of the public facility granted by the corporation shall be treated in the same manner as a leasehold or other possessory interest in real property granted by an authority under Section 379B.011(b).

So, if you're an apartment developer, you can transfer the land to the PFC, which in turn leases the property and buildings back to the developer — tax-free.

A 2020 report by the University of Texas Law School cast doubts on the economic benefits of the corporations due to the property tax exemptions.

"In exchange for entering into a leasehold interest structure with a private apartment developer, public facility corporations receive some form of revenue from the project," The UT study found. "However, in the projects approved to date, the amount of revenue flowing to PFCs from these deals pales in comparison to the value of the property tax exemption."

Read more of the law here:

Read the University of Texas study here:

Public safety building takes center stage tonight

The Kerrville City Council will consider moving closer to shaping its public safety building during tonight's meeting. The City Council could approve purchasing the 7 acres along Rio Monte Drive and Clearwater Paseo Drive, where the proposed 69,000-square-foot building would sit. The Council could also approve the design-build method of construction that places architects, engineers and contractors in a unified team to expedite the process.

Both of those items are on tonight's 6 p.m. agenda. The city will also hear an update about selling the voter-approved general obligation bonds to finance the public safety building.


Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly cautioned residents that they could be civilly liable for damages caused by fireworks that are not allowed by the county. His words came in the opening remarks of Monday's Commissioner's Court.

Kelly said he did not believe in usurping the rights of people, including their ability to celebrate fireworks. However, with potential drought records looming, Kerr County's commissioners are faced with a growing call from people to reconsider their June 13 approval of fireworks. The court did restrict rockets and other aerial fireworks.

Commissioner Don Harris said fireworks vendors in Precinct 4 assured him that they told customers to be cautious.

"Seriously it's very dangerous out there," Kelly said. "It wouldn't take much evidence to to show somebody not being responsible."

Interim Ingram police chief introduces himself

By the end of the week, Ingram's Police Department will have no officers — relying on the Kerr County Sheriff's Office to patrol. That was the news interim Police Chief Joe Hamilton presented to the Kerr County Commissioner's Court on Monday.

Hamilton is a retired Department of Public Safety captain who has served as interim chief in at least six other instances since his retirement in 2016. Hamilton will have his work cut out with two officers set to depart for other law enforcement positions this week.

Hamilton said he likes Mayor Claud Jordan, describing him as aggressive.

"I don't look backwards," Hamilton said. "I don't point a finger. I go forward."

Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly met with Jordan on June 17 to discuss the instability in the city government. Kelly said he was grateful for Hamilton.

"You come highly recommended," Kelly told Hamilton.

Hamilton said he would make a series of recommendations to stabilize the department. He expects that to take five weeks, but he told the commissioners previous jobs took as long as nine months.

COVID-19 Update

Kerr County reported its second COVID-19 death in June when the Texas Department of State Health Services released data Monday. The latest death happened on June 17 — the second that week.

Where those deaths happened remains unclear. Peterson Health has ceased regularly reporting about COVID-19. Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests at least five people hospitalized at Peterson Regional Medical Center through June 17. The emergency department saw about 10-15 patients per day with COVID-19 complaints.

The Texas DSHS places Kerr County's death toll at 185, which is believed not to include deaths at nursing homes and assisted living centers. Kerr County's actual death toll may be more than 225 people. At least 40 people have died of COVID-19 in Kerr County this year.

Exactly how many Kerr County residents have active COVID-19 is unclear, but the state is experiencing a surge. The state's best estimate for active COVID-19 cases is 30, which is probably much higher. Across the state, more than 7,000 people tested positive on Sunday.

Hospitalizations climbed to 2,200, including more than 100 pediatric patients, and 43% of intensive care unit patients are on ventilators. Positivity continued to climb — sitting at 25%. The positivity rate is at its highest level since February.


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