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The Lead March 15, 2022: Kerr County Sheriff talks radios; City Council to see museum plans

There appears to be confusion when it comes to the upcoming elections, according to Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly.

Good morning, Kerr County!

Warm, clear and sunny! That's it. That's all you need to know about our weather for the next few days.

On today's The Lead Live!

We'll chat with Sally McHalffey, who owns Mustang Sally's furniture on Water Street. McHalffey and her husband, Chad, opened the business late last year, and it specializes in Southwestern-style furniture, pottery and other items. The story is near G Street and features plenty of color inside.

The McHalffeys grew up in El Paso but started looking for opportunities in Central Texas and the Hill Country, initially thinking they wanted to be in Fredericksburg. However, they found it expensive and a little stuffy.

Last October, the couple spent a long weekend at the River Trail Cottage — just down the street from their new business — exploring Kerrville. They quickly fell in love with the community and decided to start their business here. There have been plenty of sticking points along the way, including finding housing. There were also commitments back in El Paso, including family. Sally McHallfey is a teacher, while her husband owns two El Paso sports bars.

Still, the dream of selling Southwestern goods in Kerrville has motivated them to make the six-hour drive from El Paso east to open their store on weekends.

There's a lot more to this story, and we'll dig into it on today's show.

Schreiner University's David Reast will join us at 9:30 a.m. to discuss a job fair the university is hosting on Wednesday. The fair is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the university's ballroom.

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In case you missed it!

On Monday, we chatted with Tod Citron, the CEO of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Centers for the Hill Country, and two management team members about some of the challenges the non-profit organizations are having in hiring people. Watch the interview here:

Sheriff lays out a plan for radios

Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha said he's still collecting information on how much the new radio system would cost — it could be $5 million.

The sheriff's office and the city of Kerrville are working on upgrading radio systems, but the county's plan is more complex because of the vast area it covers. The county requires multiple radio towers to move to a 700 megahertz system, which would give the office greater interoperability with the city and neighboring agencies.

Leitha, however, is still working through the logistics of the bidding for the radios. Like the city of Kerrville, Leitha will make the purchase through the Lower Colorado River Authority and Motorola.

"What I want the public to know is the radio system is past its shelf life," Leitha said. "It's about 15-20 years old. This is a county-wide radio system."

So, the replacement costs are higher considering the terrain and services required by the county, Leitha said. The new radio users would include animal control, constables, volunteer fire departments and other agencies.

Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly said he intends to use the much-maligned federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to cover the costs. The city of Kerrville is likely to do the same thing.

The city and the county are not the same

Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha brought up an emergent problem — potential voter confusion over Kerrville's public safety building.

"People are saying, 'sheriff, you're doing a good job, we're going to get you that new public safety complex," Leitha told the Kerr County Commissioner's Court on Monday.

Yes, that's right, Leitha is hearing from voters who think he will be the beneficiary of Kerrville's proposed $45 million public safety building — if the voters approve a bond measure May 7.

"There is a lot of confusion out there about the election issue," Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly said.

Kerrville's bond election would house the police department, fire administration, municipal court and the information technology department. The sheriff has his purpose-built facility on Clearwater Paseo in east Kerrville.

However, the confusion comes as the county considers its own bond measures, which voters will decide in November. The county is planning three bond measures totaling about $30 million to shore up sagging facilities, including the courthouse, tax office, Hill Country Youth Event Center, animal shelter, and West Kerr Annex.

"I want the public to understand what is coming up," Kelly said.

One possible problem

The Kerrville Daily Times has referred to the Kerrville public safety building as a "Justice Center." It has appeared in headlines and implies a broader public safety complex.

The City Council gets a look at new museum concept

The Kerrville City Council will get a peek at the Heart of the Hills Heritage Center — the proposed history museum slated for the former Schreiner-Schellhase mansion on Water Street. The City Council will see the presentation at a 10 a.m. workshop meeting today.

The museum is part of the Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library campus, and the project will cost more than $4 million — $1 million of it provided by H-E-B and the H.E. Butt Foundation. The rest is coming from private donations and city funding.

The firms SLS Partnership of Kerrville and Lubbock, Texas, and Outposts Landscape Architects of Colmesneil, Texas, designed the A.C. Schreiner House site plan.

Today's newsletter is sponsored by The Texas Hill Country Advisors

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