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The Lead Special, Jan. 8, 2022: Kerr County's bond plan may not be as expensive as originally believed

The Kerrville City Council will hear a first pitch on what it can expect to spend on the public safety building.


We don't usually post an update on Saturday mornings, but there's just too much going on. We're continuing our dry spell, although we're waking up to fog, and there's no sight of rain in the forecast until at least Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. In Kerr County Commissioner Don Harris's words, "we could use it."


The city of Kerrville has decided to resume social distancing for City Council meetings after COVID-19 has reared its horrific head to wreak havoc across the world.

In what should be a consequential meeting, one featuring 14 public hearings or ordinance readings, the city said standard safety protocols will be observed for Tuesday's meeting. While masks are voluntary and highly encouraged, 6-foot distance seating will be observed and visitor seating will be designated. The city is encouraging people to participate via Zoom video conference.



It's out of hand.

On Friday, Peterson Regional Medical Center hospitalizations climbed to 22 and more than 100 testing positive for the virus in two days. Peterson said it had 59 new cases on Friday.

However, the statewide situation continues to escalate with a positivity rate that climbed to 36% on Friday. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported more than 50,000 cases on Friday, but that number's real-time precision remains unclear.


In reality, the meatiest part of Tuesday's City Council meeting is during the 5 p.m. workshop at City Hall. In that meeting, the city's public safety committee will present its recommendations to the City Council about a new building to house the police department, fire administration, municipal court and information technology. The price tag is expected to be around $45 million for a nearly 70,000-square foot building to be constructed on 7 acres — which is a fantasy at the moment.

The City Council will receive an update from the Kerr Economic Development Corp. about its work.


Some of the agenda items include a potentially contentious discussion about the annexation of a proposed housing development in northwest Kerrville. The project split the planning and zoning commission, which went against the developer's proposal for single-family housing zoning and opted to keep the zoning residential estate — essentially limiting the development. The plan drew fire from neighbors who argued they are subjected to poor drainage and flooding in the area, and this project would compound that problem. The proposed project is just north of Mountain Laurel along Coronado Drive. We'll have more on the epic City Council meeting in Monday's edition of The Lead.


On Friday, Pete Calderon told us that the proposed Kerr County general obligation bonds might not be as expensive as we previously believed. That's good news for the taxpayers and potentially very good news for the city of Kerrville, which is also considering a bond measure.

Calderon is a member of the county's capital improvement committee, earning what he thought would be a six-month gig by Pct. 3 Commissioner Jonathan Letz. Nearly two years later, Calderon said he expects the bonds to help improve county facilities, including building a new animal shelter, will cost about $30 million.

"I think it's going to land at $30 million," Calderon said.

Here's our interview with Calderon from Friday:

Those improvements would include a new county annex and courtroom in Ingram, relocating the tax office to a former church north of the Kerr County Court House, a new animal shelter, and improving other county buildings, including the Hill Country Youth Event Center.

Calderon serves on the committee with Brenda Hughes, Fred Henneke, Bob Templeton and Chris Hughes. Calderon said the important takeaway from his work is that if the voters don't approve this bond plan in 2022, it will become even more costly in the future.

"Every single one of these things we need," Calderon said of the bond needs.

Like his colleagues on the committee, who shared their horror at some of the working conditions of county employees, Calderon called the conditions a "joke," and not the funny kind. He said county employees had shown resiliency in working in cramped and sometimes unsafe conditions.

One of Calderon's areas of study was the Hill Country Youth Event Center's importance because it serves so many community purposes. However, one of the center's ag barns, adorned with a contaminated dirt floor, needs to be upgraded. Part of that funding may come from federal COVID-19 relief funds because the center is a disaster relief location, but Calderon points out it's an essential economic driver.


Here's a look at events around Kerr County this weekend, including the Kerr County Livestock Show auction today at 1 p.m.

The Kerr County Livestock Show

Hill Country Youth Event Center, Kerrville

1 p.m. The sale.

  • One of Kerr County's biggest events, where you can have a lot of fun and support the local FFA and 4-H students with a purchase, but be prepared to spend.

Local author Skye Alexander reading and book signing

Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library, Kerrville

2 p.m.

  • Local author Skye Alexander will have a reading and book signing for her new book, "Never Try to Catch a Falling Knife." The book is her first installment in a new mystery series and introduces the character Lizzie Crane and her jazz troupe. This event is free and open to the public.

Second Saturday Craft Day

Museum of Western Art, Kerrville

2-4 p.m.

  • Join in the fun of painting mittens, crafting paper snowmen, making candle holders and more. Free to attend. Reservations required. Email:

Live Music by Boone Holding

Southern Sky Music Cafe, Ingram

Live music by Reuben Darnell

Cafe at The Ridge

6 p.m.

Live music by Symphony of the Hills

Cailloux Theater

7:30 p.m.

  • The symphony welcomes the New Year with a musical exploration of the universal drive to seek new frontiers and accomplishments.


Live music by Rebel Roxie

Gravity Check Saloon, Kerrville

1 p.m.

Rebel Roxie goes on stage at 1 p.m., and Gravity Check's grill and bartenders will be here serving up delicious food and drinks all day and all night.

Sunset Salutation on the Deck

Arcadia Live

5 p.m.

  • Join Yoga Space for its first Sunset Salutation of the year! This is such a fun event as we do yoga on the deck of The Arcadia, overlooking the beautiful Guadalupe River, followed by wine! Purchase tickets through The Yoga Space.


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