Remember that alleged hope of rain on Monday? Well, the National Weather Service seems to be tamping down on that forecast, saying there's only a 20% chance of thunderstorm activity for Kerr County on Monday. That's not exactly the news we were hoping for, and it looks like we'll finish June with zero inches of rain. The rest of the week? Hot.
We get a visit from Amber Thomason, who is backing the police, and Kari Bock, who is backing the firefighters in Friday night's Guns and Hoses charity flag football game at Antler Stadium. The two will update us on the game and how it will benefit Mercy Gate Ministries. The Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau's Leslie Jones provides us a preview of weekend events. Join us at 9 a.m.
Thursday, June 23
🚔 Public Safety
Meet Sheriff Larry Leitha — Trailhead Beer Garden at Schreiner University, 6:30 p.m. The details: The Kerr County Sheriff's Foundation is hosting a meet and greet with Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha. It's an opportunity to learn more about the foundation's effort to raise $300,000, with support from the Cailloux Foundation, to purchase an armored vehicle.
🙋♀️Science and Education
Nature Nights — Riverside Nature Center, 6 p.m. Information: 830-257-4837. The details: Tonight's class is all about wildlife forensics.
Texas Angora Goat Raisers Association Show and Sale — Hill Country Youth Event Center, through June 25. Information: 830-688-1391 The details: Registered white and colored Angora Goats will be for show and sale. Vendors will be present and selling all types of natural fibers.
Tall Paul — Southern Sky Music Cafe, 6:30 p.m. Information: https://www.facebook.com/southernskymusiccafe
The Collectors Edition — Joanne Marie and Me Wine Bar, Ingram, 6 p.m.
Friday, June 24
Kerrville Farmers Market — A.C. Schreiner Mansion, 4 p.m. Information: http://kerrvillefarmersmarket.com/ The details: Come down and enjoy a complimentary beer, or buy a handcrafted pizza and enjoy the market.
Science and Nature
Plant Walk and Talk — Riverside Nature Center, 8:30 p.m. Information: 830-257-4837. The details: Kim Ort, Texas Master Naturalist, will guide you on a tour of invasive and non-native plants in the Hill Country and how to identify them.
101 with a Naturalist — Riverside Nature Center, 10 a.m. Information: 830-257-4837. The details: Naturalist, author, and columnist Jim Stanley and Texas Master Naturalist and native plant enthusiast John Hucksteadt will be available to meet one-on-one to answer questions, discuss various topics, or listen to ideas about nature.
Guns and Hoses Flag Football Game — Antler Stadium, 5 p.m. Information: 830-257-8181 The details: Flag football game between Kerrville Fire Dept. vs. Kerrville Police, Ingram Police, and the Kerr County Sheriff's Departments benefiting Mercy Gate Ministries.
Tim Porter and Gary Hatch — Cafe at the Ridge, 6 p.m. Information: http://www.shopsattheridge.com
Sean Kendrick — The Hunt Store, 7 p.m. Information: 830-238-4410
C-Rock — Pier 27 River Lounge and Pizzeria, 8 p.m. Information: 830-896-7437
Modal Mojo — Southern Sky Music Cafe, 6:30 p.m. Information: https://www.facebook.com/southernskymusiccafe
Melrose — Joanne Marie and Me Wine Bar, Ingram, 6 p.m.
Matty Lee Band — Pint and Plow, 6 p.m. Information: http://www.pintandplow.com The details: Matty Lee Band plays reggae music inspired by blues and jazz.
Brent Ryan and the Pistoleros — Trailhead Beer Garden at Schreiner University, 7 p.m. Information: http://www.trailheadbeergarden.com The details: Brent's music hearkens back to a time when Texas Country told stories and was saturated with cowboy folk. Brent's music turns down the amplifiers and turns up the heart.
Rumors — The Point Outdoor Theater, Ingram, 8:30 p.m. Information: http://www.hcaf.com The details: The show runs through June 25. At a large, tastefully-appointed Sneden's Landing townhouse, the Deputy Mayor of New York has just shot himself. Though only a flesh wound, four couples are about to experience a severe attack of Farce. Gathering for their tenth wedding anniversary, the host lies bleeding in the other room, and his wife is nowhere in sight. His lawyer, Ken, and wife, Chris, must get "the story" straight before the other guests arrive. The evening spins off into classic farcical hilarity as the confusions and miscommunications mount.
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The U.S. Census Bureau updated the national and regional housing market on Tuesday, including the rental market. Earlier this week, we dived into the housing market in Kerrville, finding scant inventory but the rental market in Kerr County is even worse.
The Census found that it's not just Kerrville when it comes to rentals — it's everywhere. The information was anything but surprising to the MacDonald Companies' Justin MacDonald.
"Historically, in the 90-92% range would be full vacancy," said MacDonald, whose company owns several properties in Kerr County, including The Landing. "Right now, we're seeing vacancies in the 2% range."
The Lead searched for available rentals using apartments.com and found just nine in Kerrville.
Regionally, the Census found that the Western United States, including Texas, had less than 5% vacancy — but Kerrville is tighter. MacDonald said that most properties are leased full, with long waiting lists. The Landing, one of the newest multifamily units in Kerrville, has a two-year waiting list.
MacDonald said his challenge is maintaining leases at a below-the-market rate — arguably hovering about $2,000 per month.
"We could lease the units for $2,000 a month, and we could probably get it," MacDonald said. "Is this really sustainable?"
But the complexities of the current economy make it challenging to add inventory. MacDonald said rising costs and interest rates have made it difficult to start new construction phases.
"That's why you don't see us turning dirt because it's all about the cost," MacDonald said. Some economists suggest that the country has never caught up from the 2008 housing meltdown, and MacDonald argues that's most likely part of the problem with today's housing shortages.
However, add in the coronavirus pandemic and its related challenges, and you've got significant obstacles to housing. The Census said prices of new homes are rising (average sale price has topped $500,000), housing vacancies are at or near historic lows, and most new single-family homes completed had at least three bedrooms (877,000 of the total 970,000 new single-family homes completed).
MacDonald is a National Association of Home Builders member and recently attended a conference in Washington D.C. The focus of the conference was on the economy, and economists suggested that home builder confidence is sagging due to the reasons MacDonald mentioned — costs and interest rates.
The big question is, will there be a recession, and there seems to be an economist consensus it is imminent.
Every day, we see something new from Uvalde on Wednesday the school district there announced that it placed Police Chief Peter Arredondo on leave. The back and forth between the state Department of Public Safety and the city of Uvalde took a nasty turn on Tuesday when the city's mayor blasted DPS officials for leaking information about the investigation into the police response.
Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly made it clear Monday that he has no intention of raising the tax rate for residents, but that doesn't mean his budget projections won't be painful.
Going into Monday's budget workshop, Kelly wanted a $39.5 million budget with a $1.5 million deficit. However, county staff returned with a budget topping $43 million — not because they wanted to. As the commissioner's court discovered Monday, some areas needed immediate attention, including heavy vehicles in the bridge and road department. The department found that more than 65% of its vehicles needed replacement, leading it to submit a budget of more than $1 million over plan.
Another issue is fuel. With gas prices at all-time highs, the sheriff's office anticipates spending more than $150,000 on fuel costs.
Monday's two-hour meeting was the first of two workshops the county holds during its budgeting process. The next meeting is June 29.