Comal County Judge Danny Scheel opened the court session last Thursday by praising and recognizing the service of several county employees.
“You are all on the forefront of the county, and you make us look good,” said Scheel. “So we like to recognize you and thank you for doing your part.”
Comal County Court-At-Law #2 was recognized for three years of service along with more than a dozen county employees who work in the jail, the computer services department, road department and the county clerk’s office.
“Our road department folks, like our Sheriff’s Office, are out on the front lines whenever something goes on in the county,” said Scheel. They are out there when the rest of us are at home watching it all on TV.”
Precinct #1 Commissioner Jack Dawson was recognized for ten years of county service.
Sheriff Bob Holder, Max Womack, and Roxanna Pelata were also recognized for ten years of service to Comal County.
Comal County Engineer Tom Hornseth was recognized for 15 years of service and Ronald L. Womack of the Sheriff’s Office was recognized for 20 years.
In other court action, the New Braunfels Quilt Club began their 25th Anniversary with a Proclamation that recounted their rich, artistic history in the county, growing from their original 41 members to more than 200 today. Meeting on the third Saturday each month, the NB Quilt Club creates an art form through quilting and provides quilts to local helping organizations like Hope Hospice as well as storybook quilts to encourage elementary children toward learning. They also provide quilts and totes for local children’s shelters.
Commissioners accepted the deed and improvements, along with the boat ramp improvements, that were dedicated by Mystic Shores at a special ceremony two weeks ago.
The public hearing phase prior to converting the yield signs to stop signs within certain subdivisions in Precinct #4 was held. No public comments were heard.
Comal County Assistant District Attorney Geoff Barr gave commissioners an overview of state laws that would allow them to fund county parks and event venues. Comal County Judge Danny Scheel had asked him to look into the legal issues involved with adopting a venue tax after reading about how Bexar County was able to fund the SBC Center.
“With more unfunded mandates from the state straining the county budget, this could be a way to fund the county’s parks projects,” said Scheel. “We could do a lot of things for our county parks and youth projects if we could have some funding other than through the general fund.”
A venue tax would need voter approval and the funds would be designated for specific projects.
Barr presented several tax revenue resources that could apply toward building venue tax funds including an increased Hotel/Motel tax and a tax on temporary auto rentals.
Commissioners agreed that they would like to explore the feasibility of a venue tax.
“I hear a lot of people say they wish we could do more for the youth in our community,” said Commissioner Jan Kennady. “I would like to have the voters vote on this to see how interested they are in pursuing these youth programs and venues. This could be their chance to make it happen.”
Commissioner Jay Millikin was the only one with reservations about the idea.
“Anything that talks about an additional taxing entity, I’m wary of,” he said. “We have a sufficient number of those around already.”
Commissioners removed from the table of April 12, and approved a letter supporting House Bill 3954 and a local bill creating the first Special Improvement District in Comal County. This measure will allow developers to sell bonds to pay for the water, sewer and roads infrastructure for the proposed new Crescent Hills subdivision that is planned for a tract of land near Garden Ridge, within the extra-territorial jurisdiction of San Antonio.
This SID would give commissioners more authority over the development and would also provide for road expansions on Evans Road and FM 3009.
According to the developers’ attorney, Steve Robinson of Allen, Boone, Humphries & Robinson in Houston, Comal County can set the bar for developers in the future.
“This is the only tract of land that will legislated in this way,” he said. “This is the only way the developers can finance the infrastructure of this subdivision because there is no city, only Comal County.”
Commissioner Jay Millikin, in whose precinct the proposed subdivision will be located, stated his concerns that the property owners in other subdivisions, like Seven Hills Ranch, are already objecting to the proposed project.
“We are very sensitive to your [Seven Hill Ranch] neighborhood and community needs,” assured Robinson. “We are extending San Antonio Water System services and fire protection flows to this area, that you don’t have now.”
Robinson also assured commissioners that they would have the ability to “lay out the development rules” for the subdivision because of the legislative language that would set up the special district.
Millikin wanted to be sure than his approval of today’s measure would only lead to the introduction of the legislature that supports the special improvement district.
“I will support it as long as it goes through the public hearing process,” he said.
Commissioners finished the court session with discussions about supporting Resolution 2007-14, a local law endorsing a motor fuels tax increase to help fund road construction and maintenance.
“Comal County is part of 36 counties and commissioners courts throughout the state that are asking for a resolution today,” said Millikin. “The state tax rate on motor fuels has stayed the same since 1991 while the costs of road construction and maintenance have gone up considerably. We are asking for this increase to be indexed in the future.”
The next session of Commissioners Court is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. on Thursday, April 26, in New Braunfels.