The county of Kerr has a budgetary problem that is not going to fix itself anytime soon. One of the biggest problems is with overtime, and how to manage it.
Now couple that with a very passionate group of people who care a lot about animals, and you’ve got a heated issue that could go sideways in a hurry. That’s exactly what happened last week when the Commissioners Court voted to close the county’s animal shelter on Saturdays.
To Commissioner Jonathan Letz, who works between the court and the animal advocacy groups, it’s a nearly impossible task to manage the fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers, and to those who passionately want to protect animals.
We understand and appreciate Letz’s candor to this Editorial Board, and he certainly understands the superheated nature of closing the shelter on Saturdays, but he’s adamant the court did the right thing.
The reality of the county’s situation is clear — deferred compensation is a problem, especially for small counties that are stretched thin.
Could the county have handled this better? Certainly.
The county should have held a public hearing about the issues and more clearly stated their case. Instead, they went into closed session to discuss personnel matters related to the shelter and came out and voted to close it on Saturdays. They compounded the problem on Monday with a press release stating facts that didn’t always make sense, or add up, especially in the wake of a public records request that was published by website Kerrville United, which pointed out the numbers didn’t necessarily add up.
However, here is the opportunity for all sides involved with this heartfilled issue, and that’s about compromise. It’s also about listening.
Anmimal lovers think the county is uncaring. Letz, for one, says he wants to do the right thing, but feels like the county’s budgetary concerns aren’t appreciated. It’s hard to get understanding in the community when the facts aren’t shared openly.
We love animals here at The Kerrville Daily Times. We consider ourselves a pet-friendly workplace. At the same time, like the county, we have to work hard to control our expenses.
Where the county failed was in executing a transparent decision, but it can make that right, and today’s meeting with the Kerr County Animal Services Advisory Committee is a first step. At this meeting, the county will discuss opportunities to form a nonprofit or partner with one to help fund adoptions and care of animals.
Judge Rob Kelly said he will personally help fund the startup costs of such an endeavor.
At the end, we don’t agree with how the county went about their business in the matter, but we think they have the opportunity to step up and lead in this endeavor while being the fiscal stewards we expect.