The five acres, currently owned by Oakland and Cindy Brosig, might be used as the site for a new road and bridge department facility, according to information listed in the agenda item.
County Commissioner Pete Jauer, who placed the item on the agenda explained that the location is adjacent to State Highway 123 just north of the city limits of Karnes City, across the highway from Swierc Welding.
There is about 115 feet of highway frontage, Jauer exlplained.
“I talked with (Road and Bridge Administrator) Jeffrey (Wiatrek) when I first came into office and he said, ‘Find some land for a road and bridge location,’” Jauer said.
“I’ve been looking for almost two years and this is the only one that I have really gotten a definite chance to buy,” Jauer said. “I’m getting some criticism for the price of it, but we can’t find land anywhere to buy... This is the best I could find. I realize that $36,000 an acre is a high price, but everything else is going for that.”
“It’s kind of the going rate in Karnes,” County Judge Barbara Shaw said. Shaw also said that County Commissioner James Rosales, who was unable to attend the meeting, asked to let the court know that he supported the purchase of the land.
Commissioner Carl Hummel asked Jauer if any more land was available adjacent to the five acres.
Jauer said there was about six additional acres available behind the site.
“I really thought this property would be for the EMS and Road and Bridge,” Jauer said. “EMS really wants to stay at the location in Kenedy.”
Commissioner Tracey Schendel asked what the land has been used for.
“It was a landfill,” Jauer said.
Schendel said three feet of base material would likely be needed to prepare the site for construction.
“The only thing I want to say is that if you are going to build this building, we don’t have anyone to go in it,” Schendel said, referring to recent difficulties the county has had filling road and bridge department positions.
County Treasurer Vi Malone questioned the idea of purchasing the land at the proposed price.
“So that is all the land you can find?” Malone asked. “I’m sorry, that is an awful lot of money for that little bitty... Are we really crampt that bad where we have to have that land now? That’s my tax dollars that you are talking about and I just would have a very hard time buying five acres for $180,000.”
“I know we have a lot of money, but we need to be spending it wisely,” Malone said.
Malone asked Wiatrek to comment on the proposed property purchase.
“I know land is expensive now,” Wiatrek said. “I don’t know which way to go with it.”
Wiatrek said the building currently in use is infested with mice, and is becoming more and more difficult to use.
County Auditor Lajuana Kasprzyk said she didn’t think the county should purchase all the acreage at the site because that would remove it from the tax roles.
Jauer said there was a need for a public meeting building and he thought part of the land could be used for that purpose.
Commissioner Hummel said five acres may not be enough to meet the current and future needs of the road and bridge department.
“I say we buy this five acres now, and then in five years, when the oil business is gone, we can buy the rest of this at $10,000 per acre,” Jauer said.
Jauer made a motion to purchase the five acres at a price of $180,000.
Commissioner Hummel said he needed more time to research the situation before voting.
Commissioner Schendel expressed concerns about the possibility of trash being buried at the site and the added expense that may be required to prepare the site for use by the road and bridge department.
Commissioners Court took no action on the item as Jauer’s motion died for lack of a second.