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Nueces County is example of one case of how THC grant funds can be returned
Nov 03, 2011 | 626 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Editor:

Carl Hummel, commissioner, precinct one, who styles himself a constitutional officer, posted a letter to the editor in The Karnes Countywide last week.

The letter reads as follows:

In the future when the county either applies for or receives grants for the sheriff department, juvenile probation department, adult probation or other departments is this Commissioners Court going to put it to a bond election to see if the voters want or think we should do with this grant money?

Even if we have already applied for and received the grant and grant money?

This is ludicrous.

There has never been a county apply for, receive, then give back grant money — ever – but Karnes County will.

They have a new court going in a new direction, forward or backwards you the citizens of the county decide.

Carl Hummel

Mr. Hummel, I say this is not correct. The County of Nueces County, Texas, Corpus Christi Texas, County Seat, returned a grant from the THC years ago and did not restore the courthouse because it was not practical.

On April 10, 2009 a letter was received by Karnes County from the USDA, (United States Department of Agriculture) rural development.

The letter is as follows: To the Hon. Judge Alger H. Kendall. This letter is in reference to the loan and grant that were obligated to renovate the Karnes County Annex building. These funds were obligated August 12, 2004.

The letter of conditions dated August 12, 2004, clearly states “that if the conditions set forth in this letter are not met within 120 days from the date hereof, USDA Rural Development reserves the right to discontinue the processing of this obligation”. At this time we hereby request in writing no later than 30 days from the date of this letter the intentions of the County to move forward with this application. In addition we are requesting information as to whether or not the scope of work, estimated project cost, source of services, etc, are the same or have changed. If changes have occurred, provide the pertinent necessary information needed for agency’s approval.

If we do not hear from you or above conditions are not met within 30 days from the date of this letter, we are assuming you no longer interested in receiving assistance from the Rural Development and the necessary action will be taken to cancel the obligation of loan and grant funds.

Every questions please do not hesitate to contact this office.

The loan was in the amount of $274,000 the grant funds in the amount of $48,250 the grant and loan were never requested, the required information was never furnished, resulting in Karnes County, Texas in the year 2004, both the loan and grant were lost.

Sue Carter, member of the Karnes County Historical Society, together with a group styling themselves, “Voters for Karnes County” have prepared and are disseminating information, reported as being correct. They have prepared a flyer that contains the following information:

The flyer has an anticipated timeline forecast of restoration and it is as follows:

On October 31, 2011 courthouse vacated;

November 8, 2011 bond election;

November 14, 2011 phase 1of restoration begins;

Texas historical commission grant of $617,890 to be received by the County.

Matching funds furnished by the County taxpayers is projected to be $308,111, which is supposedly been received Phase 1 of the restoration is the removal of the wings that were attached to the Courthouse in 1926.

December 1, 2011 according to the timeline submit round seven of grant application for phase 2 funding.

For the year 2012 January 26th grants awarded.

June 2012 phase 1 completed.

July 2012 begins phase 2 exterior restoration.

The THC grant reported to be the amount of $ 2,065,000,

County match is 2 million.

For the year 2013 December submit round eight grant application.

For the year 2014 round seven grants awarded. THC grant $2,650,000, County match $2 million.

For the year 2015 May project completed, courthouse restored and reoccupied.

Recapitulate

The above grants expected from the THC equal $5,917,889.

Karnes County contribution $4,308,111.

The THC receives its grants from the state of Texas, and the state of Texas is broke. The allocation for the THC for the two years starting 2010 and for 2011 was reduced to $20 million. The state of Texas Works operates on a two-year budget, so each budget must last the State of Texas 24 consecutive months.

Under this timeline we the citizens of Karnes County are expected to take for granted that these grants from THC will become fact. However the possibility of such grants coming, in the present economy, is extremely slim.

The grant and the contributions from the County are to be used to renovate the Karnes County Courthouse. The plan is to remove the outer wall of the courthouse from the ground up eight and 4 feet wide around the entire first floor of the courthouse. These sections will be removed in 4 foot wide sections 8 feet down to the foundation of the courthouse, the foundation repaired and then the sections 4 foot sections be replaced with brick. The possibility of getting the same brick or same type of brick that is in the courthouse currently is extremely slim and probably cannot happen. There is no guarantee as to the cost of repairing the foundation in the way that is anticipated. When the 4 foot sections are removed and the foundation is repaired in 4 foot linear sections means that the new cement must adhere to the old cement and support the whole courthouse. This procedure is ludicrous.

The “Voters for Karnes County” want the Karnes County courthouse restored because it has a lot of history, and I agree. Our forefathers built this courthouse so that there would be a place to dispense justice and control the criminal element. I do not believe that our forefathers would want to spend the total of about almost a $10 million to restore an old building because it’s just not frugal nor possible and if anything our forefathers were required to be frugal (due to the economy) and they, for the same reason had to use common sense.

Some of the members of the “Voters for Karnes County” have accused me of being insensitive to the history of the courthouse, this is not correct.

My grandfather immigrated to Karnes County from Stiendorf Germany. He applied for citizenship to the United States of America, that application was filed in the Karnes County Courthouse in the 81st judicial District Court of Karnes County Texas. On the seventh day of June 1921 my grandfather was sworn in as a United States Citizen. A portion of the order reads as follows:

“upon consideration of the petition of Fritz Ferdenand Fenner and affidavit in support thereof and further testimony taken in open court, it is ordered that the said petitioner, who has taken the oath required by law, be, and hereby is, admitted to become a citizen of the United States of America on this the seventh day of June A.D. 1921

I knew my grandfather very well he was extremely adamant about voting in every election. He was a tall person he was one of the nicest people I have ever known. I can only imagine how excited the whole family was on the seventh day of June 1921 when my grandfather was made a citizen of the United States of America after having lived as a “subject of William II German Emperor.

Respectively Submitted

Robert Busselman

Attorney at Law
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