Among the priorities for Karnes County leaders will be maintaining and repairing the county’s facilities, with the Karnes County annex, located at 210 Calvert St. in Karnes City, in need of attention.
“The budget process went well, and one of the areas that it will be important for us to address is the county annex,” said County Judge Wade Hedtke. “It’s been a continuing issue for us and we are looking at making repairs there. We need to take care of our property, and there’s a pretty good chunk of money that has been set aside for that.”
The Karnes County Commissioners Court had voted 3-2 to set aside money to purchase the former Karnes Electric Building – something Wade had voted against – but was outbid by another buyer.
“I was told today (Sept. 29) that they had accepted another offer, and that doesn’t hurt my feelings at all,” Hedtke said. “When it came up in commissioners court, I opposed (purchasing the building) because I believe it’s too big. We were going to have to try to fill it up, and my question was whether we were going to be creating positions just to try to fill that space.”
While some surrounding counties and even Karnes County entities have been affected by lower property values, which impacts tax revenue, Hedtke said the county is in good shape financially, and that property values are high.
“From a real estate sales perspective, it’s been impressive to see the property values here,” he said. “That goes for ranch property for even residential property prices have been sky high.
“We are also seeing an uptick in oil and gas production in the area, and that is having an impact on our local roads. There have been more accidents as a result of increased traffic. You’ve definitely got to keep an eye open when you’re out and about.”
One of the upcoming events Hdtke said he is looking forward to is the grand opening of the Polish Heritage Center Oct. 23-24 (see related story).
“It’s very exciting,” Hedtke said. “There is such a rich history of Polish heritage here, as well as German, Native American and Hispanic heritage. It’s nice to see the Polish Heritage Center open.
“I’m not directly involved in that at all, but it’s an important part of Karnes County history and it’s very exciting that the center is about to open.”