Key to the Courthouse

Comal County Commissioner Kevin Webb, second from left, congratulates Jay Brewer on being a recipient of a Key to the Courthouse award during Thursday's meeting. Brewer and retiring U.S. District 21 Rep. Lamar Smith, third from the right, were the first two recipients of the keys. Also pictured at the far left is Commissioner Scott Haag. Pictured at right are Comal County Judge Sherman Krause and Commissioner Jen Crownover. WILL WRIGHT | Herald-Zeitung

Comal County Commissioners had a short agenda on Thursday – and with good reason. 

They surprised two long-time area dignitaries – outgoing U.S. District 21 Rep. Lamar Smith and Jay Brewer – by presenting them with the first-ever Keys to the Courthouse during their weekly meeting.

The keys are named in honor of Jan Kennady, who served as Precinct 4 county commissioner from 2003-14. 

“About five years ago, right after completion of this courthouse, we wanted to show appreciation for our former commissioner for all of her work in restoring this courthouse,” County Judge Sherman Krause said. “It took 10 years, and three tries to get funding from the state historical commission, but Jan stayed with it.”

The courthouse was restored and reopened in 2013. Krause said naming the keys in memory of Kennady, who died in 2016, was the perfect way to also honor others who “made long-lasting and significant contributions to the community.”

Krause read a decree accompanying the awards, which recognized Kennady’s fight to restore the courthouse back to its original 1898 splendor, and designating that recipients of the courthouse keys continue to work toward “preserving the rich history and quality of life in Comal County.”

Smith will retire in January after serving 32 years in the U.S. House.

“My great uncle designed the original Comal courthouse, along with the one in Bexar County and a dozen others around the state,” Smith said. “Both counties are the only two I’ve represented during my entire time in Congress. 

“I want to thank you for the honor and am very happy to be among all of you friends here today.”

Brewer, a Marine Corps veteran and a city and county Living Legend, has diligently worked for area historical preservation efforts, including working with Kennady in the decade-long effort to restore the courthouse. 

“This place is important to me – not just because it’s the center of our county government but for what it represents,” he said. “It’s really a part of our history and our culture.”

Brewer recalled touring sites around New Braunfels with his granddaughter, who when asked which places she favored, wanted to revisit the courthouse. 

“She absolutely was captivated with this building and the stories that were told about it,” he added. “That’s why it’s important for me to have the opportunity to come to a place like this – where we can also observe (commissioners) doing their jobs.”

Commissioners on Thursday also approved:

•Four donations totaling $250 to benefit Comal County Sheriff’s Office Junior Deputy Academy and DARE programs.

•An amended plat combining lots in the Mountain Springs Ranch subdivision.

•Amending nine supplemental facilities use agreements with Bulverde, Spring Branch and Canyon Lake youth sports organizations and Community Resource and Recreation Center of Canyon Lake, each reducing annual damage insurance coverage requirements from $1 million to $500,000.

•An amendment to the Comal County Engineer’s Office’s accident prevention plan, which updates employee use of hard hats and county-owned personal protective equipment.

•2019 Comal County Recycling Center holidays.

•A cost sharing agreement with the Water Oriented Recreation District of Comal County designating $4,387 towards maintenance on flood warning system sirens.

•The county’s license renewal application with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy.

•Delaying certification of 2018 tax levies for the county’s general fund and its lateral road and flood control funds until the Nov. 15 meeting.

•A resolution outlining Texas Indigent Defense Commission grant funding for the county’s 2019 Indigent Defense Grant Program.

•Line-item budget transfers totaling $1,560 for excess costs in purchases of computers, weapons conversion kits and animal control supplies for the CCSO.

•ProForce Marketing Inc.’s bid to accommodate purchases of new 9MM pistols used by CCSO.

For more, visit links at the county website, www.co.comal.tx.us.

 

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