The Kleberg County Commissioners Court voted Monday to appoint a local business owner to fill the unexpired term of late board member Filiberto Garcia on the Kleberg County Appraisal District Board of Directors.

Al Higginbotham was unanimously voted as the person to complete the remainder of Garcia’s term, after the longtime board member died in March of this year.

Each member of the board serves a term of two-years, with the current term coming to a close in December of this year.

Higginbotham was nominated by the commissioners court to finish out the year on the board as the representative for Kleberg County until the term is complete, and will wait to see if the current appraisal board accepts the nomination.

Following the vote, Kleberg County Judge Rudy Madrid said he would sit down with the newly appointed board member to discuss business for Kleberg County and added Higginbotham is “an excellent candidate” to fill the position.

Higginbotham was born and raised in Kingsville and has a background as a real estate broker and operating the Kleberg County Title Company. 

In a phone interview Tuesday, Higginbotham said he was honored to be filling the role of “a very old dear friend of mine.”

“I had known (Garcia) since I started working in the title business in the 70s,” Higginbotham said. “We got along very well, so it’s an honor to be asked to fill his position.”

Although the county commissioners voted to appoint him to the position, Higginbotham still needs to go through a process in order to officially take his seat on the board of directors.

“I’m just waiting for that process to play out,” Higginbotham said.

In an interview Wednesday morning, Chief Appraiser Tina Flores said each entity in the district is allowed to nominate one person to replace Garcia for his unexpired term, as well as the future two-year term that will be open when the current term is over.

“The board of directors will make a determination if they are going to pick somebody (if there are more than one nominations) or if they are not going to have a vote at all and just wait out the term,” Flores said. “(Higginbotham) will be considered with anybody else that is nominated from the other taxing entities, and the board of directors will make that decision.”

In other business, Jose Gravely was appointed to the South Texas Water Authority Board to serve the remaining term of Albert Ruiz, which expires in “less than a year.”

Gravely was not at the meeting, but was also voted into the position on the STWA board unanimously.

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