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Economic Development


Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, June 2,1 2005

Cities see fall, RCH sees rise in June sales tax

Sales tax rebates for all three cities in Reeves County were down for June, according to figures released last week by Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn’s office. But the rebate totals for both Pecos and Balmorhea remain up by double-digits for the first six months of 2005, as compared with the first six months of a year ago.

Strayhorn’s office said Pecos received a rebate check for $58,315 this month, based on its 1 1/2-cent share of the state’s 8 1/4-cent sales tax. The total was down 4.75 percent from a year ago, when the city received $61,227 in June, which came from sales made during April in the city. However, for all of 2005 s far, Pecos has gotten $425,140 back from Austin, which is up by 10.25 percent from a year ago.

One sixth of the city’s tax rebate total goes towards the Pecos Economic Development Corp. for its operations. For this month, the PEDC’s 1/4-cent share of the 1 1/2-cent sales tax netted it $9,889.

Balmorhea’s June rebate check was down 7.05 percent from a year ago, falling from $1,714 to $1,593 But for the first six month of the year, tax rebates remain up by 18.28 percent, with the city getting $6,963 back from Strayhorn’s office.

Toyah was down by a much larger percentage for the month and also is down sharply for the first half of 2005. The city got a $341 check from the comptroller for its 1 1/2-cent tax rebate, a 58.07 drop from last year’s $815 check, and for the year is down 25.95 percent, having received $1,943 back from Austin.

Meanwhile, the Reeves County Hospital District, which was down in May while the county’s three cities showed tax rebate increases, was up this month while the cities saw their checks decline.

The hospital district received $24,719 back from Austin from its 1/2-cent sales tax, which was 4.44 percent higher than last year’s $23,668 total. For the first half of 2005, the hospital has gotten $165,932 in tax rebates, a 1.85 percent increase from the first half of 2004.

Other cities in the area with a 1 1/2-cent sales tax generally saw increases in their totals from June of 2004. Alpine received $69,108 back from Austin, a 5.18 percent increase; Crane received $28,874, an 18.61 percent increase; and Lamesa received $61,680, a 1.11 percent increase.

Odessa, the area’s second-largest city, received a rebate check for just over $1.25 million this month, an increase of 14.46 percent from last year, based on its 1 1/4-cent sales tax rate. For cities assessing a one-cent sales tax, Andrews received $74,219 this month, which was up 10.58 percent; Kermit received a check for $28,236, up 18.43 percent; Wickett received a check for $4,679, up 30.93 percent; and Wink got a check for $4,088, which was down 43.71 percent.

For cities collecting a 1 3/4-cent sales tax, Van Horn got $25,502 back from Austin, a drop of 7.09 percent; and Marfa received a $16,250 check, which was up 22.17 percent. For cities assessing the 2-cent tax rate, Big Spring received a $316,698 check from Austin, up 6.81 percent; Fort Stockton got a $108,140 check, down 7.88 percent; Presidio got a check for $20,961, up 1.04 percent; and Monahans received a check for $78,356, up 13.3 percent.

Statewide, Strayhorn’s office sent out $233.4 million in tax rebate checks to cities and counties, which was 5.45 percent higher than a year ago. Houston’s check for $27.34 million was the highest of any city in the state, and was up 5.76 percent, while Dallas had the second-largest check, at 14.14 million, up 1.64 percent from last year.

Flores notches P-B-T re-vote election victory

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD voters opted to return a former member to the school board on Thursday, as a special tie-vote election resulted in the defeat of the school board’s current president.

The special tie-vote election was called after president Billie Sadler, and former board member David Flores received the same number of votes following a recount of the May 7 school board election.

The special tie-vote election was held last Thursday at the Community Center. The new results showed that Flores received 571 votes to Sadler’s 465. The vote totals were larger than the original voting in the May 7 race, which heated up in its final days due to a dispute over the elimination of the school district’s enhanced program.

Sadler was part of the 4 to 3 majority that voted to kill the program. Flores has promised to try to reinstate the program.

The original vote total in the May 7 race gave Sadler 405 votes to 402 for Flores in the final tabulation on Saturday. But when the recount was held on May 17, Flores gained two votes while Sadler lost one off her final total. The recount gave both candidates 404 votes, prompting the tie-vote election.

Flores and Sadler were two of three candidates in the race for two available three-year terms on the board. The other candidate, incumbent Paul Deishler, received 541 votes to earn a new three-year term.

Interest in the school board election shot up following an April 14 decision by the board to eliminate the district’s enhanced program. The board voted 4-3 to end the program, with both Sadler and Deishler voting in favor of eliminating it starting in August.

Parental protests resulted in another board meeting on May 3, in which Deishler switched his vote to keep the enhanced program for the 2005-06 school year. However, board member Steve Valenzuela, who voted to retain the program on April 14, voted to eliminate it during the May 3 meeting.

Board member Crissy Martinez was absent, and the 3-3 tie left the April 14 decision intact.

Flores, who said he supports retaining the enhanced program, finished third among voters who cast ballots during the early voting period, between April 18 and May 3, while Flores was the top vote-getter among those who cast ballots on May 7.

The enhanced program conflict has primarily pitted the school administration and principals against parents.

School Superintendent Ray Matthews and Austin Elementary School Principal Cindy Duke believe Pecos schools are better off without the enhanced program. Parents have complained that putting all students together will cause advanced students to become bored with the pace of work, and some local business leaders have said the lack of an enhanced program within the P-B-T ISD would be a negative in trying to bring new businesses to the area.

Sisters tend to patient, house and yard following diagnosis

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fifth part of a story by Enterprise business manager Peggy McCracken on her recent diagnosis of cancer.

Staff Writer

I wanted a spiffy new outfit to wear to church on Sunday, so my sisters took me shopping on Friday, after I got out of the hospital on Thursday. I tried on one red dress, but it looked awful, and I tired easily.

Saturday, I went through my closets and found a couple of dressy outfits that have a left pocket that would sort of even out my chest. Gail ironed them, along with some scarves that could work as camouflage.

West Texas’ spring turned cold on Sunday, so I chose black pants, a white blouse and a red silk jacket with a left pocket. It was just the thing to cover the bandage and drain bag that I still wore at the waist.

Everyone at church was surprised to see me visiting, hugging and shaking hands before the worship service started. Nancy McAnally, our song leader, asked if I were going to play the piano.

I was feeling a little shaky, so told her to go ahead with her plans to use CD accompaniment. It was kind of nice to sit near the back and know I could leave if I got too tired.

After church, we had a potluck dinner in Fellowship Hall. Just as I sat down to eat, Nancy told me that a sandy-haired woman from Odessa had come in the sanctuary looking for me, and she told her I had left early.

I recognized the description of Brenda Virgin, an ex-Enterprise employee who remains a good friend. I called her cellular number to find her sitting in my driveway with a bucket of KFC chicken.

“Come on down,” I said, which she did, adding her KFC to the laden table. We had a good visit, as always.

I think we skipped church that night and played Scrabble. On Monday afternoon, Gail took me by the office to see if I needed to notarize some affidavits for legal advertising, and I wound up staying three hours getting those documents in the mail.

The next day, I just put on my working hat for good and didn’t ask anyone what they thought. Two or three hours a day of bookkeeping wasn’t going to hurt me, I figured.

Speedy’s path to restaurant took long time

A long-time Pecos resident, who started out cleaning up in restaurants, now owns his own establishment and invites everyone to come try his specialty.

Espiridion “Speedy” Florez, 75, was born in 1930, in Pecos to a very large family of 14 children.

With the family being so big, it was a struggle to make ends meet.

Florez never had the opportunity to attend even one day of school. Therefore, he began his journey at a very young age. By the age of 12, he was employed at a little restaurant called the Blue Top Cafe, cleaning up and washing dishes.

Now that business is nothing but an old building on East Third Street.

The same year in 1942, he moved to a different restaurant in Pecos named Caldwell’s. At this restaurant, his job description didn’t change much. He was still cleaning and washing.

One year later, Florez began working for a lady named Thelma Savage at a place called Lonestar Café. This was where he began to learn to cook, mainly by observing Savage. She was nice enough to let him make his first mistakes as a cook.

He remained working at Lonestar Café for 16 years, learning little by little, until Savage retired and sold her business.

After that, Florez was employed at many different places, learning different things at each one. He worked at Brandon Hotel and Restaurant, Town and Country Motel and Restaurant, Black’s Truck Stop, Roper’s Motel, Franklin’s, Foster’s Café, Mom and Tex American Inn, and also worked at a truck stop in Toyah.

By this time, many years had gone by and he began working at Pecos Valley Country Club on Aug. 12, 1974. He was employed at PVCC until Aug. 23, 1999, working there alongside Elodia Florez his wife, of 31 years.

He worked there for a total of 25 years, which he enjoyed very much while earning respect and gaining friends in that environment, along with knowledge and experience. And after leaving the country club, the couple decided to start their own business hoping they’d be successful with the support of all the people in the community, his hometown. He has lived and worked here all his life and has raised his family with the same determination and dedication he always has.

Along with his wife, Florez’s family consists of three children, Anna Maria, Ruben and Corina Florez.

He also has four grandchildren, Stanley, Ruben, Crystal and Jericho.

To this day, Florez said he appreciates all his friends who have touched his life and all the great chefs he worked with who had the patience to teach and inspire him to begin his lifelong career as a cook.

Florez thanks everyone who has visited Speedy’s and welcomes everyone who comes to try “Speedy’s White Enchiladas” (just one of his very own recipes).

No matter what your choice of food here, you can bet it’s “The Best in the West,” according to Florez.

Baby dies in bathtub drowning

An infant girl who would have celebrated her first birthday next month died on Friday after drowning in the bathtub of her family’s home.

Kyera Alyzae Archuleta, died Friday night at Reeves County Hospital, just over an hour after Pecos Police officers and ambulance personnel were called to the home, in reference to a possible drowning.

Officers were dispatched to 1111 S. Cherry, at about 8:03 p.m., according to Town of Pecos City Police Chief Clay McKinney. He said that three officers including Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler responded to the call, along with the Pecos Ambulance Service.

“When the officers arrived, they started giving the 11-month old baby CPR,” said McKinney. “Then the ambulance crew arrived and they took over,” he said.

EMS workers were unable to revive the child, and McKinney said that the baby was pronounced dead at Reeves County Hospital, at 9:20 p.m., by Justice of the Peace Jim Riley.

McKinney said that Kyera’s mother, Heather Archuleta, told officers that she had been giving the baby a bath at the time of the accident.

Funeral services for Kyera have been scheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m., at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.


Kyera Archuleta

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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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