Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, May 5, 2000
Rising oil prices help to increase area's valuations
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, May 5, 2000 - Higher oil prices people have seen reflected in
higher gas prices at the pump for the past several months will also mean
more money for most area taxing entities in Fiscal Year 2001, according
to preliminary valuations released this morning by the Reeves County Tax
Higher mineral valuations, due mostly to rising oil prices, resulted
in six of the counties' eight taxing entities seeing increases in their
net taxable values this year.
The biggest increase went to the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, due to lands
in the Barstow area of Ward County. "The schools lucked out because of
reproduction in Ward County," said chief appraiser Carol King Markham.
"They went in and did over some wells."
The change boosted mineral valuations by just under $9 million, while
real estate valuations in the school district were up $354,370.
Valuations were also up overall for Reeves County and the Reeves County
Hospital District, despite losses in real estate valuations of $1.5 million.
Mineral valuations for both districts increased by $3,413,120, giving the
county and hospital a net rise of $1,913,650.
The Town of Pecos City's real estate valuations rose by $480,920, while
mineral valuations were up $2,646,990 for a net gain of $3,127,910, meanwhile,
valuations in Reeves County Water Improvement District No. 2 jumped by
just under $1.4 million, despite an $8,760 decline in real estate valuations.
Markham told appraisal board members this morning the mineral valuation
increases in Pecos were related mainly to utilities and pipelines.
The city of Balmorhea also saw its valuations rise, but by only $94,660,
as a $146,610 rise in real estate values was offset by a drop in mineral
values of $51,950. "Balmorhea doesn't have oil, just gas and they cut some
of the gas production," Markham explained.
Balmorhea ISD got hit even harder. Its mineral valuations dropped $707,450,
while real estate values fell $589,780 for a net loss of $1,297,230. Markham
said the larger loss in real estate was due to the closing of the four-year-old
Brunswick-Roadmaster bicycle shipping warehouse, after the company decided
in January it could buy bicycles cheaper in China than it could build them
in Ojinaga, Mex., for shipping across the U.S. out of the Balmorhea building.
Toyah situation was similar to Balmorhea's on valuations. The city lost
just over $935,000 in valuations, all but $6,650 of that due to lower mineral
Toyah's drop represented nearly 40 percent of the city's total taxable
value, which Markham said was due in part to property moves by Union Pacific
Railroad. The city's taxable value was put at $1.335 million, while Balmorhea
had $3.637 million and the Balmorhea ISD $18.15 million.
Overall, taxable valuations in the county and hospital district were
put at $361.2 million, while Pecos had $117.6 million in net taxable.
Markham said because of the ongoing drought, agriculture valuations
were down this year in Reeves County and western Ward County. Housing sale
prices also slipped in relation to valuations, but the board voted to allow
homebuyers to use the sale price for one year on their valuations.
The increase for the school district represented the first rise in total
valuations for P-B-T since 1990. Valuations at that time were put at $541.7
million, which is $165 million above this year's total of $376.3 million.
"We're tickled to death to have the money," said P-B-T Superintendent
Don Love, but he added that under the funding formula for district such
as Pecos, the bulk of the district's money is based on student enrollment
"The number one key to Chapter 42 formula schools is kids. When you've
lost 117 kids like we have so far since the start of school, that's $439,000.
That has to be made up somewhere," Love said.
"What people have to understand is the state lets you raise as much
money as you raised last year, so we may have to drop down to go up," he
said. Based on collection formulas, the school district may get an extra
$119,000 from the valuations increase, but the state won't fully fund a
school district that does not have a tax rate at $1.50 per $100 valuation.
Valuations for the schools this year were just over $1.43 per $100,
and the school can raise its tax rate by as much as six cents, after they
drop it due to the increase in valuations.
Love said to qualify for the maximum Tier II funding for the next two
years, the school has to get its tax rate as close to $1.50 per $100 valuation
as possible. P-B-T, along with other area taxing entities, will set their
rates based on the new valuations starting late this summer.
Markham said after appraisal statements are mailed out later this month,
the Appraisal Review Board would hold hearings on mineral
El Paso woman dies in Thursday crash
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, May 5, 2000 - An El Paso woman was killed and two injured in
an early morning accident Thursday that occurred on Intestate 20, just
five miles east of Pecos.
The accident happened at 5:50 a.m., at mile marker 45, five miles east
of Pecos and involved three people from El Paso.
The victim was identified as Silva Barraza Reyes, 46, who was driving
a 1995 Chevrolet, which was the only vehicle involved in the accident,
according to Department of Public Safety
Reyes was pronounced dead at Reeves County Hospital at 9:50 a.m., by
Justice of the Peace J.T. Marsh and her body was taken to Martinez Funeral
Injured in the accident were Paul Reyes, 19, who is listed in stable
condition at Reeves County Hospital and Sandra Escalante, 16, also of El
Paso, listed in stable condition, but transferred to Lubbock Methodist
Hospital by an Aerocare flight.
The accident happened when the vehicle, driven by Reyes, drove off the
roadway to the left side of the roadway near a curve while eastbound on
I-20. The driver overcorrected to the right, ran off the road into a barrow
ditch overturning two to three times.
Trooper Dan Woods of Pecos investigated the accident.
Area elections to be decided on Saturday
PECOS, May 5, 2000 - Area voters who have not already gone to the polls
will get one last chance to do so on Saturday, when local city, school
and hospital elections are held in Pecos and surrounding towns.
Contested elections in most local races resulted in early voting in
Pecos hitting its highest level since 1989, according to Debbie Thomas,
early voting clerk for the city, school and hospital district in Pecos.
A total of 1,402 people voted early by personal appearance, or just 200
fewer than cast votes early this year for city elections in Odessa.
Thomas was also expecting to get back another 250 to 260 ballots by
mail before Saturday's deadline.
Voters casting ballots on Saturday in Pecos for the city, Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
school and Reeves County Hospital District elections can do so at the Pecos
Community Center, 510 South Oak Street, while other towns will also have
voting locations opened on Saturday.
Toyah voters can cast their ballots for the city, school and hospital
elections at the Toyah City Hall, while Barstow voters can go to the Barstow
Community Center to vote in the P-B-T and city elections. In Orla, voters
can cast ballots in the school and hospital elections at the Red Bluff
Lake Office, while Saragosa residents can vote in the same two elections
at the city's multi purpose center.
Voters in the Balmorhea ISD and Balmorhea City elections can cast ballots
at the Balmorhea Fire Hall from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., while the hospital election
voting in Balmorhea will be at the Community Center.
This year's early voting in Pecos was the biggest 1989, when 1,592 individuals
cast their vote early. In 1990, the number was about 300 votes lower, at
1,279, and dropped by another 300 in 1991, when 981 people cast their votes
early. A total of 3,427 votes were cast in 1989, when the city races were
In this year's Town of Pecos City elections, mayor Dot Stafford will
be seeking a fourth two-year term and is being challenged by Ray Ortega.
In the council election, incumbents Danny Rodriguez and Ricky Herrera are
challenged by Hector "Tito" Roman.
The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD election has four candidates seeking the
two three-year terms up for election. Incumbent Steve Armstrong will be
joined in the May 6 race by challengers Paul Deishler, Steve Valenzuela
and David Flores.
In the Reeves County Hospital District election, the only contested
race is for the at-large seat, where incumbent Hiram "Greg" Luna is challenged
by Leo Hung. Precinct 1 incumbent Chel Florez and Precinct 3 incumbent
Jesse Prieto are unopposed in their bids for new two-year terms.
The names for the candidates in the city, school and hospital elections
are all on one single ballot for voters at the Pecos Community Center on
South Oak Street.
Barstow City Council voters will also have a contested election for
the first time in years, and Balmorhea will again have contested elections
in its city and school elections.
A total of 24 people voted early this year in the Balmorhea city election,
while more than twice that many, 53, cast their ballots early in the Balmorhea
school board race.
In the Balmorhea city races, incumbent mayor Ismael Rodriguez is being
challenged by councilman Danny Reynolds and Doug Maynard. Reynolds' seat
was one of two on the council up for election this year. The other incumbent,
Rosendo Galindo, is seeking another two-year term and will face challengers
Tammy Marmillon, Bertha Brijalba and Eddie Roman.
In the Balmorhea School Board election the three-year terms of Reyes
Castillo and Paul Matta are up. Matta has filed to seek another three-year
term and will be challenged by Dora Machuca, Tommy Ray Dominguez, Louis
Rene Contreras and Raymond Carrasco.
Barstow voters will have one contested race, with incumbents Robert
Ortega and Benny Avila facing challenger Pablo Navarette. Benny Hernandez
will be unopposed in the race for Barstow mayor, where incumbent Salvador
Villalobos opted against seeking another term.
Toyah city elections will be held this year. The mayor race is uncontested
with only Ann Marsh filing to run for mayor, while Paul Anthony Budlong,
Sharon Sanchez and Bart Sanchez signed up for the two available Toyah city
Senior contract addendum tops county agenda
PECOS, May 5, 2000 - Permian Basin Regional Planning Commission Senior
Citizens Service Contract Addendum will be the topic of discussion at the
regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting scheduled for Monday.
The group will meet at 10 a.m., on the third floor of the Reeves County
Courthouse and the public is invited to attend.
Commissioners will discuss Reeves County Telecommunications System and
advances from the general fund to cover reimbursement grant funds and 911.
The court will discuss and take action on several payments including,
Frank X. Spencer request for payment #8; DRG Architect's request for payment
#170, #172 and #175 and Banes General Contractors request for payment #13.
The payments are in conjunction with the on-going construction at the Reeves
County Detention Center.
Commissioners will discuss and take action on proposed package 201A
hot-mix asphalt paving and re-advertise lease for real property.
In addition, the group will discuss and take action on:
· Reports from various departments.
· Budget amendments and line-item transfers.
· Personnel and salary changes (RCDC, recreation department).
· Minutes from previous meetings.
· Semi-monthly bills.
· Spread on minutes: White Cap Industries, Inc. _ concrete for
the RCDC 1,000 bed addition project; Water district agreement between Town
of Pecos City and Reeves County; state travel management program and settlement
between Town of Pecos City and Reeves County.
Bonilla announces additional funds for ag programs
Congressman Henry Bonilla announced Thursday that the Agriculture Appropriations
Committee on which he serves has agreed to spend $121.305 million on boll
weevil and pink bollworm eradication programs, an increase of $6 million
over last year.
In addition $58 million was appropriated by the committee for three
other programs involving Wildlife Services, Grazing Land Conservation Initiative
and the Cattle Fever and Tick Eradication Program.
"Boll weevils and pink bollworms have been the scourge of farms in Texas
for the last century. Finally, success in wiping out these destructive
insects is in sight," Bonilla said in a press release.
The Wildlife Services program has gotten more into control of rabies
in wildlife animals and has worked with airports to control problems with
birds interfering with airplanes in recent years.
"These agriculture programs save money in the long run by helping our
produces be as productive and environmentally responsible as possible,"
Bonilla said. "For instance, it has been estimated that for every $1 spent
on the Tick Eradication Program, the county saves $121."
Services are incomplete for Tomas G. Ortiz, 69, of Pecos, who died Thursday,
May 4, 2000, in Phoenix, Ariz.
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, May 5, 2000 - High Thursday 103. Low this morning 60. Forecast for
tonight: Partly cloudy. Low in the lower 50s. South wind 10-20 mph. Saturday:
Partly cloudy and breezy. High in the lower 90s. Southwest wind 15-25 mph
and gusty. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Low 55-60. Sunday: Partly cloudy.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2000 by Pecos Enterprise