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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

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Friday, July 28, 2000

Commissioners approve Gomez' pay hike request

Staff Writer

PECOS, July 28, 2000 - Reeves County Commissioners granted Sheriff Andy Gomez request of a salary increase for his staff after long debate in a special meeting of the Commissioner's Court Thursday.

The pay raises for the Sheriff's Department will go into affect on August 5.

In a letter addressed to the Commissioners, Gomez stated that he has invested years of time and money to train and retain a qualified staff but is having trouble due to low salaries compared to workers at the Reeves County Detention Center.

"I am in danger of losing my entire staff due to salaries," he said. "My staff is demanding equal pay for equal work."

"I declare this to be an emergency," Gomez said.

At the meeting, the room was full of Sheriff's Department employees. All believe that they should receive the raise since the RCDC staff recently received raises.

Judge Jimmy Galindo started the meeting by referring to the Commissioner's recent budget workshop.

"There is absolutely no question to be able to fund this salary issue it will take a team effort," he said.

"We have to regroup and understand what we need to do to have the salary increases."

Galindo talked about the proposed jail expansion to house more U.S. Marshall Service prisoners.

By talking about the jail expansion Galindo explained that looking at what would happen in the long run would help support future salary raises.

Galindo also discussed the possibility of the county purchasing a bus for transportation of prisoners.

"We have an opportunity to by a decent bus," he said. "I think that would be a good investment in the long run."

Galindo asked the Commissioners to consider these possible opportunities for increasing revenues and allowing for salary raises throughout the county in the future.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Gilberto "Hivi" Rayos said the discussion should not be on the possible expansion but on the possibility of losing the Sheriff's Department staff.

"Before we expand we need to keep our jailors and deputies," he said. "I think we'll be in trouble if we expand and can't hire any employees because of low salaries."

Rayos offered the option of canceling the construction of the racquetball courts for the Reeves County Recreation Department. Ground blading work already has been done on the site, located next to the old Pecos High School gym.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Felipe Arredondo said the money for that project comes from fees not the county budget.

"That investment betters the community," Galindo added.

Arredondo then asked Gomez it is fair to say equal pay for equal work referring to whether or not the Sheriff's Department does equally dangerous work as the RCDC staff.

Gomez replied that his staff deals with higher risk inmates than the RCDC.

"Out there they deal with inmates that have already been sentenced," he said.

"We deal with prisoners on their way to trial, they then try to escape more."

Precinct 2 Commissioner David Castillo asked Gomez if the proposed salary increase puts his department at the same levels as the RCDC. Castillo also wondered how these salaries compare to salaries across the state.

The Commissioners were told that Reeves County salaries are at a very competitive level with jails across the state.

"We can be competitive with other applicants," Castillo said.

Gomez said he did not want to deal with new applicants.

"I'm not looking to getting applicants, I'm looking to keeping what I have," Gomez said.

"I don't mind giving out raises but I also don't mind raising the standards," Castillo said.

Gomez responded by assuring the Commissioners that his staff is willing to work harder than needed.

"We have the commitment, we're going to do our job," he said.

Galindo said he believes this is an emergency because of the possibility of losing trained and experienced employees.

"We got to work at it as a team, that's the only way for this to work," he said.

Gomez said he thought the meeting went very well.

"I think my staff go a well deserved raise," he said. "The court did the right thing, cause they knew it needed to be done."

Castillo said he thinks the Sheriff's Department is doing a good job. He said the department should be challenged to be bigger and better, especially the administration.

"You have to put a challenge to the administration and I'm confident they will rise to that challenge," he said.

"There's opportunity there for the Sheriff's office to become an integral part of the revenue (stream)."

The court also approved the list recommended by County Clerk Dianne Florez for election judges and clerks for the year of 2000-01.

Then the court received an update on the waterline construction to the RCDC by Town of Pecos City Water Superintendent Octavio Garcia.

Garcia told commissioners that there have been many problems in laying the waterline but things are picking up and they should be done in three weeks.

The new line will make a direct connection to the RCDC from the city waterlines.

Garcia also reported that since Pecos has gone under a mild water conservation plan, the city has been using more water than ever.

The Commissioners all said if Garcia needed any help at all to call on them and they will help get what's needed done.

PHA holds first meeting in new offices

Staff Writers

PECOS, July 28, 2000 - The Pecos Housing Authority (PHA) and the Pecos Farm Labor Housing (FLH) Commission met last night in the new PHA/FLH Administration Office at 2320 Teague St.

The new PHA administration offices are in the old Pecos Airbase Apartments office building. It's one of only two buildings remaining from the Airbase Apartments, which were build during World War II to house soldiers at the Pecos Army Airfield. The apartments then served as public housing before being torn down in 1990.

Commissioners Frank Perea, Ray Golden, Sandra Lira, Albert Alvarez, and Juanita Davila sit on both the PHA and FLH boards and Nellie Gomez serves as executive director for both groups as well.

The Farm Labor Housing commission was called to order first with one topic on the agenda _ to approve the monthly reports for July, which the commissioners did.

"We just needed to approve our monthly bookkeeping," Gomez said.

"Right now we have a full house of migrant workers and all of our units are full," she said.

Gomez said that the FLH is waiting for funding from the Rural Economic Development Agency to renovate the 56 FLH units located at 300 West County Road.

Our priority there is air conditioning, she said. Gomez said that she expects the funding to come through in the near future.

The PHA was called to order after the FLH was adjourned.

According to Gomez the Authority processed the necessary forms to collect a $269,000 grant the Authority applied for from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Gomez said the grant would go toward renovating all three PHA complexes in Pecos _ Southside, Eastside and the Second Street complex.

"The money will be used for renovations within the buildings and also for landscaping and playground equipment," she said.

The Authority also approved a payment of $85,467 to Fenix Constructors for renovations at the new offices.

The payment was the ninth to Fenix, which was awarded a contract for general renovations on PHA properties including the work at the new offices on Teague Street.

"The offices are beautiful," Gomez said. "We will begin moving in next week."

Board told tax hike would boost state aid

Staff Writer

PECOS, July 28, 2000 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members approved a contract for air conditioning and heating repairs at Bessie Haynes Elementary, approved minor changes to the student handbook and code of conduct, and held a brief budget workshop during a special meeting Thursday in the school board meeting room.

Superintendent Don Love presented members with budget figures showing the district would run a $159,000 deficit for the 2000-2001 school year if the current $143.71 tax rate were maintained, while an increase to $1.50 per $100 valuation would result in a projected surplus of just under $55,000.

Love said more importantly, the increase would allow the school district to collect as much as $953,000 in additional state aid during the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 school years.

"It's not anything we can spend next year, but for 2000-2001 we're looking at a little less than $1 million extra we would receive from the State of Texas," Love said. "It (the proposed tax increase) won't help us a bit next year, except in the extra taxes we receive."

Love said other factors could affect the final state payment to the school district, but that the district could count on getting "$600,000 and up," in extra funds starting with the 2001-2002 school year.

He said the district was planning for state aid totaling $9,830,000 for the upcoming year, based on estimated district enrollment of 2,687.591 students. Certain state funds also depend on the number of students in the special education, career and technology and gifted and talented programs, Love added.

He said the current budget includes funding for the Bessie Haynes HVAC project, along with two roofing projects at Pecos High School and the PHS Field House, and the purchase of two new school buses.

The Bessie Haynes HVAC project for the school's computer lab was awarded to the Bosworth Co. of Midland for $35,665. It was the second lowest of the four bids received by the school district, behind National Air Conditioning/Plumbing of Odessa, which bid $34,359.

However, Love said after checking with the district's attorneys and with project consultants CRC Engineering, they opted to recommend the Bosworth bid be accepted.

"They did not submit their bid on the paper bid form, so we're not sure on any change order what t he percentage of overhead on any additional work," Love said, "But the No. 1 thing was the number of days to finish the project. There were no number of days here (on National's bid form)."

The other two bids were from Darville for $38,510 and from Pecos Air Conditioning, for $40,000.

Pecos High School assistant principal Benny Hernandez discussed the changes to the handbook, which dealt with specifying students know about the rules in the handbook section for Uniform Regulations and Inspection Notes for the Pecos Band Department.

Both the HVAC and handbook items were approved unanimously by the board, which had the minimum four members needed for a quorum at Thursday's meeting. Board members Frank Apolinar, Billie Sadler and Steve Valenzuela were not at the meeting.

Following a 15-minute executive session to discuss personnel, Love recommended the board accept the retirement of Paul Snelson, a math teacher at Pecos High School, effective Aug. 31. Also recommended and approved by the board were the hiring of Marcia McCormick as a fourth grade teacher at Bessie Haynes and Debra Nickens as a sixth grade teacher at Zavala Middle School. McCormick has degrees from the University of Texas and 16 years teaching experience, while Nickens is a new teacher, with degrees from he University of Texas-Permian Basin.

Task force helps Ward deputies in drug bust

Staff Writer

PECOS, July 28, 2000 - Ward County Sheriff's Deputies in conjuction with the Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force confiscated 20 pounds of marijuana from a Monahans man during a routine traffic stop on Tuesday.

Deputies Ron Howard and Juan Rodriguez stopped Lazaro Brito-Villa, 53, on State Highway 18 near the Ward County Coliseum on the south side of Monahans for driving over the 55-mph speed limit.

After stopping, Villa gave the deputies consent to search his vehicle.

A K-9 unit searched the car and found the drugs in the back seat.

The street value of the drugs is $600 per pound.

Villa was charged with possession of marijuana over five pounds and under 50 pounds, a third degree felony, and is in custody in the Ward County Jail.

Deadline Monday to apply for post of district clerk

Monday will be the final day the Reeves County Democratic Party will be accepting names for consideration for the unexpired term of 143rd District Clerk Juana Jaquez.

County Democratic Party chairman Bobby Dean said because Jaquez resigned in the middle of her current term, the party has the right to select a candidate to be placed on the November general election ballot. He said a candidate could also request consideration for placement on the ballot as a Republican in November.

Jaquez' deputy, Pat Tarin, took over earlier this year after Jaquez resigned her position.

Resumes for candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for 143rd District Clerk can be given to Lyndia Thomas at 2028 S. Alamo St. during the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. between now and Monday.


Mariellen Dickerson Peyton

Mariellen Dickerson Peyton, 88, died Friday, July 28, 2000, in Granbury.

Peyton was born on November 9, 1911 in Cleburne.

She was married to Daniel Hendricks Peyton, who preceded her in death.

She spent her childhood in Cleburne, and after her marriage in 1940, the couple moved to Pecos.

After receiving a BA from Texas State College for Women, Peyton pioneered her love of art into a lifelong career as a self-taught architectural and interior designer.

She is survived by three daughters, Susan Peyton Silliman, Ellen Peyton Weinacht and Lisa Peyton Fielder; two sisters, Jessie Mae (Ted) Cousins and Rebecca Nell Dickerson; grandchildren Lou Ellen Lewis Weinacht, Jennifer Weinacht Willigrod, Daniel Peyton Fielder and Timothy Lambert Fielder and four great grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m., on Monday, July 31 at the First Christian Church in Pecos. The Rev. Clark Ford will officiate.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be sent to the American Heart Association, 7272 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, TX 75231-4596.


PECOS, July 28, 2000 - High Thursday 102. Low this morning 79. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low near 70. Southeast to south wind 5-15 mph. Saturday: Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. High in the mid 90s. North to northeast wind 5-15 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Low 65-70. Sunday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Low in the upper 60s. High in the lower 90s.

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