Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, September 6, 2000
Cash questions focus of council meeting
Forgers take $19,000 from city's account
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, September 6, 2000 - Law enforcement officials on the west coast
are currently investigating theft by forgery in the amount of over $19,000
from the Town of Pecos City.
Bill Oglesby, cashier at Security State Bank, told the City Council
last night in a special meeting that the forgery has "involved, at this
point, three municipal accounts in Texas" including Pecos.
He said a woman seems to have opened at least two bank accounts at U.S.
Bank in Oregon with two different fraudulent identifications with the same
Finance Director for the city, Steve McCormick, assured the Council
and the public that this forgery was not a stolen check.
"There are no stolen checks from the city and there are no missing checks
from the city," McCormick said.
Oglesby said whoever counterfeited the check had somehow been in contact
with a city check long enough to scan it to get all the information on
the bottom of the checks.
"It wasn't like they stole a check, they made up a check," Oglesby said.
"It is a mystery of how the people got hold of a city check long enough
to scan it."
McCormick said the counterfeiters were able to purchase check stock
and magnetic ink to duplicate a check to look like the city's checks.
Oglesby said he has been told that it is a possibility that a Nigerian
group is behind these forgeries and at one point the secret service was
called in but in not currently working on this case.
"There has to be a mastermind to this forgery," he said. "They went
through a tremendous amount of work."
Oglesby said the forgers only had a little window of time from when
they deposited the check and when the city received the check back. He
said these people must have known what they were doing to be able to move
the money out of that account before the city was able to realize what
Although the check was written on a bank in Oregon, police in California
are overseeing the investigation, council members were told. A second check
forgery for a larger amount was discovered before a payment was made.
Oglesby said he is not sure how big this situation is and how many banks
and accounts are involved. He believes that whoever counterfeited the checks
knew what they would do when they came across a city check.
Oglesby said he is waiting to speak to the investigator on this case
to get more information on what happened and if the city will be able to
get the stolen money back.
People with checking and credit card accounts should check statements
as soon as possible and reconcile the bank statements as well, Oglesby
He also suggested tearing up or shredding checks and statements when
people are finished with them to try and prevent forgers from getting hold
of signatures and check account numbers.
Sewer rate hike linked to fight over payment
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, September 6, 2000 - Town of Pecos City Finance Director Steve
McCormick informed City Council members Tuesday that proposed water and
sewer rates might have to be raised an extra 20 percent for the upcoming
McCormick's statement came in a special meeting of the council, after
the city asked Searcy Willis of Willis, Graves & Associates, Inc.,
to come up with a current rate estimate.
McCormick said his estimate has been determined under the assumption
that Reeves County pays the city over $400,000 a year under an agreement
signed earlier this year in connection with city water to be used at the
Reeves County Detention Center.
The county signed a contract with the city on March 27 agreeing to pay
the city $4 million for water for the next 10 years. The payments are to
be broken down to $422,320 per year for every year of the contract.
"Agreement, the County hereby agrees to reimburse the City over the
first ten (10) years of this Agreement $4 million plus interest accrued
at the rate of 1 percent annually (Advanced Payments). On or before August
30 of each year, the County will pay $422,320 to the City," according to
the contract between the city and county.
McCormick informed the council that the county did not pay the $400,000
by the Aug. 30 deadline, which may affect the city's ability to get state
loans for construction of its new water field.
He explained that the city must be able to prove to the state that they
can pay on the loans they are applying for to construct the South Worsham
Water Well Field before they are approved.
McCormick said the city planned to use the first payment from the County
to prove that they could pay back the loan, but since they did not receive
a payment might have to raise water and sewer rates to cover it.
"In negotiations (with the city) we agreed to pay the $422,000 a month
before the initial payment was due," County Judge Jimmy Galindo said.
But he added that the county has other commitments and it would take
from this past July to next July to be able to raise the funds to pay the
$422,000. However, Galindo reaffirmed that the county would make its payment
a month before the city's payment to the state is due.
Replying to McCormick's explanation of needing proof of the ability
to pay, Galindo said the water contract should be enough.
"I don't think there is better proof than the contract that we will
pay," he said.
City Attorney Scott Johnson said the contract states that the county
needs to pay each year by August 30.
"I believe that the contract is pretty clear," Johnson said. "It says
they have to pay each year of the contract and this is the first year of
Galindo said he agrees that they must pay by August 30 but said he believed
the first payment should come only after the city receives the loan. He
said he believes there has been a lack of communication between the city
and county and is willing to discuss the contract and agreements further.
The proposed water and sewer rates from the water rate study compiled
by Willis have increases for all but one type of city water and sewer user.
According to the proposed figures, most of the increase occurs in the
sewer rates with the majority of the water rates staying the same or decreasing.
The minimum monthly bill would rise 6 percent, with an 8 percent sewer
rate hike more than offsetting a 19 percent water rate decline.
Under the proposed rates for the average residential usage the water
rates would decrease by two percent, but the sewer rates would increase
by 84 percent for a total increase of 21 percent or $6.72 a month.
The large residential usage water rate would increase by three percent
and the sewage rate would increase by 159 percent for a total increase
of 25 percent, or $21.09 a month.
Commercial users of 40,000 gallons would see a water rate decrease of
one percent and a sewage increase of 219 percent increase totaling to a
38 percent increase, or $38.08 a month
Commercial users of 100,000 gallons would have the water rate increase
by four percent and have a sewer rate increase of 280 percent totaling
to a 45 percent increase, which would equal $107.99 a month.
The water rates for the Reeves County Detention Center would remain
unchanged, but sewer rates would rise 338 percent, for a 45 percent overall
increase. That would cost the county an additional $4,110.96 monthly under
the city's proposal.
McCormick said people using the minimum usage would probably not see
an increase in rates.
Parade floats, operators sought for fiestas
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, September 6, 2000 - Music, dancers, food and more are all part
of the festivities planned for the Annual 16th of September
Fiestas, set for the weekend of Sept. 15-16.
The will kick off at 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 15, in the parking lot in
front of Santa Rosa Catholic Church, 620 E. 4th.
On Saturday, the fiestas will begin with a parade scheduled for 10 a.m.
Entries for the parade are still needed and those who want to participate
in the annual event can contact Octavio Garcia or Prescilla Lara at city
"We have a few entries already, but welcome more," said Garcia.
NewsWest 9 will be on hand for the annual parade, along with KMRK-96.1
D.J. Patsy Casas.
Some church groups will have floats in the parade this year, as will
the 16th of September Queen candidates.
"We're having a lot of new things this year," said church secretary
She added that a maximum of 21 booths can be set up inside the parking
lot, and only nine are left. "If anyone wants to have a booth, they need
to come sign up or call us here at the church," said Vasquez.
Dancers from Ojinaga and Presidio will be on hand as part of the entertainment,
along with a special performance from "matachines" from El Paso.
Foods booths offering gorditas, pizza, corn on the cob, tripitas and
more will be set up. Other booths will sell toys, snow cones, all kinds
of beverages and other items, while activities going on inside Santa Rosa
"We're very excited and hope everyone comes out and joins us for some
fun and food," said Vasquez.
Anyone interested in having a booth at the fiestas can call 445-2309.
PHA board approves landscaping project
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, September 6, 2000 - Landscaping will be part of a facelift planned
for the Pecos Housing Authority's eastside apartments, board members decided
The PHA Board gave executive director Nellie Gomez the go ahead for
the proposed project to landscape the eastside apartments, which will include
construction of sidewalks and additional parking area.
The board approved the project during their regular meeting, which was
postponed from last week.
"We'll start doing that in phases," Gomez said of the project.
The first phase will involve building the additional parking area and
sidewalks. After that, the project will go into fencing and landscaping.
"We're going to start in the area down Orange Street, the apartments
on Orange," said Gomez.
Two other items on the agenda were put on hold until Pecos Mayor Ray
Ortega is able to attend the meeting.
"They decided to table those until we can meet with the mayor," said
The two items tabled were a cooperative agreement with the Town of Pecos
City and the PHA Annual Contributions Contract.
In other business, the board listened to a review by Donald J. LaVoy,
Director of the Real Estate Assessment U.S. Dept. of HUD, regarding the
PHA advisory Public Assessment System (PHAS) Score for FY 1999.
"We scored kind of low this time," said Gomez. "But we're doing some
renovations and modifications, and this was just an advisory score."
All monthly reports were approved for the PHA portion of the meeting.
In the Farm Labor Housing portion of the meeting the board approved
purchasing three dryers from PHA to be used by the Farm Labor Housing laundromat.
A review proposal from Vaughn Architects Plus Proposal for architectural
services was tabled until the board hears from Rural Development, according
Fundraiser to help pay for medical expenses
PECOS, September 6, 2000 - A fundraiser will be held Friday to help out
with medical expenses for a community member.
An enchilada plate sale for Annabelle T. Matta will be held beginning
at 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., Friday, at the Reeves County Sheriff's Posse
Plates will $4 and deliveries will be made on two plates or more.
To order call 445-3400.
Ruby Nelle Barfield, 81, of Pecos, died Monday, Sept. 4, 2000, at Midland
Services are scheduled for 10 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 7, at the Pecos
Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. L.H. Woodard officiating. Burial will be
in Mt. Evergreen Cemetery.
She was born March 4, 1919, in Canadian, Texas, had lived in Pecos since
1951, was a homemaker and a Methodist.
She was preceded in death by her husband, John O. Barfield and one daughter,
Barbara Nelle Fonville.
Survivors include one son, John Barfield of Garden City; five grandchildren
and six great-grandchildren.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the
Pecos Senior Center or the American Lung Association.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, September 6, 2000 - High Tuesday 105. Low this morning 69. Forecast
for tonight: Clear. Low 65-70. East wind 5-15 mph. Thursday: Sunny. High
in the mid 90s. East wind 5-15 mph. Thursday night: Clear. Low in the mid
60s. Friday: Mostly sunny and clear at night. Low in the mid 60s. High
in the mid 90s.
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