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February 15, 2001

City faces lawsuit over annexation plan

Staff Writer

PECOS, February 15, 2001 - Town of Pecos City could face a lawsuit if they continue with plans to annex sections of land within the current Pecos city limits, council members were told during the second day of a public hearing on the issue.
Community members and business owners attended the public hearing on possible annexation by this city this morning in Council Chambers at City Hall, and most voiced opposition to the plan.
The hearings, held Wednesday and today, were to community members and business owners had the chance to question the council about why the annexation is being considered, and many of those present said they were against becoming a part of the city and having to pay city taxes.
Walter Holcomb, representing several community members, asked the council to consider dropping the annexation after hearing the public comments, adding that if they vote to continue the annexation plan, they should prepare for a lawsuit.
City Attorney Scott Johnson said that the city would not respond to threats and told Holcomb to begin the paperwork for the lawsuit.
Birdie Slack said that to add taxes to the businesses on Highway 80 would cause more troubles on the already bad state of the businesses on that highway.
"It's really a pretty dead street to add more taxes to," she said.
Slack said she has a business on that highway that is currently struggling to stay afloat and would surely have more problems if it is annexed and new taxes are added.
Slack also lives in a part of the country that would be annexed.
"I've always loved living in the country," she said, and would not like being a part of the city.
Hugh Box asked the council if they planned on annexing all the land that is set right now or if they would consider dropping some properties.
"Are you going to take one or take all?" he asked.
City Manager Carlos Yerena assured Box that the purpose of the hearing is to allow the community to make their statements on what should be annexed and what should not be.
"We're not making decisions right now," he said.
Box said that the annexation would not help businesses by adding more taxes.
"It's not really going to help businesses in Pecos," he said. "You wanted Pecos to grow, we're going to have to clean it up."
Box said that many people have commented to him that they believe Pecos is a good town but that it is dirty and that needs to be taken care of.
"We're going to have to clean it up if we want to make it grow," he said.
Another concern that many community members have had is the land that their animals are housed on that would become part of the city and subject to city ordinances.
Johnson said that a grandfather clause would go into effect once the annexation ordinance was passed.
He explained that any animals legally housed on land right now could continue to be housed legally.
"That provides that any use of the property that is legal at the time of annexation will continue to be legal and authorized," he said.
Mayor Ray Ortega told the community members that there are some benefits to being annexed into the city.
He said they include having city services (water, sewer, and garbage disposal) available at half the price they are currently paying.
Yerena said that the city has not had a major annexation in many years and needed to be looked at in order to help the community. He that all the land that would possibly be annexed already has infrastructure and would have all the city services available.
Yerena also said that the city has been looking at the annexation in order to manage the growth in the perimeter of the city.
Johnson said that he believes the decrease in the utility costs would make up for the additional taxes.
"By my calculations it should be close to equal tradeoff," he said.
"In the end their taxes may go up but they'll be paying less for water, sewer and garbage disposal," Yerena said.
Yerena said that the next step in the annexation process is for the council to decide what they would be annexing.
"This was just to get feedback from the public and allow them to make their comments," he said.

Hunting plan, lease weighed by Red Bluff

Staff Writer

PECOS, February 15, 2001 - Red Bluff Water Power Control Board members approved the 2000 audit report and discussed a lease rate for property in Pecos and the possibility of allowing duck hunting at the lake, during their regular monthly meeting on Monday in Pecos.
Board members were given the audit report in January by auditor Randy Graham, but waited until Monday to vote on accepting the report.
"I told them their cash position was $300,000 less then for the same period last year, but their still financially in very, very good shape," Graham said.
The district's cash position is down to about $600,000, with the decline due to the costs connected with the repairs and gate replacement at Red Bluff Dam. "They've still got a lot more expenses to pay, but they're in good shape to handle it. They've been building up their reserves for a while to do this."
Orion Construction out of Houston has been working at the dame since late last year pouring new concrete for the valves and tunnel lining in preparation for the installation of the new sluce gates at the 65-year-old dam.
Red Bluff General Manager Jim Ed Miller said "They'll be through by the (March) 15th," which is 15 days before the April 1 deadline, when the first water releases downstream are scheduled to begin.
"The people down below will have it grouted by Thursday," Miller said, after which electricians will go in to install the motors for the dam's new gates.
The board spent the longest amount of time at the meeting discussing a proposal to allow duck hunting in designated areas of the lake, but took no action on the matter.
Phillip Dickerson, the new area Private Lands Wildlife Biologists for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, first discussed the plan with board members back in August. At that time Dickerson suggested the board either allow Red Bluff to be added to the TP&W's leased hunting land program, in which hunters paying a $40 permit are allowed into selected sites across Texas, or, allow sections of the lake to be part of the general state duck hunting area, which requires a $15 permit.
He said under the first plan, TP&W could pay Red Bluff up to two times the ad valorem tax rate for use of their land
Dickerson focused on a flooded area on the northeast end of the lake he said would be best for hunting, though other areas would be included. However, board members Lloyd Goodrich and Teresa Walker questioned how safe it would be to allow hunting on the lake.
"There's nothing to stop anything on that lake," Goodrich said, referring to the possibility of stray shots that could injure someone.
"There could be a designated safety zone where there would be no shooting, for a quarter mile or whatever," Dickerson said. "You could put a wooden post with a map at the boat ramp. I don't envision there being any conflicts with the people who live there."
"Who's going to patrol to see if they (hunters) stay where they're supposed to?" Walker asked. "He (Game Warden Jim Allen) got a big area to patrol and won't be up there all the time."
"I'd like to see it kept away from housing," said Miller, who suggested if the board votes to approve the plan it be limited to the east side of the lake and away from Red Bluff Dam. The board voted to table the item and put in on March's agenda.
Also tabled was action on a request by Kevin Duke to lease the former Chevron Station and Ninth and Cedar streets for a used car lot. Duke discussed the item with the board in January and sent in his proposal, which would be a $100 per month lease under a one-year contract.
Miller raised concerns that the district could end up losing money under the plan. "It's a rather ticklish situation. We're not being taxed right now, and I don't know if this would trigger that," he said.
Board member Charlotte Wilcox suggested the board make a counter offer of $200 per month rent, plus any property taxes if the land does become subject to taxation. Miller suggested, and the board agreed to get a lawyer's opinion on the tax ramifications before taking any further action.
Board members also agreed, at the request of Goodrich, to sell a surplus Johnson pump motor at the lake to the Loving County WID at a cost of $50. The pumps had been used to supply water to homes at the lake, but the board voted to discontinue that practice late last year to avoid having to meet state requirements on water purity for water supplied to residences.
The board also approved cash disbursements, accounts payable and the quarterly investment report on Monday. No action was taken on a request to supply Conoco, Inc. with water for drilling in the company's new Culberson County field, after John Grubbs of Conoco did not show up for the meeting.

Chamber preparing for Peruvian group's concert

Staff Writer

PECOS, February 15, 2001 - Tickets are currently available at the Pecos Chamber of Commerce office for a special performance by the group "Wayanay Inka," scheduled for next week at the Reeves County Civic Center.
"I think we'll have a good turnout," said Dick Alligood, during the regular meeting of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Along with the performance by "Wayanay Inka," a special VIP reception to be held before the concert begins. The reception is scheduled from 6-7 p.m., with the concert set to begin at 7 p.m.
Visitors to the Rivercenter Mall in San Antonio have probably heard the group perform on the mall's island stage, and they have also been heard at other locations in and around the San Antonio area. "Wayanay Inka," composed of Jose Albornoz, Gerardo Tovar, Luis Tovar, and Dante Montoya, was founded in 1984. This group is originally from Peru, heart of the Inka culture in South America.
"Wayanay" means swallow. It is also the name of an ancient rural community located in the heights of the Andes, far removed from the reaches of technology.
"Wayanay Inka" has established an international reputation as among the finest and most exciting exponents of Andean music, performing music of the Andes Mountains and all of Latin America. Although most of the time the group plays Andean songs, their repertoire is broad, ranging from classical music to traditional songs of several countries to the rock `n' roll of the Beatles and Paul Simon.
"If you enjoy any type of music, you will greatly enjoy this group," said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tom Rivera. "Please join us on Feb. 23, at the civic center, for a most enjoyable evening."
"We already have a layout at the civic center and VIP tickets available," said Alligood.
Alligood told the group that those businesses that purchase VIP packages, would be recognized in the newspaper and on the radio.
"The extra tickets you have can go to students," said Alligood.
Band students are invited to the special event and tickets will come from sponsors.
A reception will be held before the concert with hors d'oeuvres and wine and the group visiting with concertgoers. "But when the concert begins and the students start coming in there will be no alcohol," said Alligood.
Tickets are $10 for VIP and $5 for general admission and can be purchased at the chamber office, 111 S. Cedar or by calling 915-445-2406.

Task force assists in arrest of men, juvenile in Odessa

Staff Writer

PECOS, February 15, 2001 - Three men and one juvenile were arrested in Ector County on drug charges on Valentine's Day, following an investigation conducted by several agencies.
On Wednesday officers with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, Presidio County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Border Patrol and Ector County Sheriff's office ended an investigation with the arrest of the four. The three adults were identified as Ruben De La Torre Valvidia, 55, Arturo Valvidia Martinez, 54, and Martin Hernandez Marquez, 46. They were charged with possession of marijuana over five pounds and less than 50 pounds, a third degree felony.
All three adults are currently in the Ector County Jail, while the male juvenile arrested with Valaidia, Martinez and Marquez was taken to the Ector County Juvenile Detention Center.
"We're very proud of the work our officers do, and they go all out in helping other agencies," said Task Force Commander Gary Richards.
Richards said that helping other agencies is just one of the many duties of the officers of the task force. "We're fighting crime everywhere in West Texas," said Richards. "Our officers are always being helpful and often provide assistance, apart from their regular duties."

High school hosts program tonight on financial aid

PECOS, February 15, 2001 - Financial Aid Night is set for 6:30 p.m., today at the Pecos High School Cafeteria.
The program will be presented by Dr. Ronny Barnes, with the Panhandle-Plains Higher Education District.
There will be a drawing for $100 Scholarship given out during the event. All parents with senior students are encouraged to attend.
The event is sponsored by PHS Counselors Eva Arriola and Pat Cobos. For more information call 447-7229.

Bears to face Ira in Abilene playoff game

PECOS, February 15, 2001 - The Balmorhea Bears will face the Ira Bulldogs in a Class A Division II sectional girls basketball playoff game at 6 p.m. on Friday at Abilene High School.
Balmorhea advanced to the sectional game with a victory on Tuesday over Sanderson, while Ira defeated Trent in overtime in their first round playoff game. The winner will face either Utopia or Brooksmith on Saturday in Abilene. Brooksmith will face Utopia in the second game of Friday's sectional doubleheader.


Hazel Adkins and Christina Natividad


PECOS, February 15, 2001 - High Wednesday 62. Low this morning 47. Rainfall last 24 hours at Texas A&M Experiment Station .01 inch. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low in the lower 30s. Northwest wind 10 to 20 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. High in the mid 60s. Variable wind 5 to 15 ph. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the upper 20s. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid to upper 30s. Highs in the mid 60s.

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