Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, May 22, 2001
Valuations soar for schools, county, RCH
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Tuesday, May 22, 2001 -- The continued rise in oil and gas prices
over the past year has translated into major increases in mineral valuations
for several local taxing entities, according to Reeves County Chief
Appraiser Carol King Markham. However, the resumption of a tax abatement
for Anchor West means the overall taxable valuations for the Town of
Pecos City are down for 2001.
Markham sent out notices this week to 32,748 property owners telling them
they can appeal their 2001 appraisals next month, during the Appraisal Review
Board hearings scheduled for June. But real estate valuations for local taxing
entities are mostly down for 2001, while mineral valuations jumped sharply,
according to Markham's office.
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD was the biggest gainer among local taxing entities,
thanks to the inclusion of oil and gas fields in the Barstow area of western
Ward County. The school district, which saw its valuations rise by $9 million
a year ago, saw its mineral valuations jump by over 60 percent this time
around, from $246.1 million to $397.8 million, $150.7 million over 2000's
supplemental appraisal total.
The increase more than offset the $952,770 loss in real estate valuations
recorded for the county by the tax appraiser's office, and left total valuations
within the school district's boundaries at $518.4 million.
The net increase of $149.8 million for the school district would translate
into an increase of about $2.2 million in tax collections, based on the district's
$1.50 tax rate per $100 in valuations.
The Reeves County Hospital District had the next biggest increase. It
gained $134.7 million in mineral valuations and $6.1 million in real estate
valuations, for a net gain of $140.9 million. Based on the current hospital
district tax rate, it would translate into an additional $493,000 in tax
collections during the upcoming year, if the valuations reported by Markham
remain the same following next month's appraisal review board hearings.
Reeves County also gained $134.7 million in mineral valuations, because
it shares the same taxing entity boundaries with the hospital district. Last
year, mineral valuations for the county and hospital district were up $3.4
Meanwhile, the county's real estate valuations dropped $1.9 million, leaving
the overall net gain at $132.8 million. Included in that loss is the $8.1
million tax abatement given to Anchor West, in connection with the expansion
of its plant in Pecos.
Based on the county's current tax rate, the increase would mean an additional
$757,000 in tax revenues for the fiscal 2002 budget. Total valuations for
Reeves County were put at $489 million by Markham, following the Anchor West
abatement, while the hospital districts' net valuations were put at $497.1
Without the land outside the city that the oil and gas is located under,
the Town of Pecos City didn't see the same increase in valuations, though
mineral valuations on land within the city limits was up $45,550 to $15.4
million. Real estate was valued at $108.3 million before the Anchor abatement,
and at $100.2 million after it was taken out.
Total taxable valuations for the city were $115.7 million, a drop of $613,870.
Based on the current tax rate, the city will lose about $43,500 in tax revenues
during the upcoming fiscal year. Last year, the city gained $3.1 million
in valuations, with $2.46 million of that from increased mineral valuations
Town of Pecos City was the only local taxing entity to see their valuations
fall in 2001. Toyah and Balmorhea both were up slightly according to Markham,
while the Balmorhea ISD saw their total taxable valuations jump 25 percent
and the Reeves County Water Improvement District No. 2 saw their totals more
than double thanks to mineral valuation rises.
Balmorhea ISD gained $7.1 million in valuations on minerals, while losing
$1.1 million in real estate valuations with the closing of the Brunswick-Roadmaster
bicycle warehouse east of Balmorhea last year. Overall, Balmorhea ISA valuations
were up just over $6 million, to $24.4 million this year.
RCWID No. 2 gained $7.3 million in mineral valuations and $31,000 in real
estate. The $7.4 million rise gave the water district total valuations of
$13.6 million for 2001, according to Markham's office.
Real estate valuations in the city of Balmorhea dipped by $13,390, but
mineral valuations rose $16,110 to give the city a net rise of $2,720, to
$3.5 million. Toyah lost $30,810 in valuations on appraised real estate,
but saw it mineral valuations jump by $277,420. The $246,610 net increase
gave the city total valuations of $1.67 million.
The appraisal review board will also hear any complaints about mineral
valuations when it meets next month. Markham said the notices being sent
out about the review board are not bills, and property owners do not have
to pay the amount listed on the form.
After the supplemental appraisal roll is certified following the review
board hearings and final decisions, the local taxing entities will be presented
with the numbers, which will then be used to determine their budgets and
tax rates for the fiscal 2002 year, which begins in October.
Area cities receive grants for water-related projects
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tuesday, May 22, 2001 -- Grant money procured by the Town of Pecos
City will be used towards improving local drainage, study and planning,
according to city manager Carlos Yerena.
"We received $50,000 from TDHC and are excited about receiving the funding,"
said Yerena, while Balmorhea and Toyah fared even better, as both received
$350,000 in grant money.
The grants were part of $57.8 million given out to cities and counties
as part of the Texas Community Development Program (TCDP) grants announced
by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA).
The 222 grants announced represent biennial funding from TDCP's Community
Development Housing Rehabilitation and Planning and Capacity Building funds,
as well as annual funding from both the Colonia Construction and Colonia
"We didn't receive as much as some of the neighboring cities, but we plan
to put the money to good use," said Yerena.
Yerena said the funds would go towards drainage, study and planning.
TCDP awards cities under 50,000 in population and counties under 200,000
in population federal Community Development Block Grants for public works,
housing, planning, and economic development projects. Financial assistance
is also available to certain counties for eligible activities in colonias,
substandard housing developments in unincorporated areas of the border region
typically lacking proper infrastructure. All TCDP projects must primarily
benefit low-to moderate-income households in accordance with TDHCA and U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development requirements.
Yerena said grant money is based on need and that this particular grant
was applied for by the former administration. "It was already in the works
when I came here, but most of these grants are based on need," said Yerena.
"We're just glad we received some funding."
The City of Balmorhea has big plans for their $350,000 grant, according
to city officials.
"We're going to use the funding for upgrading the water system, replacing
and installing new fire hydrants and we plan to loop all the streets together
(water lines)," said city water superintendent Luis Contreras.
He said that the city plans to install a storage tank in Toyahvale as
well. "Whatever funding we have left, all these major repairs, we plan to
use to upgrade smaller items," said Contreras. "It just depends on how much
we have left over after our plans are completed."
Toyah officials were unavailable to comment on the plans for using their
"These funds will provide or improve affordable housing and basic public
services for thousands of low-income Texans, necessities many of us take
too much for granted," said Daisy Stiner, TDHCA Executive Director. "Equally
important, these funds can also help smaller cities better plan for their
housing and public facilities needs in the future," she said.
Stiner said that because of the isolated nature and low population density
of rural communities, public facility improvements are more expensive per
capita than for urban and suburban communities. As a result, these communities
are often without the financial resources needed to issue bond debt for improvements.
"These grants are absolutely vital for Texas' smaller towns with limited
funding options," she said.
The Community Development Fund is awarded through a biennial competitive
application process and focuses principally on infrastructure needs such
as water, wastewater, drainage and road improvements. It is the largest of
TCDP's seven funds, accounting for $48.8 million of the $57.8 million in
grants announced by the Department.
The Housing Rehabilitation Fund awards grants through a biennial competition
for projects rehabilitating existing housing, with a particular emphasis
on projects that make existing housing accessible for persons with disabilities.
The Planning and Capacity Building Fund, also a biennial funding award, is
designed to improve a community by preparing for its future housing and infrastructure
The Colonia Construction and Colonia Planning funds are awarded annually
for eligible public facilities and planning activities benefiting low-and
moderate-income households living in an unincorporated area of a country
located within 150 miles of the Texas-Mexico border.
City working to repair problems at pool
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Tuesday, May 22, 2001 -- Town of Pecos City employees are working
on repairs and cleaning at the city's Athletic Pool, located next to
Rocket Park, in preparation for the summer.
Pecos Health and Sanitation Director Armando Gil said that they are currently
trying to clean the pool so they can repair the cracks pool floor.
Gil said that they are also going to paint the pool bed and around the
pool as well as repairing the pool ladders and lifeguard stands.
"We take every safety precaution," he said.
Gil said that they are trying to get all the repair and cleaning work
done in order to open the pool for the summer as soon as possible, though
he added that it won't be ready in time for the end of school this Friday,
and the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.
"We'll open on Wednesday (May 30), hopefully, if the weather permits,"
Gil said that the progress is moving slowly right now because of the recent
rain, high winds and the lack of manpower.
Gil said that he is waiting for the city personnel department to hire
the lifeguards as well as the manager of the pool.
He said that he wants to make sure the manager that is hired would take
full responsibility for the pool and the employees and once the manager is
chosen that he will expect a lot from that person.
Gil said that he does not want to bring in a person to manage the pool
that has not worked there in the past.
"It'll be somebody that is a lifeguard and has worked there before,"
During a previous Town of Pecos City Council meeting, Gil informed the
council that this could be the last year that the city would be able to use
the pool, He went on to explain today that the problem facing the city involves
the Texas Department of Health, which is in the process of changing the guidelines
for public swimming pools.
Gil said that once the changes are passed the city would not be able to
make on the necessary renovations.
"We won't be able to afford to put in what they want," he said.
Gil said that putting in a new pool tub would cost the city at least $500,000.
He said that City Manager Carlos Yerena is currently looking into some
state and federal grants that would help the city with the cost of a new
pool. But for now the city is looking forward to opening the Athletic Pool
Graduation rehearsal starting time moved to 9 a.m. on Friday
PECOS, Tuesday, May 22, 2001 -- Graduation rehearsal this Friday for Pecos
High School's Class of 2001 has been changed from 10 a.m. to 9 a.m.
All graduating seniors and participating parents need to be at Eagle
Stadium by 9 a.m. for the two-hour rehearsal.
The 2001 PHS Graduation Ceremonies will begin at 8 p.m., Friday at the
stadium. All graduating seniors need to report to the Eagle field house by
Questions regarding graduation rehearsal or ceremonies may be directed
to Sam Armstrong at Pecos High School, 447-7222.
In connection with Friday's graduation rehearsal and ceremony, the track
at Eagle Stadium will be closed to the public beginning at 1 p.m., Thursday
and continuing through Saturday morning.
High Monday 76. Low this morning 49. Forecast for tonight: Clear.
Low in the mid 50s. South wind 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday: Mostly sunny
and warmer. High in the mid 90s. West wind 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday night:
Mostly clear. Low in the upper 50s. Thursday: Partly cloudy. High in
the lower 90s. Friday and Saturday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid
to upper 50s. Highs in the mid to upper 80s.
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