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Tuesday, September 4, 2001

Rollback election early voting starts for P-B-T schools

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tues., Sept. 4, 2001 -- Early voting will begin tomorrow for the tax rollback elections for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, an election the district is required to have following the adoption of the tax rate that will bring in about $2 million in additional revenues to the school district this year.

The rollback election is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 22, but voters who would like to take advantage of voting early can do so from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., at the Community Center, located next door to the Pecos Police Department, beginning on Wednesday an continuing through Sept. 18.

Increases in oil and gas valuations between 2000 and 2001 is the reason for the increase in tax revenues, but P-B-T Superintendent Don Love said under Texas' school funding law, the district will lose that $2 million in state revenues beginning with the 2002-2003 school year. As a result, Love asked the P-B-T school board to maintain the current $1.50 per $100 in valuation tax rate, even though to do so automatically forced this month's rollback election.

"If a taxing unit other than a school district adopted a tax rate that exceeds the rollback rate, voters in the unit may petition for an election on the tax increase," said Love, during a recent school board meeting. "School districts are required to hold automatic rollback elections _ without the petition process _ to ratify their current year's rate, if the school boards adopt tax rates above their rollback rates."

Should voters approve the rollback rate, school district taxes would be cut by 32 cents per $100 valuation, and could only be raised back up at a rate of six cents per year.

"On Aug. 7, at the meeting to adopt the 2001-2002 budget, the Board of Trustees adopted a tax rate of $1.50 that is the same tax rate that was adopted for the 2000-2001 budget," said Love. "Because of a loss of 145 students in average daily attendance (ADA) and the 2001 certified appraised value overall increase of $139,941,460, the tax rate to maintain the same level of maintenance and operations revenue is $1.18081."

That is the highest tax rate the board may adopt without requiring voter approval.

P-B-T ISD actually lost $1,541,200 in real estate values this past year, but gained $141,482,660 in mineral values for a total net taxable gain of $139,041,460. The only taxpayers that will be paying more next year are the oil and gas mineral taxpayers, Love explained.

The ballot language states voting for or against ratifying the adopted tax rate, rather than limiting the rate to the rollback rate. If a simple majority of the votes cast in the election favor the adopted tax rate, then the adopted tax rate stands. If the voters disapprove the adopted rate, the school district's rollback rate would be the adopted tax rate. Following the election results, the school district will mail its current year's tax bills.

The board will set a date to canvass the election returns at the regular September board meeting next week. The votes will be canvassed and certified sometime during the week of Sept. 25, and the district will mail statements between Oct. 1 and Oct.15. The total estimated cost to conduct the rollback election is between $7,000 and $8,000.

The average homeowner will not be paying more for 2001 taxes, according to Love.

P-B-T is one of 17 school districts in Texas holding rollback elections because of sharp increases in their tax collections from a year ago. Rankin ISD will be the first to hold its tax rollback election, on Wednesday.

Hunter in stable condition after accidential shooting

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tues., Sept. 4, 2001 -- A Pecos man is listed in stable conditions today after being accidentally shot in a hunting accident on Sunday in Pecos County.

Don Alligood, 34, was taken by private vehicle to Reeves County Hospital, then transferred to Medical Center Hospital in Odessa following the 9 a.m. shooting on Sunday. According to Reeves County Game Warden Jim Allen, Alligood was with a group of dove hunters on a farm field about 20 miles northeast of Fort Stockton, near the Pecos-Reeves County line, when the accident occurred.

"He was struck in the upper left torso and in the upper left arm by shotgun pellets. The shooter whose gun accidentally discharged was a juvenile," Allen said.

Saturday was the first day of dove hunting season in Texas, and hunters were out across the Trans-Pecos area and throughout the state on Labor Day weekend. The group Alligood was with had spent Saturday morning hunting and went to Balmorhea for the annual Labor Day Festival there, before returning to their campsite.

Alligood is listed in stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit at Odessa Medical Center. Some poly-capster from the shotgun shell was taken out this morning, but no surgery was required.

Allen said the shooting "was completely accidental. After investigating, there will be no criminal violations filed."

Pecos man killed in Sunday morning rollover

Staff Writer
PECOS, Tues., Sept. 4, 2001 -- A one-vehicle rollover south of Pecos took the life of a Pecos resident and injured an El Paso woman over the Labor Day weekend.

Ruben Salas, Jr., 22, of Pecos was killed in the rollover that occurred at approximately 1 a.m., on Sunday 9.4 miles South on Highway 17.

According to a Department of Public Safety representative, Salas was riding in a 2000 Chevrolet pickup driven by Monica Marie Rivera, 23, of El Paso when the accident occurred.

"The vehicle was Northbound on Highway 17 and was traveling at a high rate of speed," the representative said.

Witnesses told DPS that Rivera passed another vehicle and lost control of the vehicle.

"Witnesses said the vehicle passed to the right of another vehicle, illegally," DPS said.

After passing the other vehicle, Rivera overcorrected and lost control of the pickup and entered into a broadside skid, crossing both lanes of traffic, according to the DPS.

"Then the vehicle skidded to the west side barrow ditch and overturned to the right, once, ejecting both occupants," the spokesperson said.

Justice of the Peace Armanario Ramon pronounced Salas dead at 2:21 a.m., at the scene. Salas' body was transported to Pecos Funeral Home.

Rivera was transported by Aero Care to Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock where she is in stable condition with internal injuries.

DPS Trooper Terry Gilchrest continues to investigate the accident.

The DPS and Pecos Emergency Medical Services personnel were called out to another accident before sunrise this morning on U.S. 285, about 12 miles south of Pecos. Two persons were reportedly taken to Reeves County Hospital as a result of the accident, but no word was available on their names and conditions at press time.

PHS cheerleaders, sponsors announce Spirit Stick winners

PECOS, Tues., Sept. 4, 2001 -- Pecos Eagle cheerleaders and sponors on Friday announced the names of the businesses which won Spirit Sticks as part of their "Paint Pecos Purple" effort, prior to Pecos' season-opening football game on Friday night.

The announcement was made during the Pecos High School pep rally, and six Spirit Sticks were given out.

Winner of the Artistic Award was Reeves County Hospital; Winner of the Spirited Award was Security State Bank; Winner of the Most Original Award was Frank X. Spencer and Associates; Winner of the All About Pecos Award was West Texas National Bank and the Most Creative Award went to Sonic.

Pecos Kindergarten won the Spirit Stick award for Best School Decorations.


PECOS, Tues., Sept. 4, 2001 -- High Monday 103. Low this morning 66. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low in the mid 60s. Northeast wind 5 to 10 mph. Wednesday: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. High 85 to 90. Northeast wind 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 60s. Thursday and Friday: Partly cloudy. Lows 65 to 70. Highs in the upper 90s.


Robert Enloe and Ruben Salas, Jr.

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