Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, October 5, 2001
Tougher BOP rules boost RCDC construction costs
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Fri., Oct. 5, 2001 -- Reeves County Commissioners approved a change
order to include new U.S. Bureau of Prisons regulations regarding an
upgrade in low security requirements for the proposed Reeves County
Detention Center expansion project (RCDC III) during a special meeting this
morning in the third floor courtroom at Reeves County Courthouse.
Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo said that the BOP has been developing
a higher standard for low security prisons, which would affect the construction
of the planned 960-bed addition.
"Over the last couple of years the BOP has developed criteria for the
low security facilities," he said.
Galindo explained that the standards include security bars on all openings
in the roof and walls of the facility using 12-gauge steel.
In looking at the security requirements for the facility we would need
to upgrade the decking for the roofing of these units with 12-gauge steel
plates," he said.
Curt Nissen, project superintendent of Carothers Construction, Inc., said
that the steel roofing would help lower the threat of attempted escapes.
"It would make it more difficult for them to ever cut a hole in the roof,"
Galindo said that the upgrades for RCDC III would add approximately $1.2
million to the project.
"These upgrades bring us to the standard the Bureau has published," he
Galindo also said that upgrading to the standards would help the county
compete with other facilities if the federal government decided to vote for
privatization of the federal prison system.
"It would give the county the opportunity to compete," he said.
All commissioners voiced concerns of the added cost of the upgrade before
the county has even received bids for the construction of the addition, but
Galindo assured them that once the county has received bids they could choose
to deny the upgrade.
"I think it's important to keep the county's options open," he said.
The commissioners also approved a change order that would allow Carothers
Construction an additional two weeks ahead of schedule to begin construction
on RCDC III as well as change the completion date to Jan. 19, 2003. The new
addition will bring the prison's capacity up to 2,960 inmates.
Galindo said that Carothers requested the change order, which would allow
them the two extra weeks.
He said that if the construction were not completed by that date the company
would pay a penalty of $3,600 per day that the project is not completed.
Also approved by the court this morning was a list of criteria that the
court would go by in evaluating the bids for construction.
County Auditor Lynn Owens said that Reeves County needs to inform the
companies that would send in bids of the criteria that they would be judged
"You have to have a criteria to evaluate proposals," he said. "You have
to inform them of how the bid is going to be evaluated."
Owens said under Section 271 of the Texas Local Government Code the county
would be able to judge on the price, reputation, resume and past history
with the company.
"What it allows us to do is try to get the best value for the county,"
he said. "The best value is not necessarily the lowest price."
Owens also said that the county needed to use a point system in evaluating
the bids in order to determine which is the better bid.
He also said that that would allow them to explain their choice.
The commissioners awarded a bid to Jarratt Dirt Work & Paving in Fort
Davis to begin the dirt work for RCDC III as well as awarding a professional
service contract for materials testing services to Trinity Engineering out
Today's discussion of RCDC III projects will be followed on Monday by
other RCDC construction-related items, during the regular meeting of the
commissioners court, set for 9:30 a.m. in the third floor courtroom of the
Reeves County Courthouse.
Along with several requests for payment for LMD Architects, the commissioners
will also discuss/take action of bids for a water tank for the RCDC III project.
They will also discuss/take action on Banes General Contractor's request
for payment No. 6 on the racquetball courts at Pecos High School, as part
of the Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Center.
The board will also:
Discuss/take action on Reeves County Golf Course equipment lease contract;
Discuss/take action on Martinez Ballpark irrigation and lighting system
Discuss/take action on Reeves County Golf Course driving range improvements
and lighting project;
Discuss/take action on well pump repairs at Greenwood Cemetery;
Discuss/take action on bid/lease of county-owed residential property in
Discuss/take action on issuance of certificate of compliance for electrical
service in Reeves County;
Discuss/take action on approving transportation crew mileage payments;
Discuss/take action on computer software/hardware maintenance contracts
for the Reeves County Clerk's office;
Discuss/take action on approving the FY 2002 tax roll;
Discuss/take action on a land donation from the W.A. Moncrief estate;
Discuss/take action on a juvenile probation service agreement between
Reeves County and Tom Green County;
Discuss/take action on a central counting station and paying election
workers for the Nov. 6 general election;
Discuss/take action on fees for sheriff and constables for 2002;
Discuss/take action on personnel and salary changes at the RCDC, juvenile
department and sheriff's department;
Also to be considered are semi-monthly bills, budget amendments and line
The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Monday in the third floor courtroom
at the Reeves County Courthouse.
State judge's redistricting plan cuts Bonilla out of area
From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, Fri., Oct. 5, 2001 -- Reeves County will be part of a new congressional
district without an incumbent in 2002, if a plan laid out by a State
District Court judge is upheld on appeal.
Most of the 23rd Congressional District, which runs from the
eastern sections of El Paso along the Texas-Mexico border to Laredo, would
remain together as a district, including Reeves County and the Town of Pecos
City. But one section that would be removed from the group in the northwest
side of San Antonio, home of the district's current congressman, Henry Bonilla.
Under the ruling released Wednesday by State Judge Paul Davis, Bonilla
(R-San Antonio) would remain in the 23rd District, but it would
be realigned to stretch north and west out of San Antonio, and would include
San Angelo and parts of Bell and Williamson counties in Central Texas. The
rest of Bonilla's current 23rd District would be renamed the 31
st Congressional District and would include the far western edges of
Bexar County (San Antonio) and from there drop south to Zapata County along
the Rio Grande border.
It would include Reeves and all surrounding counties, and the eastern
section of El Paso County, with the exception of area south of Interstate
10 which would become part of District 16, represented by Silvestre Reyes
While Bonilla has said he would like to add San Angelo to his district,
the five-term congressman said he hopes Davis' plan will be rejected and
he can maintain his current district boundaries, including additional area
in El Paso
"I didn't want to lose my area," Bonilla said. "I love my area and I've
become attached to my folks."
"At this point we're going to be working at keeping the 23rd
District the way it is," said Bonilla's press secretary, Taryn Fritz, this
morning. "It (Davis' ruling) is going to be appealed. It will move forward,
and we will do what we can do to hold onto our original district."
Texas gained two seats because of population growth, giving it a total
of 32 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Bonilla said the ruling
isn't final and representatives from both the Republican and Democratic parties
are working out final details with the court.
If the ruling stands, however, Bonilla, a San Antonio Republican, would
be faced with a choice of running in his old district or the new 31st District.
"We're not considering either (option) until we get the court's final
decision," said spokeswoman Taryn Fritz.
The new district would start roughly at the city's eastern limits and
continue east, spanning 11 of the 14 counties that border Mexico. The new
district would take in about 28,000 El Paso County residents and 775 people
inside the city limits, while its biggest population center in the new district
would be Webb County, which includes Laredo, with about 191,000 people. The
district would be 70.5 percent Hispanic.
It also is possible the final plan will face a legal challenge Bonilla
said. Courts are handling the redrawing of Texas congressional districts
because the state Legislature failed to do the job this year.
The new 23rd District would have its populations centers in
the sections on the west side of San Antonio and the north side of Austin,
along with San Angelo and the Killeen/Copperas Cove areas on the south side
of Fort Hood. The division of Fort Hood has brought protests from the area's
current congressman, 11th District Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Waco),
and other Democrats said the plan proposed by Judge Davis could be far more
costly to Texas Democrats in the long run, costing them as many as nine seats
in the U.S. House in the 2002 election.
Those involved in the redistricting case said they would appeal to the
U.S. Justice Department, a three-judge federal court panel in Tyler and the
U.S. Supreme Court.
The panel in Tyler will begin a pretrial hearing next Friday, where minority
and partisan interests will address their positions before Chief U.S. District
Judge John H. Hannah Jr. and District Judge T. John Ward, and 5th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals Judge Patrick Higginbotham of Dallas.
Currently, Democrats hold 17 seats, with Republicans 13. Texas will gain
two congressional seats next year because of population growth. Those involved
in the redistricting case contradict with each other on exactly how those
numbers might change under Davis' plan.
Much of the growth has been in Republican strongholds of the state and
among mostly Hispanic communities.
But Nina Perales, a lawyer for the Mexican American Legal Defense and
Educational Fund, said the proposed map does not acknowledge the rapid growth
of Hispanics in the last decade.
"We see a very strong Voting Rights Act case in the failure to create
a seventh Latino district in South and West Texas," she said. "There were
six Latino districts before, and there are still six of them now."
Perales said that instead of creating a new majority Hispanic district,
the judge "packed" Hispanics into the existing districts.
"This map is just one step in a long legal process, and everyone understands
that Texas redistricting will ultimately be resolved by the federal court
in Tyler," said U.S. Rep. Martin Frost, D-Dallas.
Pecos FD collects $2,700 in donations for NYC firemen
PECOS, Fri., Oct. 5, 2001 -- Pecos Volunteer firemen raised over $2,700
last weekend to benefit firemen and the families of those who were killed
in the collapse of the World Trade Center in New York following the Sept.
11 terrorist attack.
Over 300 New York City firefighters were among the estimated 6,000 people
killed in the collapse of the Twin Towers after terrorists crashed hijacked
jetliners into the buildings. Fundraisers have been held across the United
States in the wake of the tragedy, and local firemen were out at two intersections
last Saturday collecting money for the relief effort.
Pecos Fire Department Lt. Abel V. Dominguez said a total of $2,422.50
was collected, with another $300 donated by the Pecos Chamber of Commerce
Ladies Auxiliary. Dominguez said Wal-Mart would match the donations of the
"People were very generous in their donations," Dominguez said in a letter
to the Enterprise about the collections. "I had people from different parts
of the U.S.A. compliment us for our efforts."
"On behalf of the PVFD, I wish to express my thanks to all those who helped.
It makes me proud to be an American when I see people giving their last
few pennies away to help somebody else," Dominguez said. "Again, thank you
Pecos for helping out. And to those who we missed, `See you next time.'"
PECOS, Fri., Oct. 5, 2001 -- High Thursday 91. Low this morning 63. Forecast
for tonight: Mostly cloudy and breezy. Lows in the mid 40s. Northeast
winds 15 to 25 mph: Decreasing to 5 to 10 mph.
Saturday: Partly cloudy and cool. Highs around 75. East winds 5 to
15 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Lows around 50.
Sunday: Partly cloudy and warmer. Highs 75 to 80. Columbus Day through
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the 50s. Highs around 80.
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 2001 by Pecos Enterprise