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Archive 2001

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Monday, November 19, 2001

Closing of Anchor plant won't affect property tax

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., Nov. 19, 2001 -- Taxes will still have to be paid on property at the Anchor Foods  plant in Pecos, even if parent company McCain Foods closes the plant  next year, according to Reeves County Tax Appraiser Carol Markham.

McCain Foods announced on Nov. 12 that it would close its Pecos onion processing plant by the middle of next year, eliminating 700 local jobs. The announcement came three months after McCain bought out Appleton, Wis. based Anchor Foods, which was followed a day later by an announcement the company planned to file suit over the 2001 valuations made by Markham's office.

Attorneys for both Anchor Appetizers Group and the Reeves County Appraisal District (RCAD) are scheduled to meet next month in Austin to discuss the company's lawsuit against the Appraisal District.

Markham said that the two sets of attorneys are scheduled to meet on Dec. 19, in Austin, to hold a status conference and to file a joint status report.

Markham said last month that she and the Reeves County Appraisal District's board of directors confused as ever as to why Anchor has filed the lawsuit.

"We all continue to be puzzled why they sued us and what they want," she said.

In late August, Anchor filed a lawsuit in 143rd District Court against the RCAD. The suit claims that the Appraisal District placed the value of Anchor's property in Reeves County over market value and that the district did not apply their Freeport Exemption correctly.

Markham said that in setting the valuations for the company, she used all of Anchor's figures.

Markham said the Appraisal District has had numerous calls regarding an article in the Enterprise last week about the plant's announced shut down. She said it does not matter if Anchor is closed or not _ the buildings and land are still taxable. Only the interior personal property would be deleted. "We'll report everything removed from the Pecos site to the proper state where it has been moved," said Markham.

Anchor came to Reeves County in 1990 and asked for a five-year tax abatement, Markham said.

"They needed assistance by not paying taxes in order to get enough capital to expand and buy A.B. Foster's existing building (Pecos Cantaloupe) and the 14 acres where it sits," said Markham.

This appraises for $486,120.

Anchor asked for another five-year tax abatement in 1995, and another two-year tax abatement in 1999, which is scheduled to end next year.

The company never bought the existing Pecos Cantaloupe building or the land, but continued to lease it, according to Markham. However, Anchor owns 147.43 acres of land appraised at $53,570, along with several other buildings that were built as the plant expanded from one to four lines over the past decade.

The rest of their property consists of new buildings ($4,443,350) and personal property which total $7,664,420. The property is made up of contents, inventory, furniture, fixtures, equipment, machinery, cold storages, and their rendered interior improvements.

Markham Anchor's 2001 Real Estate Abatement amount is $3,493,130; the Personal Property Abatement amount is $1,048,300. These three amounts totaling $9,140,420 are tax exempt.

As Anchor is still legally the owner of the facility, the Appraisal District shall continue referring to them. McCain has not filed their deed in Reeves County nor have they shared this information with the Appraisal District.

"They are not the legal owners

KPEJ's return to local TV a surprise to station's GM

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., Nov. 19, 2001 -- After a five-month absence, Midland-Odessa's KPEJ-TV  returned to the channel line-up of Classic Cable subscribers in Pecos over  the weekend _  much to the surprise of the station's general manager,  who said the Fox network station shouldn't be back on the air here yet.

Dallas Cowboys fans in Pecos were happy Sunday, when they had the opportunity to see their favorite team play over the Permian Basin's Fox affiliate for the first time this season, though the 36-3 win by Philadelphia may not have been what they were hoping for.

While the Cowboys were on and in the programming that followed, the station identifications announced that Cable Channel 8 was once again KPEJ. However, station general manager Jamie Beeghly said this morning, "We're not back on, though."

Beeghley said that KPEJ has gotten permission from the corporate office to change to Channel 20, which would allow them to show the Dallas Cowboys games and other programming from the station, which had been available in Pecos from the fall of 1995 until June of this year.

That's when the Federal Communications Commission ordered KPEJ to shut down its translator station on Ch. 18 that served Pecos from an antenna of Gomez Peak. The station was shut down because a Univision station, KUPB, began operating on Ch. 18 in the Midland-Odessa area.

After the change, Classic Cable switched Ch. 8 from KPEJ in Odessa to the satellite Fox Net service. But because of the Cowboys' problems this season, Fox Net has aired only one Cowboys game, two weeks ago against the New York Giants.

"This past Sunday, it must have been Fox Sports Net, that showed the Cowboy's game," Beeghley, said, though the station identifications and the logo in the bottom corner of the screen identify the station as KPEJ.

Officials from Classic Cable's local office in Monahans and the corporate office in Kansas did not respond to calls about the change before press time.

Local emergency responders and elected officials are scheduled to meet for an Emergency Preparedness Workshop from 8:30 a.m. to noon, on Tuesday in the Quality Inn Meeting Room on U.S. 285.

Emergency Management Coordinator Armando Gil has organized the meeting to discuss emergency operations plan, standard operation procedures, terrorist threat response procedures, and training.

Emergency training session on Tuesday


PECOS, Mon., Nov. 19, 2001 -- High Sunday 76. Low this morning 49. Forecast for tonight:  Decreasing clouds. Lows in the lower 30s. North winds 5 to 10 mph. Tuesday:  Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower 60s. Southwest winds 5 to 10  mph. Tuesday night: Mostly clear. Lows 40 to 45. Wednesday: Partly  cloudy. Highs 65 to 70. Thanksgiving Day: Partly cloudy. Lows in the 40s.  Highs in the mid 70s.


Marie Roberts

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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