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Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Commissioners asked to assist apartment plan

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., April 15, 2003 -- Housing for singles and couples who are new to the community or just need transitional, affordable homes was the topic of discussion at the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting held Monday morning.

The item was discussed under reports from various departments with members of the Pecos Housing Corp. were on hand to talk about a project the group is currently working on.

"This is a nonprofit organization," said member Jesse Stephens, who added that a building had been donated to them and that they wanted to make into apartments.

"We did a study at the prison and found that there was a great need for affordable apartments in the community," said Stephens. "Young people are commuting to work at the prison and we have young couples that just need a transitional housing."

Stephens told the group that the building on the south side of town had been built in 1956 and was donated by the family of Carl Holmes.

"Carl's son donated the building to us and during our survey we found that there were about 60 individuals that responded that they were interested in an apartment or reasonable housing," said Stephens.

Stephens said that the survey showed that the individuals were willing to pay $350 a month for a room and one meal a day. "We think we can put 10 rooms with a fair-sized kitchen, baths, and a laundry room," said Stephens. "It will improve the looks of the community and assist the employees at the Reeves County Detention Center."

Stephens said that the group felt that it was a workable project. "We have six members in our group and nobody is entitled to any money from this," said Stephens. "We feel like it's a win-win situation."

Stephens said that the goal of the group is to get things started and help the employees coming in to work at the prison.

West Texas National Bank President John Grant talked about the project and said that during a Chamber of Commerce meeting Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo had said that there was a need for affordable housing in Pecos to attract and keep more employees at the Reeves County Detention Center.

"Everybody knows there's a need for affordable housing in the community," said Grant. "That's why we came up with the concept of dormitory housing," he said.

Grant said that they especially wanted to target the singles and couples that don't have children yet. "We feel that $350 a month is financially feasible," he said.

Grant said that this project could provide seed money to get the project going. "Jesse is being modest, but he has spent a lot of his own personal money to get it set up," he said.

Grant said that the group wanted to start the housing and later sell it.

"Who do you envision buying this?" asked judge Galindo.

"The county or a private investor or any other entity," said Grant. "We're considering this as a way to fund other housing projects," he said.

Grant said that this could be a potential investment for someone that is looking for a return on his money.

Galindo said that he didn't think it was legal for the county to take over a housing project such as this. "Mr. (County Auditor Lynn) Owens, are you aware of any provision that would allow the county to take over this dormitory-type building?" asked Galindo.

Owens said that the county could only acquire property that was needed for daily operations. "I'm not aware of any method that this could be done," he said. "Citizens can do that, but the county cannot."

"I don't think the county can own sure property, this is more a private project," said Galindo.

"I think just the tacit support of the county would help," said Grant. "We want your help with publicity, even if it's just putting up a sign at the RCDC about the apartments."

Grant said that if the group got the community behind them, he thought they could make the project work.

No action was taken by the commissioners on the item.

In other action, commissioners approved payments and change orders for the different construction companies who are completing the RCDC-3 project.

Personnel and salary changes included: at the Reeves County Juvenile Probation department, Rodolfo Quintella, $10 per hour, as needed/on call basis; Reeves County Library, Christina Acosta, $6 per hour, 171/2 hours per week; at the Reeves County Detention Center: Catherine Ybarra, promoted to support clerk II in the San Antonio BOP office, at $26,000 per year; Veronica Aguilar, Ronda Burnett, Edgar Caballero, Carlos Carrasco, Elias Carrasco, Michelle Carrasco, Jose Gonzalez, Edward Grootenboer, Tony Harris, Lee Knight, Jaime Morales, Salvador Muniz, Jr., Augustin Natividad, Eric Navarrette, Elizabeth O'Kelly, Jose Ortega III, Jesus Rodriguez, Mary Valenzuela and Delma Venegas, as Correctional Officers I, at a starting salary of $19,000 per year.

Income tax mail deadline today,

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., April 15, 2003 -- Post offices aren't staying open as late as they used to in West Texas on federal income tax filing day, but the government is hoping more taxpayers will be avoiding the post office entirely and sending in their returns electronically in the future.

Today is the last day to file for an income tax return, and residents of Pecos will have to arrive at the Post Office before 4:30 p.m. in order to get the April 15 postmark on their envelopes. Those who miss that deadline will have about another 90 minutes to drive to the downtown Midland Postal Office..

The U.S. Postal Service's main center for the Permian Basin at the Midland International Airport will not be opened till midnight, but they will stay open a little later than usual, closing their doors tonight at 6:30 p.m.

After that, the Post Office's downtown Midland station will still be open for one more hour, closing tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Along with the traditional filing by mail, the Internal Revenue Service now allows electronic filing of tax returns, and this year, the U.S. Treasury Department said more than 2.4 million people have used free tax preparation software provided through the IRS Web site to file their 2002 tax returns.

The figure does not include taxpayers who used the software during the week before the April 15 deadline, when the IRS gets a flood of last-minute returns. Electronic filers can send in their returns via computer right up until the midnight deadline.

The Internal Revenue Service exceeded its goal of 2 million users, despite complaints from consumer groups that taxpayers sometimes are subject to advertisements for other financial products. The program is free to encourage electronic filing.

The service is provided by 17 companies that allow qualified taxpayers to prepare their returns free of charge. The companies transmit the returns electronically to the IRS.

The program is part of a push to get 80 percent of all returns filed electronically by 2007.

At a hearing last week of a subcommittee of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, IRS Acting Commissioner Bob Wenzel said the IRS probably will not meet the 2007 goal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Cities' April tax rebates fall, RCH district up

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., April 15, 2003 -- Sales tax figures for April in the Town of Pecos City continued their downward trend for 2003, falling by over 9 percent from a year ago, according to figures released last week by Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn's office.

Strayhorn's office sent out checks for April last week, based on February's sales, and the totals for both Balmorhea and Toyah also showed drops from a year ago. However, the tax rebate check for the Reeves County Hospital District was up by over 30 percent from a year ago, and are now up for the first four months of 2003 as a whole.

Pecos' check, based on its 11/2-cent share of the state's 8 1/4-cent sales tax, came to $49,120, down 9.2 percent from last April, when the city got $54,148 back from Austin. For the first four months of the year, the city has gotten back $242,141 in tax rebates, a 4.28 percent drop from 2002, when Pecos had received $252,973.

Balmorhea's drop was even sharper. It's check for April fell by 55.53 percent, from $1,137 to $506, and for the year, the city is down 27.81 percent, from $4,264 to $3,088. Toyah's check fell from $564 to $525, a 6.79 percent decline, and overall for 2003, the city is down just over 28 percent, from $1,803 to $1,298.

However, the hospital district's tax rebate check for April, based on its 1/2-cent sales tax, was up 31.20 percent, from $30,984 to $39,603. For all of 2003, the hospital has gotten back $125,892 from Austin, which is up 4.22 percent from last year's $120,787.

Combined, all of the sales tax collections in Reeves County are down just over 2 percent from the first four months of last year.

Across the area, sales tax results were slightly better, with increases in both Midland and Odessa offsetting some tax check declines elsewhere.

Midland had the area's largest check, for just under $1.38 million, which was up 20.88 percent from last year. Odessa's check for April was $968,585, which was 5.65 percent better than a year ago. Monahans and Wink also reported increases, as did Fort Stockton, Van Horn and Marfa, though those were due to increases in the sales tax rates of those cities within the past year.

At the other end, Andrews, Big Spring, Crane and Kermit all reported double-digit declines for the month. Andrews was down over $90,000 from last April, or 58.84 percent, after receiving rebate checks for the past year that had been sharply higher than those in 2001 and early 2002.

Statewide, Strayhorn said rebate checks sent out to cities and counties this month were 1.87 percent behind April 2002's figures, at $179.1 million. Houston's check for $22.1 million was the single largest sent out, but was 5.43 percent lower than a year ago, while Dallas' check for $11.7 million was a 13.8 percent decline from last year.

Enhanced program application period begins

PECOS, Tues., April 15, 2003 -- Written parental requests are required for students in grades kindergarten through 6th grade, who would like to participate in the Enhanced Program in the 2003-2004 school year.

Applications will be accepted beginning Wednesday and running through Wednesday, April 30 at Pecos-Barstow-Toyah kindergarten and elementary campuses.

Requests must be submitted to the current campus the student is attending.


PECOS, Tues., April 15, 2003 -- High Monday 97. Low this morning 77. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Windy in the evening. Lows near 50. West winds 20 to 30 mph decreasing to 15 to 25 mph after midnight. Wednesday: Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 80s. West winds 10 to 20 mph. Wednesday night: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 40s. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 80s. Friday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 50s. Highs in the mid 80s.

Police Report

EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those agencies. The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instanced we will indicate payment and release.


Jennifer Hernandez, 19, was arrested at 10:20 p.m., on April 13, in the 300 block of East Eighth Street for family violence.


Ernesto C. Baca, 19, and a male juvenile were arrested at 6:31 a.m., on April 13, in the alley between the 1600 blocks of West Sixth and Seventh streets for burglary of a habitation - 2nd Degree Felony.


Melissa Hernandez, 27, was arrested at 12:19 a.m., on April 11, at the Criminal Justice Center on a warrant for probation violation - aggravated robbery.


Macario Salgado, 18, was arrested at 3:01 a.m., on April 11, at the 200 block of Locust Street on a warrant for running a stop sign and a warrant for violation promise to appear.


Jose Cano Jr., 31, was arrested at 6:59 p.m., on April 9, at the corner of Hackberry Street and Veterans Boulevard on an outstanding Department of Public Safety warrant for use of equipment not approved.


Geronimo Hignojos, 56, was arrested at 7:58 p.m., on April 9, in the 500 block of South Mesquite on warrants for possession of alcohol beverage open container, permitted unlicensed driver operating motor vehicle and violation promise to appear - possession of drug paraphernalia - class C.


Roy Carrillo, 35, was arrested at 11:01 p.m., on April 9, at the Uncle's at Third and Cedar streets on a warrant for capias disorderly conduct - fighting and a warrant for capias public intoxication.


Claudelia Martinez, 32, and Yolanda Valencia, 19, were arrested at 2:35 a.m., on April 10, in the 1100 block of South Orange Street. Martinez was arrested on an Ector County Sheriff's Office warrant for failure to appear - theft by check. Valencia was arrested on an Ector County Sheriff's warrant for theft by check.


Debbie Lopez, 29, was arrested at 9 p.m., on April 8, on the corner of Third and Oak streets on a warrant for parking on roadway, a warrant for violation promise to appear, a Taylor County warrant for insufficient funds by check and a Ector County warrant for insufficient funds by check.


Abel Alvarez, 44, was arrested at 8:19 a.m., on April 8, in the 2200 block of Hackberry Street on a warrant for expired drivers license and a warrant for violation promise to appear.


Herby Armendariz, 50, was arrested at 11:41 a.m., on April 8, at the corner of Third and Cherry streets on a warrant for violation of protective order.


Michael Munoz, Jr., 18, was arrested at 3:19 p.m., on April 7, at the 1500 block of Monroe Street on a warrant for capias minor in possession of alcohol and warrant capias possession of drug paraphernalia.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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