Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, May 22, 2003
Status of plant cuts valuations for tax entities
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Thurs., May 22, 2003 -- A decrease in real estate value in Reeves
County will have an effect on local taxes, but officials don't know yet
how much it will affect local tax rates and budgets later this year.
Reeves County Chief Appraiser Carol King Markham sent out 2003 appraisal
valuations on March 9, and they show a decrease in the amount of $4.5 million
is estimated for real estate valuations for Reeves County, the Reeves County
Hospital District and the Town of Pecos City, while Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
ISD saw its valuations decline by just under $4 million.
Mineral valuations, based mainly on oil and gas reserves, were also down,
though by not as much as in the past two years. Overall, valuations were
down for all taxing entities in Reeves County, with the exception of the
city of Balmorhea.
Markham said the decline in real estate valuations is related to the tax
abatement of the Anchor Foods plant in Pecos. Anchor was bought out in 2001
by McCain Foods, which closed the plant at the end of May 2002 before selling
it to TransPecos Foods. The company was the largest employer in the county
at the time of the sale, with roughly 700 workers on payroll.
TransPecos has reopened the facility, but with a lower level of operation
than under Anchor. The company is also seeking abatements from the local
taxing entities in order to expand their production and update their facilities.
The valuations are used to set both budgets and tax rates for 2004, and
the declines will translate into less revenue for local taxing entities.
Reeves County's valuations fell by $5.7 million, to $446.8 million. "That
would be about $16,000 less that we would receive in tax revenue for the
county," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.
Galindo said that they don't know yet if this would mean a tax increase
for the county.
"There's no question that the economy has slowed down," said Galindo.
"Nationwide we're in a recession."
Galindo said that it while an increase in the county's future tax rate
can't be decided as of now, "But that should not be overlooked as a possibility,
because at this point every dollar counts," said Galindo. "For the past
eight years, the county taxes have been the lowest that they ever been."
Reeves County Hospital District, which shares the same taxing boundaries
as the county, also saw its valuations decline by $5.7 million in the past
year, according to Markham's figures. The biggest percentage decline was
suffered by the Reeves County Water District No. 2, which saw its mineral
valuations fall by $5.16 million and $5.2 million overall, which was more
than half of the district's total valuations for 2002. The district has
$4.6 million remaining in real estate and mineral valuations.
Other declines were $7.3 million for the P-B-T ISD, to $453.6 million;
$5.2 million for the Town of Pecos City, to $114.2 million; $1.5 million
for Balmorhea ISD, to $24.3 million; and $7,240 for the city of Toyah, to
Balmorhea, the Balmorhea ISD and Toyah saw increases in their real estate
valuations. Balmorhea's rise of $23,740 offset a drop in mineral valuations,
and left the city with a net gain of $11,040, to $3.38 million.
The appraisal figures released are not the final numbers. Those won't
be certified until July, after the Reeves County Appraisal Review Board
holds hearings in late June.
State law requires county appraisal districts to notify property owners
about changes in their property's value. On May 16, Reeves County Appraisal
District mailed 3,700 property owners letters showing their 2003 proposed
Markham said the notice sent out last week is only to inform property
owners of their new valuations. "Please do not pay - this is not a tax bill,"
Markham emphasized the importance of this letter and the key information
that it contains. "A property owner has the right to appeal to the Reeves
County Appraisal Review Board on any disagreement with the property's value,
exemptions, ownership and other areas," she said.
The appraisal review board, more commonly called the "ARB," is an independent
panel of citizens responsible for hearing and settling protests from property
owners who disagree with some action by the appraisal district. The notice
includes instructions on how and when to file a protest and a protest form.
"Look at the proposed value for 2003," said Markham. "The letter states
the land's value and any improvement value for the property for the current
year," she said.
An improvement is a building, structure, fence or any other type of fixture
to the land.
The appraisal letter also includes current year information on exemptions
granted on the property. It provides last year's value, too.
Homeowners that qualify for property tax homestead exemptions have a
limitation on their homes' appraised value, beginning with the second year
that they qualify their home for homestead exemptions. The appraisal district
may not increase their home value by more than 10 percent for each year
since the last reappraisal year. A homeowner's letter gives both the market
value for the home and the limited home value.
Letters to property owners whose values changed also will include "estimated"
taxes. These "estimated" taxes are based on the new taxable value and last
year's tax rates. Taxing entities will set final 2003 tax rates in August
and September. Final tax amounts may vary from these "estimated" amounts
depending on the final tax rates for 2004.
Markham asks property owners to check the legal description and mailing
address to be sure that there are no mistakes. "If the letter has an old
address, please let the appraisal district know. The post office forwards
mail to a new address for a short time, and tax bills do not go out until
October," she said.
A property owner is responsible for informing the appraisal district of
the correct mailing address. Owner are liable for additional penalties and
interest on a tax bill that is not paid on time.
"If you did not get a letter and want 2003 information about your property,
please call the appraisal district at 445-5122," said Markham.
The deadline for protesting to the ARB is June 17 for this year, according
Matas to attend seminar for families of fallen soldiers
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Thurs., May 22, 2003 -- The family of U.S. Army Chief Warrant officer
Johnny V. Mata will be spending Memorial Day weekend in Washington, D.C.,
attending a seminar for families of those who have died while serving in
the Armed Forces.
Nancili Li Mata said she and her children, Eric and Stephani, would fly
out of El Paso to attend the Ninth Annual National Military Survivor Seminar,
which begins on Friday and continues through Memorial Day.
"It's an opportunity for families of those who fought overseas to meet
and discuss a variety of issues," Mata said last Friday, at the Pecos High
School All-Sports banquet, where her husband was honored in a special ceremony.
Johnny Mata was one of nine members of the 507th Maintenance Company
who were killed on March 23, following a firefight with Iraqi troops near
the city of Nasiriya in the southern part of that country. Mata was among
seven soldiers at first reported missing in action. Their bodies were discovered
following a raid on a hospital in Nasiriya on April 3 in which one member
of the 507th, Pfc. Jessica Lynch, was rescued.
Mata was a 1986 graduate of Pecos High School and lived with his wife
and children in El Paso, where the 507th Maintenance Company was based at
Fort Bliss. Mata's parents and other family members still live in Pecos,
where funeral services were held on April 12.
"I'm sure there are going to be some others there," Nancili Mata said,
referring to the families of U.S. soldiers who were killed during the war
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc. (TAPS ) is a Washington
D.C.-based non-profit organization, which has run the National Military
Survivors Seminar since 1995. TAPS is designed to offer grief counseling
referral, caseworker assistance and crisis information to help families
and military personnel cope and recover.
According to the group's website, this weekend's workshops range from
understanding trauma and grief to helping children cope with loss to financial
planning and many more valuable topics.
The seminar will be held at the Sheraton National Hotel, in Arlington
Va., where the weekend's events will conclude with participation in the annual
Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery.
Mata said Tri-West Health Care Alliance was helping fund the trip to
Balmorhea's shrimp cook off, dances set
PECOS, Thurs., May 22, 2003 -- Seafood lovers will be out this weekend
in downtown Balmorhea both to sample food and to take part in other Memorial
Day weekend events.
The Third Annual "Oasis of West Texas" Memorial Weekend Shrimp Cook-off
and Festival is scheduled for Friday and Saturday in downtown Balmorhea.
Live entertainment, food, games and crafts are all part of the activities
planned for the weekend, and a free dance will be held Friday night, with
music provided by a D.J.
The cook off will begin Saturday morning, with judging planned for that
afternoon. Other events will be taking place as well on Saturday, including
a dance with Rim Fire Band, Mixed Company and featuring Texas Express.
For cook-off information contact Molly or Donna at 432-336-3305 or Kelly
Rowden at 432-375-1119.
For Festival information contact Norman Roman at 432-375-0219 or Pat
Council to talk about workers' responsibilities
PECOS, Thurs., May 22, 2003 -- The Town of Pecos City Council will discuss
the duties of three city employees in executive session today, when they
meet at 5:30 p.m., in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
The council will discuss and consider the duties of Fire Chief Roy Pena,
Municipal Judge Amonario Ramon and City Manager Carlos Yerena during executive
session. After executive session they will discuss and consider the duties
of Pena in open session.
During the meeting the council will discuss and consider the offers to
purchase property located at 11th and Cedar and property located at 409
E. Fifth St.. The council will also discuss and consider the renewal of
curfew law, second reading and the appointments to the Pecos Housing Authority
Board and the approval of change order to add approximately 76,000 square
yards of caliche roads alongside pipelines at the city's new South Worsham
Well Field development project.
The council will also approve the minutes of the regular council meeting
held on May 8, the accounts payable report, the municipal court report for
April, the juvenile monthly report and the tax collection report also for
Event scheduled for eighth graders
PECOS, Thurs., May 22, 2003 -- There will be a gathering in honor of all
the eighth grade students that will be going on to high school, on Saturday
at the Reeves County Civic Center.
All eighth graders and their parents are invited to attend the event.
The event will begin with a BBQ dinner at 6 p.m., with a dance immediately
The cost of the gathering will be $5 for each eighth grader.
For more information contact Connie Herrera at 447-2611.
PECOS, Thurs., May 22, 2003 -- High Wednesday 78. Low this morning 57.
Rainfall last 24 hours at Texas A&M Experiment Station .54 inch. Forecast
for tonight: Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows
in the lower 60s. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy with
a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 90s. South winds
5 to 15 mph. Friday night: Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms.
Lows in the lower 60s. Saturday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance
of thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 90s. Sunday: Partly cloudy with a slight
chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 60s. Highs in the mid 90s.
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 2003 by Pecos Enterprise