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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Running a city is no cheap business


Staff Writer

PECOS, June 18, 2003 -Keeping a city up and running is not cheap.

For Pecos the monthly tab is well over $250,000 each month.

"We payout about $125,000 in salaries plus benefits every two weeks," City Finance Director Sam Contreras said. "That is for 90 full-time employees and 20 part-time."

Contreras said that the main source of the city's revenue comes from the water, sewer and trash payments along with different project grants.

Most of the grants are written by City Manager Carlos Yerena, Contreras said.

"Carlos writes the bigger grants," Contreras said. "But we have other people like Fire Chief Roy Pena and Police Chief Clay McKinney who write some of the smaller grants."

Currently Pena is writing a grant requesting for more fire equipment while McKinney is writing on a grant requesting reimbursement of salaries for overtime, Contreras added.

"Some of the big grants request that the city prove such things as money, labor or equipment," Contreras said.

Other expenses the city faces on a monthly basis are the phone and electric bills.

"Our electric bill alone is about $28,000 per month," Contreras said. "The bill covers electricity for City Hall, CJC (Criminal Justice Center), the warehouse, the courthouse and the Fire Hall. Those are the main buildings."

Another large expense is the grocery bill for CJC, Contreras said.

"The CJC grocery bill runs about $10,000 a month," Contreras said.

According to CJC Food Service Supervisor Arturo Pallan he has kept the city under budget.

"My budget is $12,000 per month," Pallan said.

CJC Jail Administrator Tony Dowdy said that it important to keep the inmates happy.

"If the inmates are happy with the food, they will be happy inmates," Dowdy said. "It will be cheaper in the long run."

By keeping the inmates happy they tend to be calmer and do not destroy things within the jail, Dowdy said.

Pallan added that his biggest item is chicken.

"They like fried chicken," Pallan said.

He added that every inmate receives three meals a day and those needing snacks throughout the day must have a doctor's excuse.

Pallan also said that he was asked to keep the cost of the trays at $1.25.

Referring to other expenses the city has on a monthly basis, Contreras added that there is a large competition in the grants and they are awarded upon a need basis.

One of the projects currently in progress is that of the South Worsham Water Well Field Project, in which the city was granted a low interest rate loan from the Texas Water Development Board.

"We received an $8.1 million low-interest rate loan from the Texas Water Development Board," Contreras said. "The loan is to be paid off with in the next 20 years with the county paying for the first ten years."

The first ten years began in 2000 and within those first ten years the county will have paid $4.2 million, Contreras said.

"They have agreed to help us because they need it as much as we do," Contreras said.

He added that the city currently has to pay $200,000 involving the project.

"Upon completion the project will supply the city for next 40 to 50 years with water," Contreras said.

Fireworks not banned in Reeves County after showers

Staff Writer

PECOS, June 18, 2003 -Thanks to the recent rain showers that have hit the West Texas area, a fire ban in Reeves County has not been implemented.

"In the past few years we have had to have a fire ban, due to the dry weather conditions," said Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire. "But the county commissioners court has not implemented one this year," he said.

Brookshire said that a fireworks ban has not been implemented either, but that fireworks were banned from being displayed at the rodeo grounds. "That would interfere with the rodeo and would also leave a big mess," said Brookshire.

Brookshire said that if there had been a fire ban there would also be a fireworks ban, but that the county had not done that. "If they're going to use fireworks, they have to get permission from the property owner," said Brookshire, who added that fireworks were not allowed within the city limits.

Brookshire said that in the past Martinez Field had been a designated area for displaying fireworks. "They can't do fireworks on county or state highways," said Brookshire. "The commissioners court would have to designate an area and Martinez Field is county-owned property," he said.

Martinez Field, however, has not been designated as a fireworks display area by the commissioners court. "The commissioners court has not designated an area for fireworks display," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

The field is currently being used for girls and men's softball. A new softball field for the high school girls is currently under construction at the Pecos High School and will be completed before the beginning of the school year. Men's softball takes place during the summer and the games are being held at the Martinez Field.

"The commissioners court is not expected to designate an area because a fire ban has not been recommended by the fire marshal," said Galindo.

Individuals who use fireworks at inappropriate areas can be fined. "It's a class C misdemeanor and the fine can be up to $500," said Brookshire.

Carrasco finalist for Balmorhea superintendent

A former Pecos educator is one of three finalists for the position of Balmorhea Superintendent, following special meeting held by the board Tuesday, June 17.

Mary Lou Carrasco, a former Pecos resident and principal of Bessie Elementary School in Pecos, is one of the finalists for the position of superintendent of the small community, located just 30 miles from Pecos.

Carrasco is currently serving as a principal at the Balmorhea school and was an educator in Pecos for many years, including a long stint at Bessie Haynes Elementary School as principal.

Other candidates include: David Dillard and Pam Seipp.

A decision on who will take over in Balmorhea will be made later this week.

Monday morning accident injures 10, leaves 1 dead


Staff Writer
PECOS, June 18, 2003 -A one-vehicle rollover accident involving 11 people, took place Monday, June 16, at 6:50 a.m. The accident happened on U.S. 285, 20 miles north of Ft. Stockton in Pecos County, and was investigated by state trooper Robert Losoya of Ft. Stockton. Ft. Stockton EMS responded to the accident.

The vehicle, a 1975 Ford F150, was south bound on U.S 285. According to the police report the driver, Fernando Valerio Barboza, 41, a farmer from Pharr, Texas, was drinking. The trucks left rear tire tread separated, and Barboza over steered to the right. The police report read that this sent the vehicle into a barrow ditch. The truck rolled over several times and both the driver and passenger, Hector Mireles, were ejected from the vehicle, Losaya stated in his report.

The driver, was taken to Shannon Medical Hospital in San Angelo with a head injury and is in stable condition. Mireles, 51, a farmer from Hidalgo, Texas, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was taken to the Ft. Stockton Funeral Home. Neither of the men was wearing a seat belt, the report stated.

The other passengers were listed in stable condition with lacerations. All were taken to Pecos County Memorial Hospital in Ft. Stockton. No one was wearing a seat belt.

Carwash / bake sale scheduled

PECOS, June 18, 2003 -A car wash and bake sale are scheduled from10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Friday, June 20, at the Balmorhea Fire Department.

Small vehicles will be washed for $5 and large trucks and suburbans will be $10.

Funds will benefit the BHS students attending the Lorenzo De Zavala Leadership camp from June 29-July 20.


PECOS, June 18, 2003 -Tuesday's high 95, lows 69. Today partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of afternoon thunderstorms. Highs near 90. East winds 5 to 15 mph. Tonight partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 60s. East winds 5 to 15 mph. Thursday partly cloudy with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms. Highs near 90. East winds 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 20 percent. Thursday night partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of Thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 60s. Friday partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 90s.

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