Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, July 10, 2003
Council OKs tax abatement for food plant
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Thurs., July 10, 2003 -- The Town of Pecos City Council met this morning
in the Council Chambers and approved a five-year tax abatement agreement
with Trans Pecos Foods.
Back in April former Councilman Johnny Terrazas made the motion to approve
five-year tax abatement with about 100 percent abatement on all new capital
improvement. Councilwomen Angelica Valenzuela seconded the motion.
The council had tabled the abatement request at a previous meeting,
while waiting on a report on the value of the land and fixtures before making
"The council has approved the abatement," City Manager Carlos Yerena
said. "But we did not have the agreement at that time."
Councilman Danny Rodriguez made a motion to approve the agreement with
Councilman Michael Benavides seconding it.
Trans Pecos Foods purchased the former Anchor Foods' onion processing
plant last year, after its new owner, McCain Foods, closed the facility.
At the time McCain bought the plant, it was running four shifts and was
the city's largest employer, with 700 workers. Trans Pecos officials said
in a previous council meeting the abatement would go towards purchasing
new equipment for the facility, which currently operated with about 20 percent
of its former workforce.
The council also approved a resolution authorizing participation in the
"Texas Main Street Program" and designating Yerena to coordinate all program
"We are in the process of reapplying," Main Street Director Tom Rivera
said. "The application must be turned in by the end of this month."
In working on the Main Street Project, Rivera said that they have done
a lot of work but that it is just a slow process. Right now they are occupied
with finishing the application and turning it in, he added.
When asked what he has done since he took over as program manager last
year, Rivera said that their Small Business Recourse Center has helped 77
people and had $420,000 worth of loans approved.
He added that Main Street Coordinator Debbie Thomas has located one of
the owners of one of the buildings in the downtown area after a year of
looking for him.
"We have also identified two (buildings) that can go up for auction for
back taxes," Rivera said.
Other things he has put together are workshops for small businesses and
landscaping jobs, such as the one at City Hall.
"We have four clients for the downtown area," Rivera said. "We have worked
with three of them to receive loans from both banks."
He added that they also plan on renovating the old Conoco Station at
Third and Cedar streets and will eventually make it the office of the Main
Council members then asked if there would be any plans that involved
the old Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot station.
"That is our project for this morning," Pecos Area of Chamber of Commerce
Director Linda Gholson said.
She added that though it is considered a historical site, they must repaint
the outside of the building and add windows before they can apply for grants
available for historical landmarks.
Currently the building is being looked at as being home for a new Texas
Rodeo Hall of Fame museum.
"There will be a group from Texas Tech coming in to work on plans next
week," Gholson said. "They will be here on Monday and Tuesday."
She also said that they would like to give everyone an opportunity to
get involved in this project.
With at said Councilman Frank Sanchez made a motion to accept the resolution
with Rodriguez seconding it.
In other business, the council moved on to discuss and consider the approval
of change order to add approximately 76,000 square yards of caliche roads
along side pipelines on Town of Pecos City Development of the South Worsham
Well Field and will seek the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in
Yerena reminded the council that in a previous meeting the council had
decided to just have the city buy the caliche directly.
"We have several alternatives that would allow us not to contract that
work out," Yerena said.
Several of those alternatives would be getting the help of Reeves County,
the Corps of Engineers or through in-house staff.
"We could purchase the caliche but not contract the work out," Yerena
said, but Utilities Director Octavio Garcia told the council that the county
would not be able to help them.
"Russ (Salcido) is down to 10 employees," Garcia said. "They have laid
some of this workers off. He also said that he could not help us out during
the summer months because they have several projects. He also has some already
lined up during the winter months."
Thinking that the Army Corp of Engineers could do the work, the council
approved the change order with the 76,000 square yards of caliche costing
them $20,000 more plus the $25,000 they already have.
Sanchez made the motion and Mayor Pro-Tem Gerald Tellez seconded it.
In considering the contract for election services, City Secretary Connie
Levario said that the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board will approve the
contract during tonight's meeting and that the hospital has not approved
She added that the contract must be renewed every year.
With no changes, Rodriguez made the motion with Benavides seconding it.
As the council looked over the accounts payable, Pecos Police Chief Clay
McKinney was asked how his video cameras were working.
"We have had good luck with the video cameras," McKinney said. "We have
had some cases in which they were vital."
Rodriguez then asked about the Housing Infrastructure Project.
Yerana said they have give out the last payment and are waiting for Texas-New
Mexico Power Company to install the power poles in the area around the 900
block of Washington Street.
"We are also waiting for the final go ahead from the state," Yerana said.
When asked how many house would be built, Yerana told the council that
one house would be under construction by the middle to late August.
"We are still taking applications," Yerana said. "We have had a lot of
applications turned in but then there are a lot of qualifications that must
be met, so most do not qualify"
He added that they were applying for a grant that would allow applicants
to put $10,000 less on their down payment.
Sanchez made the motion to accept the accounts payable with Benavides
During public comments Gholson told the council the success of Night
in Old Pecos.
"We are considering making it a two-day affair," Gholson said.
Though she and Thomas are currently gathering information, Gholson told
the council that they could come before the council with any suggestions
Thomas informed the council that there had been 37 vendors, some stating
that they would be willing to stay an extra day.
The minutes from the council's regular meeting held on June 26 were approved
with Tellez making the motion and Benavides seconding it.
Golf course work goes on despite budget concerns
By KRISTEN CARREON
PECOS, Thurs., July 10, 2003 -- Expansion work at the Reeves County Golf
Course is going ahead on schedule, though the county's current financial
situation is up in the air due to problems financing the latest addition
at the Reeves County Detention Center.
The golf course has been undergoing renovations to add three new holes
to the course. Two of the three holes are located where the old Pecos Army
Airbase housing was, located, along the south Interstate 20 service road.
Peter Mora, golf course manager and superintendent, said that the current
budget situation has not affected the improvements.
"The budget hasn't affected us. We also have other projects going on
that have not been affected," Mora said.
Reeves County was unable to make a loan payment last week on the RCDC
III project, due to a lack of inmates from the U.S. Bureau of Prisoners
to fill the 960-bed facility.
The loan payment was to go towards the first payment to bondholders who
financed construction of the facility, which is due on Sept. 1. RCDC III
is co-collateralized with the other two 1,000-bed sections of the prison,
though the bond debt itself is not tied directly into the county's general
budget, which funds other operations, including construction at the golf
Work has been ongoing for the past two years in adding the two new holes
In order to put in the new holes, Mora said that the old foundation of
the Airbase had to be ripped up. Water, gas, sewer, and power lines also
had to be taken out.
Mora said flood irrigation has already been put in.
"We're working on getting a sprinkler system around the greens and tees,"
Mora said that he is anticipating this project to be finished in September.
"We're hoping to seed the fairways in September. It is too hot to try
to plant grass right now," Mora said.
The third new hole planned will go on the current golf course layout,
in an area located between the second and fourth holes of the course. The
eventual plan is to increase Reeves County's 11-hole golf course to a standard
The workers' schedule is made around tournaments being held at the golf
course. Mora said that everything is working on schedule, and things seem
to be moving forward.
Aside from the renovations at the golf course, Mora has been working together
with the roads and bridge workers on the North Side Park improvements.
They have also been modifying the irrigation system and planting trees
at Martinez Field.
"With a staff of five, we're pretty spread out," Mora said.
Mora said that they will be working with the state on an upcoming landscaping
project along I-20 and 285. He says that this project involves putting in
a drip system.
School board to eye budget, tax rates today
PECOS, Thurs., July 10, 2003 -- Budget and the proposed 2003-04 tax rate
will be topics of discussion at the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board
The group will meet at 6 p.m. today at the Technology Center, 1301 S.
Eddy St. The public is invited to attend the open session of the meeting.
Board members will consider and take possible action on 2003-2004 budget
and possible tax rate and on calendar to discuss budget and proposed tax
Under old business, the board will receive an update on construction of
the girls' softball field, mold remediation and HVAC at Austin Elementary,
refurbishing of gym floors and consider and possible action on establishing
an employee sick leave pool, bank or extended leave polity under DEC Local.
The group will consider and take possible action on student handbooks
and Student Code of Conduct; Meadowbrook property bids; requests to purchase
foreclosed properties; an officer to calculate roll back tax rate; renewing
Election Coordinator's contract; 2002-03 budget amendments and appointing
a Board Delegate and alternate for the 2003 TASB Delegate Assembly.
Board members will discuss and take possible action on student insurance
competitive sealed proposals; interlocal agreement with Workers' Compensation;
vending machine beverages agreement for the 2003-2004 school year and method
of procurement and reinstating the powerlifting program.
The board will consider and take possible action on reassignment of Zavala
principal Ruben Cervantes to replace Bessie Haynes Elementary principal
Benny Hernandez, who resigned last month, and salary adjustment for supervision
of middle school activities.
The group will meet behind closed doors in closed session as authorized
by the Texas Open Meetings Act, Texas Government Code, Section 551.101 et.
Seq., Section 551.074: Discuss personnel or hear complaints against personnel.
Board members will return to open session and take action, if any, on
items discussed in closed session.
Regular agenda items include:
Consider and possible action on professional personnel: resignations,
retirements, appointments, and change of contract.
Depository securities report.
Current bills and financial report.
Investment transaction report.
Reconciled bank balance report.
Reeves County Community Recreation Department Report.
Red Bluff board still awaiting project results
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Thurs., July 10, 2003 -- The Pecos River salt alleviation project
hasn't alleviated salt levels yet along the river in southern New Mexico,
but Red Bluff Water Power Control Board members are hopeful the diversion
of salt spring water away from the Pecos will begin producing results sometime
later this year.
Board members held their monthly meeting on Wednesday at the district's
office on West Second Street, and voted against authorizing any late season
water allotment, after seeing a report that showed Red Bluff Lake had lost
water during the month of June. They also discussed the Malaga Bend salt
alleviation project, which began earlier this year and is designed to lower
the salt content coming into Red Bluff Lake from southern New Mexico.
Sun West Salt Co. built two retaining ponds, and Red Bluff drilled a new
well to pump salt water away from the Pecos River and into the ponds earlier
this year. "They've got a considerable amount of salt built up already,"
said managing director Randal Hartman. He added that Sun West is filling
up one pond at a time, then letting the water evaporate while the second
pond is filled up.
The salt in the ponds eventually will be mined for commercial use. Sun
West will pay Red Bluff for the mined salt, but the main benefit of the project
was to cut down the salt content in the river in Texas, which is twice the
level found in the Pecos around Carlsbad, N.M.
Pumping began in March, but so far the salt levels have not shown any
major changes, board members were told.
"It doesn't show any change in readings as of yet, but we haven't had
the numbers to correlate it to," Hartman said. "We're met with the (monitor
company's) factory reps two weeks ago, and should soon have some numbers
we can work with."
Board member Lloyd Goodrich said it may take time for the pumping activity
to lower the level of the underground water enough to get it away from the
river at Malaga Bend, and Hartman said, "Before, when we did this, we pumped
for about eight months before it showed a difference."
Goodrich said the salt spring doesn't enter the river in one particular
spot, but "comes up all over."
"You can still see some white (salt) areas," Hartman said, referring
to leftover salt residue in the area. "It may not be putting salt into the
river, but it may still be dissolving it."
"We should show something by then end of the summer, but a lot of it
depends on how much rain we had over to the northeast," Goodrich said. The
salt spring comes from water coming in over a major salt formation northeast
of the Pecos River at Malaga Bend.
Aside from salt evaporating in the new ponds, evaporation was also blamed
for dropping Red Bluff Lake's water level from 58,572 acre/feet at the end
of May to 57,029 acre/feet at the end of June. Because of that, board members
said only 20,000 acre/feet could possibly be allotted, and they doubted
that water would make it downstream due to lack of any water for the past
"We haven't got enough water to wet the bottom of the canals," Goodrich
said, and the board voted to take no action.
Areas in and around Orla and Red Bluff Lake have gotten some recent rains,
while other area south of Pecos have done better in recent weeks.
"Since the last time I've been up here we've had 4 1/2 inches of rain
at my house," said board member Jay Lee, who represented the Imperial area
of northeast Pecos County. "We've had more rain than we've had in nine years."
"There are some wet spots. I heard the prison over near Fort Stockton
had two inches of rain in an hour," Hartman added.
In other business, Hartman told Goodrich that the drowning of an Odessa
man in late May at the lake was probably the reason that a gate leading
to the Sandy Beach area at Red Bluff is closed.
"They probably closed it during that drowning and forgot to open it again,"
he said. The search for the body of Nathan Mazoch was centered in the Sandy
Beach area, on the east side of the lake.
Board members approved the monthly cash disbursements, accounts payable
and receipts, but delayed action on a request by district employee Tommy
Moseley to help set up a satellite internet connection at his home near
Red Bluff Lake until getting further information on the costs.
Parks Service holds meetings next week
PECOS, Thurs., July 10, 2003 -- The National Parks Service will hold two
meetings next week in Brewster County to receive comments on the Big Bend
National Park Draft General Plan/Environmental Impact Statement.
The meetings will be next Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. in Conference Room
No. 129 at the Pete Gallego Center at Sul Ross State University in Alpine,
and next Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the South Brewster County Community
Center in Study Butte.
Two other meetings to receive comments on the Big Bend National Park
plan are planned for next week; in Dallas on Monday and in Houston on Tuesday.
PECOS, Thurs., July 10, 2003 -- High Wednesday 104. Low this morning 69.
Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows near 70. Southeast winds 5 to
15 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny. Highs near 102. East winds 5 to 15 mph. Friday
night: Mostly clear. Lows near 70. Saturday: Mostly clear. Highs in the
upper 90s. Sunday: Mostly clear. Lows near 70. Highs in the upper 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