Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, August 29, 2003
Council retains counsel over water payment delay
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Fri., Aug. 29, 2003 -- Town of Pecos City Council agreed to retain
legal counsel in event of a default of Reeves County, during the executive
session portion of their regular meeting Thursday evening.
The action was taken as the result of a decision by the county on Monday
not to pay a $422,000 bill due Sunday as part of its share of the construction
of the new South Worsham Water Field.
The agreement read that the city would appoint legal counsel in event
of default of Reeves County on August 31, 2003, to give notice of default
and request adequate assurance of performance. Councilwoman Angelica Valenzuela
made the motion to retain counsel and Councilman Frank Sanchez seconded
Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin was the only commissioner representing
Reeves County during the open portion of the meeting, as the council discussed
the payment of the water contract by the county to the city.
Before the going into executive session to consult with legal counsel,
Mayor Dot Stafford wanted to point out that the payment was not an actual
"It has been misleading to the public," Stafford said about the payment.
"They think it is a water bill, it is not a water bill. It is a water payment
which is taking care of the infrastructure of South Worsham Field."
Stafford said that Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo had agreed at the
time of the Water Distribution and Sanitary Sewer Collection and Treatment
Services Agreement that it would be due on the 31st of August.
"It is not a water bill," Stafford said. The money due from Reeves County
is to be used by the Town of Pecos City to repay the Texas Water Development
Board for financing of the South Worsham Field.
On Monday, commissioners voted to make payments towards bonds used in
construction of the Reeves County Detention Center, and hold off paying
the bill owed the city. The county has been short of funds after building
the 960-bed RCDC III earlier this year and failing to secure inmates from
the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to fill those beds. The first $950,000 bond payment
on RCDC III is due next week, and other bond payments are still due on the
older 2,000 bed facility.
At the time of Monday's vote, Galindo said the city did not need the
money on Aug. 31, because its payment to the Texas Water Development Board
wasn't due until November.
Tarin made several statements explaining the county's position.
"It is a gift that you gave us to help us get RCDC II," Tarin said.
"I disagree with the word 'gift'," Councilwoman Angelica Valenzuela replied.
Tarin continued to tell the council that it would receive its money.
Stafford replied that it was Galindo who had decided on the pay period
in which the payments for the agreement would be made.
The agreement came 21/2 years ago, during construction of RCDC II. The
county needed extra water for the new facility, while at the same time the
city was seeking a new water field to replace the existing Worsham and Ward
County fields, which are expected to last only through the year 2008.
As a result city and county leaders met in Austin and created the agreement
in which the county would handle the payment for the first 10 years.
Tarin told the council that he guarantied that the city would receive
"There are still two days left in the month," Tarin said. "I guarantee
that you will get you money."
Asked by council members what their guarantee would be, Tarin said that
all they needed was time to work with the Bureau of Prisons.
"The fiscal year for BOP begins in October," Tarin said. "It looks positive
for we will have 157 positions to fill. I think this will work out."
Stafford added that though Galindo had met with officials from the Department
of Homeland Security in Washington last week, the county would not be receiving
any inmates from them.
Councilman Rodriguez said that he had heard Tarin say in a conversation
that they had the money to make the payment and wanted to know why they
could not make it.
"We may do," Tarin said. "But I don't know that I said that."
He added that they are only asking for two extra months to allow them
to make the payment.
"We are all on the same team," Mayor Pro-Tem Gerald Tellez said. "They
are in a rough position. We need to help each other. They are asking for
a favor, they are asking for two months."
Though the council understood that the county was in a rough position,
it felt that effort had not been made prior to this month.
"We have asked to meet together prior to this," Valenzuela said. "We
never received a response."
City Attorney Scott Johnson also said at this point no formal request
by the county has been submitted in regards to the deferment of the payment.
"Was it tabled at the commissioners court meeting," Johnson asked?
"Yes, they tabled the issue to make the payment," Stafford said.
The council members also stated that they also appreciated the effort
made by Tarin to come before the council.
"We appreciate your effort but you are only one of the commissioners,"
Councilman Frank Sanchez said.
City Hall security windows to be removed
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Fri., Aug. 29, 2003 -- A little more than a year after the debate
over the "open door" policy, Town of Pecos City Council members voted 3-2
to remove the security windows where residents pay their water bills at
Concerned citizen Juanita Davila presented her opinion of the windows.
"The windows send to me a negative, unfriendly and cold feeling," Davila
said. "I feel like they are hiding something."
To her City Hall was the home of the community and it should have more
of a welcoming atmosphere, Davila said.
"We are all role models," Davila said. "We need to be careful of the
message we send out to the community."
Councilman Frank Sanchez said that he was under the impression that the
council had already solved the issue when they had agreed to take down the
doors. The doors were put up two years ago and immediately became subject
of debate in the community.
Mayor Pro-Tem Gerald Tellez reminded Councilman Danny Rodriguez he and
Rodriguez, along with those on the council two years ago, who voted to place
the doors and windows in City Hall, for security reasons.
"We do not have a problem," City Manager Carlos Yerena said. "We will
do what the council wants us to do."
Speaking for his employers, Finance Director Sam Contreras said that
there is a lot of money collected throughout the day and feels that the
windows should stay up.
"That same point came up during the door issue," said Councilwoman Angelica
Valenzuela, who was elected to the council last year while voicing opposition
to construction of the windows and security doors.
She added that she understood that at times irate customers would come
in, she felt that the employees as City Hall were professional enough to
deal with them.
After explaining that Davila no longer went inside to pay her water bill,
but now drops it off in the overnight box, Yerena asked her if anyone had
ever been rude to her.
"Yes, but I did not want to get into it," Davila said.
Yerena later added that he wanted to apologize to Davila for the way she
was treated and said that he would look into the matter.
Councilman Frank Sanchez asked Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney if the
window could be a deterrent in which a crime could be prevented.
"Just a piece of glass probably not," McKinney said. "You must come up
with a balance of safety."
The motion to remove the glass within a reasonable time frame was made
by Sanchez and seconded by Rodriguez. Valenzuela also voted to remove the
windows, with Councilman Michael Benavides and Tellez voting against it.
Barstow starts new fire hall construction
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Fri., Aug. 29, 2003 -- After several years saving up funds, the City
of Barstow will see its efforts pay off with the construction of its new
"The City of Barstow has been putting up funds for the building," Fire
Chief Albert Navarette said. "We are a self supported community."
He said local residents have helped them with the funding.
"There are three people in the community that have given us the funds
to work on the building," Navarette said. "They are Teresa Walker, Bobby
Avery and Ms. Florez in memory of Lucio Florez."
The new building is located near the former Barstow Elementary. The former
site was deemed to be located too close to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.
Navarette said that they are expecting the building to be completed at
the end of the coming month, September or the early part of October.
"The offices and the electrical wiring will be put off till a later date,"
The new fire station will house two fire trucks and there will be enough
storage for all of the new equipment.
Despite the fact that that Barstow did not complete its assessment in
time for submission to the new Department of Homeland Security for rural
emergency preparedness grants, Ward County has received some funding from
"Ward County was kind enough to purchase phone distributors for the Barstow
Fire Department," Navarette said. "Those are very important in oil field
and vehicle fires."
Along with a new building the Barstow Fire Department also received a
grant from the Texas Forest Service in which they received a $1,698 in cost-sharing
aid for the purchase of three sets of structure personal protective equipment.
Police say cocaine, pot found in search of house
PECOS, Fri., Aug. 29, 2003 -- One person was arrested and marijuana and
cocaine reportedly were found by Pecos Police, during a raid Thursday night
on an Elm Street home.
Police said they and members of the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force executed
a search warrant on a house at 521 S. Elm St., which was identified as the
home of Christopher Mendoza Marchan, 20, and Tiffany Garcia, 20. Police
investigator Paul Deishler said once the S.W.A.T. Team officers had secured
all the occupants in the home, they conducted a search of the premises.
Deishler said during the search officers found an undetermined amount
of a substance believed to be marijuana, along with a substance believed
to be cocaine.
Following the search, Marchan was placed under arrested on charges of
possession of a controlled substance (marijuana), a Class B. misdemeanor,
and possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), which is a State Jail
Felony. He was transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center, where he
is awaiting arraignment on the two counts of drug possession.
Pee Wee football late registration available
PECOS, Fri., Aug. 29, 2003 -- Late registration is still available for
the Pecos Eagles Pee Wee football league, which will also hold a series
of conditioning workouts next week at Martinez Field.
The league is open to boys and girls in grades 3-6, and the late registration
is $25 per player. The three-day series of conditioning workouts will be
held at Martinez Field next Tuesday through Thursday from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Forms are available from the Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation
Department office in the old Pecos High School gym. Returned registration
forms must be accompanied by a birth certificate and signatures of both
parents for both football and volleyball registration. For further information,
call the rec department office at 447-9776.
PECOS, Fri., Aug. 29, 2003 -- High Thurs. 104. Low this morning 75. Forecast
for tonight: Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows
in the upper 60s. SE winds 5 to 15 mph. Sat.: Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent
chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 80s. North winds 10 to 20 mph.
Sat. night: Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows
in the lower 60s. Sun.: Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms,
mainly in the morning. Highs in the lower 80s. Labor day: Partly cloudy.
Lows near 60. Highs in the mid 80s.
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