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Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, October 1, 2003

County raises tax rate, sheriff shifted to RCDC

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Oct. 1, 2003 -- The Reeves County Commissioners Court voted to increase the county's tax rate by 2.63 cents Monday night, and also will be sending Sheriff Andy Gomez and his staff to the Reeves County Detention Center, both in an effort to cut the county's current budget shortfall.

Commissioner continued their budget and tax hearing, which began Monday morning at the Reeves County Courthouse. The budget drawn up for the 2004 fiscal year predicts revenues of $5.75 million and expected expenses of $5.16 million.

In order to meet those revenue projections, commissioners voted to set tax rate at 42.6364 cents per $100 of valuation, up from 40 cents from last year. The new number is the effective tax rate, which is designed to bring in the same amount of revenue to the county as a year ago.

The increase resulted from a decline in the county's taxable property values and the new rate was approved unanimously on a motion by County Judge Jimmy Galindo.

The county has been wrestling with the shortfall in revenue from the lack of inmates in the new Reeves County Detention Center III addition. The 960-bed prison was completed in March, but did not receive the U.S. Bureau of Prisons inmates as expected. Money from housing the BOP inmates was to be used to make payments on the RCDC III's $40 million in construction costs and interest payments.

With bond payments on the facility looming and a $420,000 payment due to the Town of Pecos City in two weeks, the commissioners had to find new resources for capital.

Two of the county's largest sources of projected income are to come from the Sheriff's office and through some renegotiating of the county's current intergovernmental agreement (IGA).

In one move to cut costs, Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez, has pledged his assistance to the county by temporarily moving his jail facilities to the RCDC III addition.

Headquarters and archival facilities will remain at the downtown location, while the sheriff's office jailers and jailing facilities will now be three miles down the road, at the RCDC complex.

Commissioner hope the relocation of the sheriff's office will be able to save the county money by stopping renovations on the old jail for the time being. Also planners are hoping that the RCDC III, staffed by the sheriff's jailers, will receive Federal inmates from Arizona sent by the U.S. Marshal's Service.

"This is a short term fix to get through the crisis," Galindo said, "If we work together we can get through this tough time without reducing services or salaries, as long as we stop getting shot in the back by the editor of the Pecos Enterprise."

Commissioner Herman Tarin questioned whether the move would happen soon enough to help increase county revenues for the upcoming year.

"We are ready to move as soon as possible," Gomez said. "This is not something we want, but we are willing to do what is necessary to help the county."

The commissioners are trying to establish a separate contract with the U.S. Marshal's Service to get a better man/day rate than the $47.32 rate paid by the BOP for the 2,000 inmates currently in the RCDC's other two units.

The confusion with the rate given by the varying Department of Justice entities has commissioners looking for a way to re-file its rate request, to straighten out the situation.

"We need to get the billing codes clear and this will help," Galindo added.

The county is still trying to use all of the detention space available to it. Once a contract can be signed with the Board of Prisons or the Marshal's Service then Gomez will be able to move his prisoners and jailers back downtown.

Also in the county's revenue hopes is the renegotiation of the man/day rate with the BOP on the RDCD I and II contract.

Citing a York, Pennsylvania case, Judge Galindo asserted that the county may renegotiate its fixed price intergovernmental agreement, so that the prison can turn a profit off of the man/day rate given by the Department of Justice entities.

"Reeves County is entitled to a profit from RCDC," Galindo said.

"What has the legal council in Washington D.C. advised on the matter," Tarin asked.

Galindo said that the lawyer has advised the county that the renegotiation of the rate for a profit has legal footing and should be able to get the new rate approved.

"We must turn this thing around to save the General Fund, we must act together to get this passed with united pressure on governmental," said Galindo, who again criticized recent editorials in the Enterprise. "Right down the road the prison (the Cornell unit in Big Spring) is charging a 17 percent profit, we have the right to ask for a 5-10 percent profit."

County auditor Lynn Owens said that in the end it was up to the BOP and that if the renegotiation did not go well then the county must be ready to make cuts in December. "The B.P has been known to drag its feet, they might not act in 90 days," he added.

"That is why we must go as a delegation to the board, talk to our senator (John Cornyn, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee) and enlist his help as well," Galindo said.

The commissioners then restored some of the cuts that had been made in the proposed budget and passed it unanimously on a motion by Galindo and a second by commissioner Felipe Arredondo.

Galindo is planning on holding meetings every Monday from now until December 31 to check on the progress of the proposals.

Also in the county's business last night was the approval of an additional fence between RCDC III and the rest of the complex.

"The fence would provide added flexibility and enhance security," Warden Rudy Franco said.

The approval came on a motion by Tarin and a second by commissioner Norman Hill.

Blood drive donors sought as shortage continues

From Staff and Wire Reports

Two blood drives are scheduled in Pecos over the next five days, as the Permian Basin continues to deal with an ongoing blood shortage.

The blood drives, on Thursday at Reeves County Hospital and on Sunday at Santa Rosa Catholic Church, were set up in early September by local officials and United Blood Service of the Permian Basin, after that agency ran short of blood during the Labor Day weekend.

The shortage has affected operations at Midland-Odessa hospitals more than at Reeves County Hospital so far, though the blood supply situation in Pecos is currently unstable.

"Currently the hospital is OK for the next week, unless something major happens," said Nancy Ontiveros, Director of Special Programs at Reeves County Hospital. "We're supplied every two weeks by United Blood Services, and right now we have to wait from delivery time to delivery time to see if the amount of blood we need will be supplied."

In Odessa, surgeries at Alliance Hospital have been curtailed, according to the officials who add that the blood shortage is also affecting Odessa Regional and Medical Center hospitals.

"We're having to cancel surgeries because we don't have enough blood," Alliance spokesman Jason Samp told the Odessa American in Wednesday's editions. "We have canceled at least two, and we don't have any blood right now other than for emergency surgeries. We're canceling the ones that need to be done but aren't life-threatening."

MCH Blood Bank Supervisor Shelley Keller said addition of West Nile Virus tests to the AIDS and hepatitis testing that donors undergo has been a factor in shortening the supply, along with summertime drop in donations and the spike in surgeries.

Keller said MCH's emergency supplier, the National Blood Exchange in Bethesda, Md., is currently inaccessible because it is having the same problems.

Thursday's blood drive at Reeves County Hospital will be from 1 to 7 p.m. in the hospital's lobby, while the United Blood Service mobile unit will be parked next to Santa Rosa Church to accept donations from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Sunday.

"The public needs to know that one unit of blood donated can help three people, so that's the potential to save three lives," Ontiveros said.

Christian Home begins planning holiday dinners

PECOS, Wed., Oct. 1, 2003 -- Santa Claus is already ringing out Christmas cheer in the stores, and the Pecos Christian Home is already thinking about Christmas and Thanksgiving meals.

Velma Bradley, a longtime supporter of the annual meals served at the Reeves County Civic Center, said plans are underway for the sit-down noon dinner and delivery service to Meals on Wheels clients.

"Everyone who can volunteer may just show up at the civic center on Thanksgiving Day, and we will assign you a task," Bradley said. "From cutting pies to ladling up turkey, dressing and gravy, to washing up the pots and pans, there is work just your size."

Mark Polzin, Christian Home director, will receive donations of (preferably cooked) turkeys, green beans, mashed potatoes and desserts at the home, 1201 S. Elm St., prior to the dinner.

"If you bring frozen turkeys, we will find someone to cook them," Polzin said. "Any donation is appreciated."

The Christian Home annually serves between 300 and 400 people with meals on the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays, both through deliveries to clients of the Meals on Wheels program and dine-in or take-out orders at the Civic Center.

Cheerleaders plan decoration contest for homecoming

PECOS, Wed., Oct. 1, 2003 -- Pecos High School cheerleaders encourage everyone in town to join the "Paint the town purple and gold" contest on homecoming week.

There will be three categories, schools, businesses and homes, with one first place winner for each category to be announced at the homecoming rally on Friday, Oct. 10 at 3 p.m.

Judging will be Thursday, Oct. 9. If you would like to participate, please call 445-5114.


PECOS, Wed., Oct. 1, 2003 -- High Tuesday 95. Low this morning 60. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows near 55. East winds near 10 mph in the evening becoming light and variable. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs near 85. East winds near 10 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 50s to the lower 60s. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 80s to the lower 90s. Southwest winds near 10 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 50s to the lower 60s.

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 instances we will indicate payment and release.


Jae Ewing, 19, was arrested on a Ward County warrant for aggravated assault on Sept. 24, at 7:54 p.m. during a traffic stop at Washington and Eddy streets


Jose Manuel Garcia, 48, was arrested on a warrant for parole violation on Sept. 25, at 1:30 p.m. in the 500 block of Sycamore St.


Derek Shinkle, 28, turned himself in for a warrant for a probation violation Sept 26,at 3:04 a.m., at the Criminal Justice Center.


Eric Estorga, 19, was arrested on two warrants for burglary of a motor vehicle class A on Sept. 25, at 9:53 p.m. in the 700 block of Sycamore Street.


Jesse Adame, 24, was arrested on a warrant for theft over $50 and under $500 on Sept. 26, at 10:35 p.m. in the 2200 block of Missouri Street.


Sonia Rodriguez, 29, was arrested on a warrant for theft over $50 and under $500 on Sept. 26, at 10:03 p.m. in the 900 block of West Fourth Street.


Christopher Rodriguez, 26, was arrested for class C misdemeanor assault under the Family Violence Act, Evading arrest and on a preexisting warrant from Reeves County Sheriff's Office for resisting arrest on Sept. 27, at 1:55 p.m. in the 400 block of Pecan Street.


Sylvia Guadalupe, 23, was arrested for public intoxication and simple assault on Sept. 28, at 1:41 a.m. at Saragosa Hall.


Asusena Sandoval, 21, was arrested on a warrant for theft over $1,500 and under $20,000 on Sept. 29, at 5:33 p.m. when she turned herself in at the CJC.


Mickey Gabaldon, 20, turned himself in on four warrants: public intoxication, minor in possession, possession of an open container and violation failure to appear on Sept. 29, at 3:00 p.m. at the CJC.


Garcia Raul, 30, was arrested for enticing a child (class B) on Sept. 29, at 2:08 p.m., in the 800 block of Cypress St.


Mary Carrera, 35, was arrested on a warrant for parole violation on Sept. 29, at 7:01 p.m., in the 300 block of Locust St.


Paul Rubio, 45, was arrested for disorderly conduct, vulgar language, on Sept. 30, at 5:31 p.m., in the 200 block of North Cedar Street.


Yolanda Rubio, 40, was arrested on a warrant for assault causing bodily injury on Sept. 30, at 11:09 a.m., in the 800 block of South Plum Street


Michael Ontiveros, 35, was arrested on a warrant for a motion to revoke probation from Ward County on Sept. 30, at 8:01 p.m., in the 100 block of North Cedar Street...


Maria Muniz Cabezuela, Fernando Orona, Sr. and Frank Williams

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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