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Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Monday, October 27, 2003

County seeks funds for Nov. 1 bond payment

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., Oct. 27, 2003 -- Prison finances again were the focus of a meeting by Reeves County Commissioners today, as they discussed options for meeting the 1999 lease payment at the Reeves County Detention Center and other payments that are due at the end of this week.

The group met in the third floor courtroom at the Reeves County Courthouse for their regularly scheduled meeting this morning and discussed reimbursable items that would generate funds that can be used to make the payments that are due this week.

Reeves County Auditor Lynn Owens told the group that the final sheet shows they would end up in a deficit. "The final sheet where we stood on Friday, as far as finances we would have a balance that would be in the deficit," said Owens. "What I wanted to know from the court is if you want to make another payment as soon as the funds arrive?" he said.

Owens said that a 1999 lease payment on the RCDC is due this Saturday, Nov. 1, and the commissioners will not meet again before then.

Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo said that he and Owens had been discussing reimbursables.

"These are funds that are due to us and will come in by the end of the week," said Galindo. "They can be used to make the lease payment," he said.

"We had identified $665,000 plus, including some U.S. Marshal's funds that we are owed," said Galindo.

Galindo said that the U.S. Marshal's Service had paid Reeves County at the wrong rate for housing inmates at the new RCDC III unit, and that the county was owed some money. "They paid at the rate that they use at the downtown facility (Reeves County Jail) and the RCDC uses a different rate," said Galindo.

Galindo said that there was some $665,000 that could be and should be tendered to the county by the end of the week.

"That would mean that we would have roughly $760,000 more and even if they pay us at the $35 for July it would still make it over $800,000 that we are due in different reimbursables," he said.

Galindo said that there had been three payments due from the U.S. Marshal's Service. Two have come in and one is still pending.

"I would ask the court to consider another payment and make up any difference from the General Fund, to comply with terms of contract," said Galindo.

Owens told the group that the amount shouldn't be over $60,000.

The Marshal's Service so far has been the only agency to place inmates in the 960-bed RCDC III unit, which was completed in March. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons, which had placed 2,000 inmates in RCDC I and II, balked and putting any more inmates in the county-run facility, saying it had no need for further prison space in Texas at this time.

The payments received by the county for housing inmates at RCDC I and II have been used to make bond payments on those facilities over the years. Without inmates to fill RCDC III, the county has battled for the past three months to meet bond payments on that $40 million facility.

However, Reeves County is no longer hunting inmates for the RCDC III addition. Instead, commissioners have opted to lease out the facilities and proposals for the project from private prison management companies are due by 2 p.m. this Friday.

The county is receiving man-day rate payments from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons for the 2,000 inmates at RCDC I and II, but without the funds from housing prisoners at RCDC III, the county faces possible default on all three sections of the $89 million prison, which is cross-collateralized.

Along with the RCDC bond payments, the court approved a 1999 maintenance reserve payment in the amount of $29,166 and a 2001 lease payment in the amount of $411,117.

Commissioners also agreed to pay the law offices of Naman Howell, Smith and Lee and Maximus, Inc.

"These are additional RCDC payments that are owed for work done out at the facility," said Galindo. "These were the bond attorneys and they were very important for work done for operations," he said.

Carothers Construction (the construction company in charge of the RCDC III project) change order number eight was approved.

Owens said that this had to do with the savings split between the construction company and the county. "We don't see a problem with this it is in the amount of $65,729 and can be done with final draw," said Owens.

A regular bond payment to Carothers in the amount of $32,086 was approved as well, the money will come from bond funds. "This is for all the close-outs with the exception of N.C. Sturgeon and was done prior to the change orders," said Owens.

Under the same discussion, the court approved a settlement agreement with N.C. Sturgeon in the amount of $312,328.

"That's exactly the amount we owe him, before he made a demand that we owed him more," said Owens. "This releases us from any further claims of money and puts a stop to him asking for any more funds," he said.

The three contractors that had not done close-outs, which included N.C. Sturgeon, Strategics and American West Laundry. "American West Laundry is the amount of $4,400 and Strategic, $30,295," said Owens.

"That's about $34,000 and if we can just close this out, that will be all for the project," said Galindo.

Alpine, Stockton snow, sleet

cause accident, power outage

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., Oct. 27, 2003 -- A cold front brought precipitation to areas of west Texas over the weekend, and with temperatures dropping, the higher elevations in the Trans-Pecos experienced some sleet and snow for the first time this fall.

Temperatures in the Pecos Valley never got cold enough to turn the rain, which began late Saturday night, into sleet or snow, but in town KIUN reported a total for the weekend of 0.30 inches, with slightly more reported north of town.

The snow fell in the higher elevations, both to the south of Pecos and to the northwest, in the Guadalupe Pass and McKittrick Canyon area of northern Culberson County.

In Brewster County, areas of Alpine received 0.39 inches of precipitation, with the 2.5 inches of snow they received between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. accounting for a majority of that. One inch of snow melts down into about one-tenth of an inch of rain.

The precipitation started as rain and sleet around 4 a.m. on Sunday, but turned to snow around two hours after the storm began, according to statistics kept by Alpine radio station KALP.

Fort Stockton received 0.57 inches of precipitation, with a pretty even mix of rain and snow falling on Sunday. According to KFST radio in Fort Stockton, the weather caused a short power outage in the early morning hours, affecting parts of the downtown area.

No roads were closed due to the storm, however there was one accident that was attributed to the slick conditions between Alpine and Marfa, where a single vehicle was involved in a rollover.

The accident happened on U.S. 90 at Pisaino Pass when a car carrying three persons flipped over. There were injuries, but no fatalities, according to the Department of Public Safety.

Freeze warnings were issued last night for areas of the Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains by the National Weather Service, with overnight lows predicted to dip to around freezing. No warnings were issued for Reeves County, and this morning's low in Pecos was only 40 degrees.

On the year this rainfall brings Pecos just over six inches for the year, but that is well short of the average for the year. The area would need to get another five inches in the next two months to reach the average total yearly precipitation of 10.99 inches.

Late rains last year pushed Pecos' rainfall total for 2002 to just over 11 inches, the first time in a decade the city had received above-normal precipitation.

Hospital board to discuss final tax roll for 2003

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., Oct. 27, 2003 -- The Reeves County Hospital Board will discuss the 2003 tax roll and several regular items on Tuesday, when the board holds its regular monthly meeting at 6 p.m. in the hospital's classroom.

The board is set to discuss the tax issues associated with the end of the fiscal year. On the agenda is the approval of the 2003 tax roll, along with approval of corrections of any errors from the previous tax rolls.

The hospital district is looking at a 2003 tax roll of $1,632,258, with the real estate contributing $465,419, personal tax accounting for $62,500, and the mineral roll for a combined $1,104,239 in revenues for the year. This is a decrease of approximately $12,000 form last year.

The corrections arise from various changes in valuation sent from the tax assessor's office, including late over 65 and disabled exemptions, deleted property, double assessments, clerical errors, tax refunds and the resale of foreclosed property. The corrections can add or subtract from the total revenue that the taxing authority can collect. For the hospital, the 2002 corrections have added $4,129 to the previous tax roll of $1,620,856.

Also on the agenda for approval is the sale of property located at 2245 Lindsey St, and the removal of CRNA Steve Brown from the list of hospital personnel, which will be discussed during the medical staff report.

Rodeo Hall of Fame benefit luncheon scheduled

PECOS, Mon., Oct. 27, 2003 -- A barbeque luncheon to help raise funds for the proposed Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame will be held at the Hall's future site, in the old Missouri Pacific Railroad depot, on Tuesday.

The luncheon and tour will be held from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., Tuesday at the depot, located across the street from the West of the Pecos Museum.

The cost of the meal is $8.50 per plate, and the revenue from it will go towards the restoration of the depot and the procurement of memorabilia.


PECOS, Mon., Oct. 27, 2003 -- High Sun. 54. Low this morning 40. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows 45 to 50. West winds near 10 mph. Tues.: Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 80s. West winds near 10 mph. Tues. night: Clear. Lows in the mid 40s to near 50. Southwest winds near 10 mph. Wed.: Sunny. Highs in the mid 80s to near 90. Southwest winds near 10 mph. Wed. night: Clear. Lows in the mid 50s. Thurs.: Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 80s. Thurs. night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 50s.


Lorenzo Flores, Homer Harden, Manuela Rodriguez, Etta Louise Sullivan and Jose Aguilar Tersero

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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