Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, December 3, 2003
Council weighs cost options for sewer repairs
By BRENDEN BRIGGS
PECOS, Wed., Dec. 3, 2003 -- Increases in water and sewer rates for
Town of Pecos City residents and the average household income of local
residents were among the items discussed Tuesday by the Pecos City
Council, as they reviewed the application for a $9 million dollar grant
from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make urgently needed repairs
in the city's sewer system.
Council members Gerald Tellez, Danny Rodriguez and Mayor Dot
Stafford were on hand to hear a presentation from Frank Spencer and
Eduardo Madrid of Frank Spencer and Associates on the financial
commitment and timeline of the grant.
The application is to cover the cost of repair for the towns
deteriorating sewer system according to the presentation put forth to
the council at the last city council meeting by Spencer and Madrid,
whose engineering firm will be overseeing the construction.
The sewer repairs that Pecos needs can be split into two different
aspects, Madrid said. Those are the collections side, which includes
the lift stations and the sewer lines themselves, and the treatment
system, which the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has
If approved by the USDA, the money allocated to the city would be 45
percent grant and 55 percent loan, with a 40-year time frame for
repayment. The total is not in the form of a 100 percent grandt because
of the government agency's estimation that the Town of Pecos' median
income is above the 80 percent mark of the nation's median income.
"The figures that the USDA are using are higher than we think the
income level of Pecos actually is." Madrid said.
The presentation outlined two possible routes for Pecos to take,
accept the full grant amount of $9.1million, and raise water-sewer
rates by $22 per month in two years, or take half the grant, fix the
treatment aspect first and only raise the water-sewer bills by $7 per
month in two years.
"There is no doubt that both are in need of fixing," Councilman
Rodriguez said, "I cannot see any way around it. I just don't agree
with the USDA estimation of our median income."
"The USDA does provide the survey option to re-estimate the median
income level of the town," Spencer said, "But the outcome of the survey
could actually raise their estimation. The USDA will pay for the study,
but their representative said that he had rarely seen the surveys work
out for the town's benefit."
Councilman Rodriguez asked whether the USDA might use the
free-reduced lunch percentage that it currently uses to evaluate the
schools' acquisition of commodities. "They receive a report from us
already, why can't they use that as a guide to the income levels of the
"The USDA is very particular on the system that they use to estimate
the income," Spencer said, while adding "You are welcome to come and
meet with the representative that will be at our offices tomorrow
Mayor Stafford asked about the possibility of the city conducting
its own survey, possibly by going door-to-door. "I just don't think it
is fair that they will only allow the survey to be conducted by this
one company," she said.
The council was told that the grant would cost the city
approximately $178,000 per year for 40 years, using an estimated 5
percent interest rate, according to the figures presented by the
"When would the rate increase have to come?" Rodriguez asked.
Spencer said that the increase would need to be in place in time to
cover the first payment, which not including the cost of the
preliminary engineering plans would need to be in effect by June of
2005. The initial plans put forth by Spencer and Associates would have
to be paid for out of the city's pocket until the final plans were
approved by the USDA, after which the money would begin to come in to
cover costs of construction and pay for the engineering services needed
to design and study the project.
"According to your figures, we will need $340,000 to cover the
start-up cost of the project and the money from the USDA should arrive
in September of 2005?" Rodriguez asked.
"That is what we estimate," Spencer said.
"And the deadline for application is January?" City Financial
Director Sam Contreras asked.
"No, but if we don't get the application in by then, we will be at
the bottom of the stack and might not even get looked at until the next
year," Spencer said. "We must be careful not to exceed the life of the
permit that allows us to apply for these USDA funds, which will expire
in September of 2005. The USDA is the only place to get grants in the
amounts needed to fund a project of this size."
Mayor Stafford recommended to the council that the city should send
a representative team to meet with the USDA representative today. The
other council members agreed, and decided to call another workshop in
the future to discuss the information they gained today with the other
council members and to make a decision at that time.
Reeves-Loving Pecan Show entry pushed back
PECOS, Wed., Dec. 3, 2003 -- The Annual Reeves-Loving Pecan Show and
Pecan Food Show will be held on Friday in the lobby of West Texas
National Bank and entries are still being accepted for both
competitions through Friday morning.
The entries will be taken between 9 and 10 a.m. and Friday at the
bank and judging of the entries will be held at 10:30 a.m. A bake sale
will be held immediately following the judging.
Tuesday was scheduled to be the deadline for entries in the pecan
show, but Sue Evans of the Reeves-Loving Extension Service office said
late entries will be accepted through Friday morning.
Pecan show participants are limited to one entry of each variety
they grow. The grower may enter as many seedlings, known hybrids or
natives as he wishes.
The exhibitor must be the grower and a minimum of 45 pecans are
necessary for each entry. The minimum sample of 45 should represent the
variety and be uniform in size and shell color. Mixed samples (more
than one variety in an entry) are disqualified.
Pecans are judged on the basis of size (number per pound),
appearance and shell color. Kernel quality is equally important and is
based on the percent kernel, color, general appearance, texture,
hollowness, taste, freeze and spots.
Nut entries which do not qualify for regional competition may be
picked up at the Reeves County Extension Office by next Monday. Entries
not picked up at this time will become the property of the
Reeves-Loving Counties Pecan Show.
Plaques will be awarded to the Champion Pecan entries in each
variety division. Rosettes will be awarded to the Grand and Reserve
Champion entry. First, second and third place ribbons will be awarded
to each variety division.
The two division in the Pecan Food Show include adult (19 years of
age and older) and youth (0-18 years of age).
The classes are breads, candy, pies, cookies, cakes and
Pecans must be an ingredient in the recipe and they do not have to
be grown by the exhibitor.
The entire recipe must be entered for judging. In the cookies and
candy divisions, exhibitors must enter a sample of two dozen.
The event is co-sponsored and hosted by West Texas National Bank and
Texas Cooperative Extension.
Rotary to hear district governor during meeting
PECOS, Wed., Dec. 3, 2003 --The District Governor, Howard M. Mercer, of
Rotary District 5730 will be in town to speak to Pecos' Rotary members
Thursday at noon.
The visit is part of the governor's duties that require at least one
visit to each club in the district during his term. District 5730
covers area from Pecos to Sweetwater and all of the Texas Panhandle to
Mercer is scheduled to speak at the weekly meeting of the civic
club. Rotary members and their spouses are urged to attend.
PECOS, Wed., Dec. 3, 2003 -- High Tuesday 74. Low this morning 43.
Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows near 35. Light and variable
winds becoming southeast near 10 mph after midnight. Thursday: Partly
cloudy. Highs near 70. Southeast winds near 10 mph. Thursday night:
Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower to mid 30s. Northeast winds 10 to 15
mph. Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower to mid 50s. East winds
10 to 15 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 20s.
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