Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Sotelo says TAAS scores improving
By Mari Maldonado
PECOS, August 10, 1995-Although only two campuses were
recognized for their Texas Assessment of Academic Skills
(TAAS) scores for the 1994-1995 testing year.
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School District
Superintendent Mario Sotelo noted there was a general
increase in scores throughout the district.
"I'm not disappointed with our scores," Sotelo said. "Some
stayed the same, a few lower, but overall there was an
increase in scores."
A survey done by the Odessa American showed TAAS scores for
P-B-T ISD were above the state average in only two of the
seven campuses studied, with tenth grade's results
The survey included grade-by-grade results from 18 area
school districts, with best performances coming from Alpine,
Andrews, Fort Davis, Iraan-Sheffield and Wink-Loving.l The
passing percentages for all parts of the state required exam
equaled or exceeded the state average in six of the seven
grades in those districts.
While the local numbers were below most of the nearby
schools of similar size, no school in the P-B-T district was
cited as a low-performing campus last week in the list
released by the Texas Education Agency.
In the P-B-T district, third graders showed the best TAAS
results, with 77 percent passing all sections of the TAAS
exam. Sixth grade was next, at 64 percent, while 58 percent
of fifth graders and 55 percent of fourth graders passed all
parts of the exam.
Reading and Math TAAS Scores for Crockett Middle School's
Eighth Grade class showed slight decreases from last year's
Eighth grade class and from the same group's scores last
year, who were at Zavala Middle School Seventh Grade. A
total of 47 percent of seventh graders passed both parts of
the test while only 33 percent of eighth graders passed all
Barstow Elementary's sixth grade class Reading TAAS scores
showed slight increases in both areas from when the Barstow
group were fifth graders. Last year's Barstow Elementary
sixth grade class scored higher in the Reading section, but
much lower in the Math.
Pecos Elementary was recognized by the state for its third
graders' performance in both Reading and Math scores, which
were well above the state average of 70 percent passage.
Austin Elementary was as well recognized as it is "a direct
feeder," to Pecos Elementary, Sotelo told board members
during a June school board meeting.
He said that some of the campuses that scored well on the
TAAS exams during the 1994-1995 school year were
implementing various TAAS programs.
Although he said that campus curriculums do not entirely
concentrate on the TAAS exams, "we will be paying a lot more
attention to it next year."
Campus administrators hope to determine where children may
be showing some weaknesses, and "target that," Sotelo said.
For example, he said, Pecos High School recently attained
the Skills Bank III computer program, which pinpoints
students' weak performance areas in TAAS and works with the
student on the computer to9 strengthen that.
"However", he said, "we received the program a little late
in the year. Students didn't get to work with it until about
February. But we should see some results next year."
"I really feel there'll be a difference (next year)." said
PHS kids' bid for off-campus lunch rejected
By Mari Maldonado
PECOS, August 11, 1995-Pecos High School students will
remain on campus to eat after a 3-2 against a recent 1995-96
senior class proposal for off-campus lunch.
The vote came during Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School
District trustees' regular monthly meeting Thursday night in
the district board room.
The proposal was initiated by junior English class
representatives this past spring, and sponsored by PHS
Teacher Sam Armstrong. It would have allowed students the
opportunity to leave campus during their lunch hour.
The students put together a discipline plan and arguments
against cafeteria food, and outlined a schedule to work with
the newly implemented block scheduling to support their
idea. They first presented it to board members during the
regular June board meeting.
Students present at last night's meting handed board members
a campus map and areas where they would propose to the city
council for stop signs and speed bumps to regulate traffic
during the noon eating hour. Students elaborated on traffic
concerns after safety questions were brought up by board
members during a July meeting.
After the split decision by the board, Board President,
Board President Linda Gholson made it clear to the students
that their efforts with the project were highly appreciated.
"It is evident that the students have worked on this," said
Gholson of the student's strive for off-campus lunch.
Prior to the two motions by Trustee Frank Perea and Board
Vice-President Earl Bates supporting the students' proposal,
Perea said, "I have a lot of faith in these kids.
"We should make a partnership between us (the board) and the
kids," he added. "We shouldn't place little value on what
kids can do."
Perea made the motion to approve the proposal, with an
evaluation at the end of the semester.
Armstrong told the board that two things should be
considered before casting their votes.
"I will bet my salary that parents that have called in
against off-campus lunch are in the minority," he said. But
regardless of whether or not they are allowed of campus,
there will always be students who will push the rules.
Students who obey school rules and remain within guidelines,
"are the majority," he said, "and I ask you not to punish
them for the few that will break the rules."
In the final vote, Perea and Bates in favor of the issue,
while Gholson and trustees Hugh Box and Oscar Saenz were
against. Board Secretary Daisy Roquemore opted not to cast a
Gholson explained that she voted against because several
parents, business representatives and community members did
in fact contact her against allowing the students to leave
campus during their lunch hour.
Box said he voted against the measure because of the
possibility those with access to a vehicle might leave
campus in it and be involved in an accident at a time the
parents would be unaware of where their kids are.
"The board must feel responsible for those kids," he said.
Box also said problems might occur if kids failed to return
after lunch. "I respect you folks for doing this," resaid,
"but I just cannot go forward because if we lose anybody or
any person, it just would not be worth it."
Roquemore said that she chose not to vote on the matter
because she felt the motion, as presented by Perea, was not
clear to her.
In other business, after hearing two separate presentations
from representatives for Texas-New Mexico Power Co., and
Long & Associates on the HVAC project at the Crockett Middle
School, board members unanimously voted to look into a
gas-driven engine chiller with individual units for each
classroom, as presented by Jim Knutson of McFall-Konkel &
Kimball Consulting Engineers, Inc.
The engineers hired by Long & Associates to perform a
financial analysis on the eighth grade school project, which
will replace the building's deteriorating heating and
Knutson told board members that heir study showed that the
installation will cost somewhere in the area of $333,000 at
a 6 percent interest rate. On a lease contract for 10 years,
the district will pay about $44,379 a year with cumulative
neat annual savings average of about $14,000 a year.
Knutson told the board that the project could possibly be
financed without the commitment of a down payment.
"If we're gonna spend this money and get it financed, then
let's do it right," said Box.
The board certified a 100 percent estimated debt collection
(EDC) for 1995 and excess debt tax collection (EDTC) for
1994 at $0 as presented by Lydia O. Prieto.
"Although we anticipate the tax rate to say at $1.40,"
Gholson said that the 1995 Effective Tax Rate (the rate
needed to raise the same amount of money was last year's
$1.40 rate raised) was 1.59550. Notice and Hearing Limit TAx
Rate was 1,64336.
If the school district does not exceed this limit, then it
may adopt a tax rate without publishing a notice or holding
a public hearing.
Trustees unanimously approved a Texas Teachers Appraisal
Calendar for the 1995-96 school year with the first
appraisal period scheduled for August 21 through December
15, 1995. Formal Observation will be conducted September 5
through December 15, 1995. Second Appraisal will be January
9, 1996 through May 10, 1996, with changes in the appraisal
process per Senate Bill 7.
A discipline plan presented by Pecos High School Principal
Alice Duerksen was unanimously approved by the board. The
plan was derived by a committee consisting of many teachers
and administrators and was in coherence with changes made by
Senate Bill 1, said Duerksen. The board unanimously approved
the plan as presented.
The six-members body, unanimously approved a Gifted And
Talented program and a Region G/T Cooperative Contract for
the 1995-96 school year.
C/T Coordinator, Anna Hernandez told board members that he
program will be undergoing a transitional stage to be
integrated into a long-range planning process.
The board designated PHS class eligible for college credit.
They include five Computer, four English, six Foreign
Language, five Math, six Science, three Social Studies, one
Speech, three Law Enforcement, one Nursing and one Office
Seven assignments, two resignations and three transfers were
also approved by the board convened behind closed doors for
an Executive Session, at which time an evaluation of the
district's peace officer.
Hardwick takes Miss Cantaloupe title
By Rosie Flores
PECOS, August 14, 1995-Clutching her handmade cantaloupe
doll and with tears streaming down her face, 8-year-old
Tiffany Hardwick was crowned Little Miss Cantaloupe 1995 at
the 12th annual pageant, held Friday evening at the Pecos
High School Auditorium.
The pageant was part of this weekend's Pecos Cantaloupe
Festival, which was held downtown for the first time this
Hardwick will be following in last years's winners
footsteps, Elizabeth Mendoza, by representing Pecos at local
events as Little Miss Cantaloupe.
Thirteen girls ages 6-9 were vying for the coveted title,
with 6 year-old Kelsey McKinnon being named runner-up.
Hardwick is the daughter of Missy Hardwick and McKinnon is
the daughter of Mac and Lea McKinnon.
Nominees were asked to pick out a question in front of the
audience. Missy's question was "What is your favorite game?"
"My favorite game is Splat!" she said.
"What is splat?" asked Master of Ceremonies Kevin Zimbars.
"is a game where you squash bugs," said Hardwick.
Kelsey McKinnon's was asked where she would most like to
travel to. He answer: Disneyland!
Inez Doggett donated the hand-made cantaloupe doll given to
Nominees for this year included, Gracie Leonard Dominguez,
Ashley Dunn, Kendra Kerley, Olivia Legarda, Kelsey McKinnon,
Roxxievette Mendoza, Susan Lee Moore, Lindsey Shaw, Aaron
Taylor, Cheyenne Taylor, Jessica Trujillo and Michelle Renae
Wein. Mendoza would later earn an award for winning the
talent show at Saturday evening's Cantaloupe Festival.
The other girls also performed their Friday production
number on the Festival's oak Street stage, which later
Saturday evening hosted the Roman Brothers Band. The Tommy
Hooker Band performed on the Windmill Square Stage as well,
while food booths served festival-goers on Oak Street and
beer was sold in the courtyard of the West of the Pecos
Along with Zimbars, Jeanette Smallwood and Judy Tipton were
in charge of the pageant itself, while Debra Armstrong,
Brandy Owen and Donna Johnson served in the refreshment
committee while Linda Gholson and Melissa Box were style
Monigue Spencer choreographed a production number which the
candidates performed while 1995 Golden girl Shanna Sparkman
was in the presentation featuring "Colors of the Winds,"
from the Pochantas soundtrack.
Fall fashions were presented in the style show portion
throughout the evening featuring fashions from The Style
Shop, Hollywood Boulevard, Needlework's, Norma Jean's and
Carolyn Baker is President of the Women's Division which
helped coordinate the pageant. Behind the scenes volunteers
Bob Curry manned the lights, Matt Metler worked the
spotlight, David Monroe was in charge of the sound system
and Len Smallwood worked the curtains.
Winners of the cantaloupes contests at the Festival received
ribbons for their efforts and talents.
Mendoza's win in the talent show contest came as she sung a
Spanish ballad title, "Sangre De Indio."
Second Place winner Gigi Jaramillo sang Selena's popular
Tejano hit "La Carcacha," and third place winner Amber Hunt
sang a country western hit.
The winner in the first go-round of the Cantaloupe Sack Race
was Christina Dominguez with Sara Lozano taking second and
Cathy Montoya third.
The second go-round winner in that event was Christina
Dominguez, with second going to Alexa Marguez and third to
Jonathon Kesey placed first in the spitting contest, Randy
Dominguez second and Danielle Lozano took third.
Cathy Montoya placed first in the Cantaloupe Tossing
contest's first go-round, with Rebecca Aragon netting first
in the second go-round.
In the second go-round Rebecca Aragon took first with
Montoya placing second.
Matthew Barreno placed first in the Cantaloupe Eating
Contest, Randy Dominguez and Cesar Carrasco tied for second
and Andrew Lopez placed third in the first go-round of that
In the second go-round Marco Barreno placed first and
Jonathon Kesey placed second.
Commissioners hire new form to collect taxes
By Rosie Flores
PECOS, August 14, 1995-A discussion on the hiring of a
delinquent tax collections firm took up all of this
morning's session of the regular Reeves County Commissioners
Commissioners opted to hire a new tax collections firm after
a lengthy discussion and a presentation by two different
Calame, Linebarger, Graham & Pena, who currently represent
Reeves County and Parmer, Steen and Young were on hand at
this morning's meeting.
"Our law firm has represented Reeves County for a number of
years now," said Rusty McInturff representing Calame,
Linebarger, Graham & Pena. "Being represented by a small
firm isn't always better."
McInturff assured the court that the firm has been doing the
best that they can and that he didn't feel another firm
could do better.
"We're in a position to provide the best service," he said.
McInturff told the court that notices are sent out
immediately after the delinquent tax roll is turned over to
him in July 1, then follow-up notices are sent throughout
If those are ignored, a personalized notice of intent to sue
is sent, then he files suit, takes judgment and puts the
property up for tax sale, according to McInturff.
"The point is that your letters are just not effective,"
said Jimmy Galindo.
"We need them to be vigorous on every account," said
Weinacht. "The only criticism I have with that, is that they
get the letters and don't do anything about it," said
Most of the letters sent out end up in the trash, said
Galindo. "It gets to where it doesn't mean anything and
these people are digging themselves into a hole they can't
get out of."
"We have $1 million in outstanding taxes and something has
to be done," Galindo said.
Elizabeth Partner, of Parmer, Steen and Young represented
that firm this morning. She said her company could raise
collections within a year.
"Do you guarantee us that you can do better than this other
firm," said Weinacht.
"I'll let my record speak for itself," said Parmer. "There
isn't an account that we have taken over where the
collection rate didn't go up."
Speed and amount of collections are our main priorities,
"Who can collect the most money and who can do it the
fastest is what we're concerned about," she said.
"We do start out with mailings also, that's standard
procedure, but then we go to phone calls, adding a personal
touch," she said.
"Most people want to pay their taxes and some just don't
know that there are pay out plans," she said. "We try to get
people to at least agree to the pay out plan."
Parmer also told the court that the firm has a phone bank
which helps the collection rate.
"I want to hear that she's going to beat what this other
firm has done on the long-term," said Weinacht.
McInturff corrected some information which was presented to
the court at previous meeting.
"We were told by your firm that the former tax-assessor
collector (Elida Ramon) who was appointed by the
commissioners had told you not to file any lawsuits," said
County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo
McInturff stated that another representative from the firm
who was not aware of the situation in Reeves County was the
one present at the former meeting.
"She did not request that we cease activities, but merely
told us that she was new and didn't know which delinquent
taxes showed to be filed on," said McInturff.
Our representative misunderstood what was being asked of
him, when he said that, McInturff added.
"But nobody was asking him that, when he volunteered the
information," said Galindo.
"Why is the tax collector picking which accounts should be
sued or not?" said County Attorney Bill Weinacht. "This
should be done from a legal standpoint only and not
That's why the county hires a tax collection firm to pick
out who should be sued or not from a legal standpoint,
McInturff stated that the information provided by his
colleague at the previous meeting was a misunderstanding,
and that he obtained his information from McInturff's legal
After the discussion, Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin
made a motion to retain Calame, Linebarger, Graham & Pena,
but it died for lack of a second.
Galindo then made a motion to hire the new firm, with
Precinct 4 Commissioner Bernardo Martinez seconding it.
"They have a new method, which I think will help us and
competition creates results," said Martinez.
"We're in a desperate situation and have to find a way to
increase revenue," said Precinct 2 Commissioner W.J Bang.
"We have to look at the bottom line and right now we need
money coming in," he said.
Commissioners agreed to give the former tax collection firm
a 30-day notice of termination and to hire the new firm
beginning Sept. 15 until June 30, 1997.
Commissioners then recessed for lunch and were scheduled to
take up the other items on their long agenda this afternoon.
County hikes vehicle fee, eyes staff cuts
By Mari Maldonado
PECOS, August 15, 1995-In an attempt to reduce the county's
estimated deficit of about $400,000 for the upcoming fiscal
year, Reeves County Commissioners plan to continue
discussions begun at Monday's regular meeting on possible
"drastic staff reductions."
"We're looking at staff reductions," said Reeves County
Judge Jimmy Galindo of the meeting, planned for Thursday,
"unless you guys (the four commissioners) want to raise
Precinct 3 Commissioner Victor Tarin asked Galindo, "are we
still going to be able to function (effectively)," with such
"I think so," answered Galindo.
Commissioners kept the pending financial crisis in mind as
they deliberated on several issues Monday afternoon, after
exhausting the entire morning of their bi-monthly meeting on
two presentations and discussions before hiring a new tax
collection form for the county.
On a 3-1 vote, the court opted to hire Parmer, Steen and
Young with a 30-day termination notice to the former tax
collection company, Calame, Linebarger, Graham & Pena.
"We're in a desperate situation and have to find a way to
increase revenue," said Precinct 2 Commissioner W.J. Bang.
"We have to look at the bottom line, and right now we need
money coming in."
In an effort to raise more funds, commissioners unanimously
voted to double the existing $5 motor vehicle registration
fee, which is paid annually with the renewal fee for the
windshield sticker. Money from the fee goes to the county
Road and Bridge Department, with the exception of the 3
percent state deduction.
Galindo noted that former $5 fee brought an estimated
445,000 to the general fund, which will now be double with
"In the end," said Galindo, "we're going to have to reduce
the commitment from the general fund to the Road and Bridge
Department and this will help," in regards to the tax levy
received by the department.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Bernardo Martinez told the court
that when the issue was first brought up, "I voted against
it. It's a hard decision to make, but I'm going to support
it this time," due to the county's financial status.
Tarin noted, "I think this is something we really need this
time," and added, people need to consider "we've managed to
keep taxes down," thus far.
The court approved the certified appraisal roll as
established by the Reeves County Appraisal District, which
Reeves County Tax Assessor-Collector Elfida Zuniga reported
includes an increase mineral value, as the result of dispute
settlement with Texas-New Mexico Power Co.
Another slight increase in valuation was reported by Zuniga
which was the result of assessment of railroad rolling stock
within the county's border.
The newly reported net taxable value was set at
$258,479,340, which Galindo pointed out would put $1.79
million in the county's general fund with a 9 percent
Last year, at the same collection rate, the county's general
fund revenues were $2.13 million.
Zuniga said that a 91 percent collection rate would be more
"That makes things worse." Galindo said. "But we should
budget at 91 percent," which would cut the $1.79 million
estimate even further.
On another 3-1, the court approved nine hires at the Reeves
County Detention Center, with Martinez casting the lone
The hires include six correctional officers at an annual
salary of $15,000, one Sergeant at $21,000 one Lieutenant in
the Custody Division at $23,000 and one Food Service Officer
Galindo asked RCDC Warden Joe Trujillo if any of these hires
were for the positions created at the last meeting.
Trujillo noted that these were for already existing
positions, and the facility is currently in need of 10
correctional officers due to the recent 20 percent expansion
of the facility's inmate capacity.
"We need to hire as soon as possible," he said, "we are
currently at 608 (inmate population) and anticipating 652 by
At the end of Monday's meeting Galindo noted that these
vacant positions should be considered by county departments
needing to make staff cuts, stating that some employees can
be offered a lateral move, instead of being let go entirely.
Also approved in the same 3-1 vote was Zuniga's request for
a full-time employee in that tax office at an annual pay
rate of $12,000 and a part-time hire in the clerk's office
Martinez said he did not vote for the hires in part due to
his opposition to Zuniga's request. She said the new hire
would replace a recently resigned worker.
"We've got to start cutting somewhere," Martinez told
Zuniga. "Please don't take it personal, we're facing massive
cuts and restricting."
"Too much cuts might affect tax collection," said Bang.
Zuniga argued that the court had already cut her staff from
seven deputies down to five. "No I have four deputies with
the last one that quit, It's been difficult."
"If you do that," she told Martinez, I'll have to open later
and close sooner."
Other actions taken by the court involved the unanimous
approval of reports from various departments as presented by
County Auditor Lynn Owens.
While reviewing the reports, Galindo asked Owens if the case
load for the county's justices of the peace are down.
Owens said JP cases have fallen and noted that Balmorhea
currently does not have a Department of Public Safety
trooper living there. He also said, in response to Galindo,
that the county pays the DPS $9,000 for staff.
"We sure would like to have (a trooper) out there," Tarin
said, "we have people out there that need protection."
Monday crash victim dies in Lubbock
By Rosie Flores
PECOS, August 15, 1995-A Pecos man injured in a head-on
collision Monday morning died 41/2 hours later in a Lubbock
James E. McAnally, 67, of Pecos died following the accident,
which occurred at 9:45 a.m. Monday on Texas Highway 17 and
County Road 112, 17 miles south of Pecos.
The accident involved a 1994 Chevrolet Silverado driven by
McAnally and 1982 Ford F-150 Pickup driven by Alfonso R.
Porras of Monahans.
McAnally was transported by ambulance to Reeves County
Hospital, then airlifted to Lubbock, where he was pronounced
dead by doctors Harold Smith and James Thanes at 2:24 p.m.
at Lubbock Methodist Hospital. Next of kin has been notified.
Porras, 41 a truck driver, is listed in stable condition
with bruises and contusions to the right upper chest and
left forearm. He was transferred to Reeves County Hospital
following the accident.
McAnally was southbound on Texas Highway 17, while Porras
McAnally attempted to make a left turn onto County Road 112
and was struck by Porras' vehicle.
Both vehicles skidded off roadway and came to rest in a bar
ditch. Both were wearing seatbelts.
The accident was investigated by Sergeant Tracy Murphee of
the Texas Highway Patrol in Pecos.
Galindo puts county deficit at $1 million
By Mari Maldonado
PECOS, August 16, 1995-Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo
said today that the county's estimated deficit of $400,000
reported in Tuesday's Enterprise is in actuality nearer to
almost $1 million.
The deficit was the main topic of Monday's 6-1/2 hour long
Reeves County Commissioners' meeting, and will be taken up
again by commissioners on Friday, when they gather for a
special meeting at 2 p.m. in the third floor courtroom of
the Reeve County Courthouse.
Galindo noted that he was not taking a conservative approach
to budget procedures this year, but that hew was basing this
amount of the county's performance from January 1, 1995 to
June 30, 1995.
Galindo said the $1 million figure comes from the already
existing $400,000 deficit plus another $500,000 plus from
the projected figures, based on the county's recent
The Reeves County General Fund Revenue Comparison for these
months indicated substantial losses in revenue from the
Prisoners Board, Reeves County Sheriff's Department, the
sheriff's Transportation Department and taxes collected.
"Based on the 1995 revenue projection the performance is
lagging in terms of revenue coming in to the county," said
Both branches run by the sheriff's department are currently
operating at over a $100,000 loss in expected revenue.
"This is not all Andy Gomez's fault," said Galindo. He noted
that there are variable market factors that have contributed
to this.l They include the increased number in jails built
in Texas, the decrease in the amount of time U.S. Marshals
prisoners stay in the county facility and that the U.S.
Bureau of Prisons has not housed a single prisoner at the
downtown jail in over two years.
Despite the situation, Galindo said the RCSD has not made
any staff adjustments. He said that 40 percent of the
projected budget amount for the department will be for
"There has to be some adjustments," he said, adding that
there is an opportunity to move staff into some "15 to 20
positions open" at the Reeves County Detention Center.
"There is an opportunity at the RCDC for those persons
(whose positions are facing elimination)," the judge said.
In addition to the budget talks in Monday afternoon's
meeting, commissioners also approved consolidation of
polling sites for November's constitutional amendment
election, along with purchasing a new copy machine and were
updated on a septic tank project at the Lindsey Addition.
As a result of Monday's vote, the county will once again
consolidate in-town precinct election boxes for the November
Constitutional Amendment election, which will place one
election box in each of the county's four precincts and a
centralized one at the Reeves County Civic Center.
County Clerk Dianne Flores told commissioners, "if we
consolidate, it will save us money."
There are no national, state or local positions up for
election this November, so a light turnout is expected in
almost all Texas counties.
The purchase of a Xerox copy machine for the clerk's office
was approved by the court as County Auditor Lynn Owens told
them that the maintenance costs for the current IBM was
climbing as the machine is getting older.
He told commissioners, "the clerk's office carriers the
burden of a lot of the county's copying needs."
The current machine will be inherited by the sheriff's
Other items approved by the court included three RCDC change
orders and a bid of $500 for a vacant lot located at 517 s
Pecan St., which , "the city has accepted," said County Tax
Assessor-Collector Elfida Zuniga.
Commissioners voted to rescind the original bid from White
Swan for coffee-spice supplies from August through December
1995 and accept DeCoty's bid. Owens explained that the
county failed to include in their bid specs that all other
coffee supplies would need to be included, which White Swan
representatives said they would not be able to do so.
A La Nortena Tortilla Factory bid for tortillas was also
accepted by the court as the company with the west bid
included more that just the supply of tortillas.
Carlos Colina-Vargas of Carlos Colina-Vargas, AICP &
Associates, Urban Planning and Management Consultants
presented the court with a close-out hearing of the Sanitary
Sewer Improvements Lindsay Addition/Colonia Green Acres
In his presentation, Colina-Vargas told commissioners the
project objective to contribute to the elimination of a
threat to the public health posed by inadequate disposal of
waste water in unincorporated areas of the county populated
by low income families was met.
Commissioners discussed the fact that there are $500,000 in
septic funds and with $35,000 designated for administrative
functions from the same grant used for this project.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin asked the other
commissioners that these funds be made available because, "I
have constituents out there that have been asking for septic
The court also approved to pay outstanding bill incurred by
the courthouse stair project taken on by R&R Construction of
County Attorney Bill Weinacht explained to the court that it
was now the county's responsibility to pay the unpaid
creditors because of the inability of the construction
company to meet the project completion deadline.
Weinacht said he was given the authority to handle the stair
matter, at which time he ratified the contract to include a
deadline date. The project was completed one day too late,
which gave back to the county $10,000 of the initial
budgeted amount of $19,000 for the stair repairs.
After paying the outstanding bills, the county will get back
about $1,400 from the remaining $9,000, with they full
amount of about $11,400 to be put back in the general fund.
Line item transfers and semimonthly bills as presented by
the County Auditor's Office were approved by the
commissioner, who opted to table the request by Meyers
Electric and Cabinet Company to waive penalty and interest
on property purchased by the IRS, located near the 2300
block of Toliver Street.
Harold Meyers told the court that he would like them to
waive the ad valor taxes of $1,457.24 and interest penalty
fees of $981.82 because he did not want the previous
property owner (Bobby Enmon) to come in six months and
reclaim the property without having to pay anything. "He'll
be free and clear of all this," he said.
"If we do anything to that piece of property now, he can
come back in six months and he won't have to pay a dime,,
except what he owes to the IRS, " Meyers said.
"We're asking for help to try to build up this town."
P-B-T board alters policy on sick leave
By Mari Maldonado
PECOS, August 16, 1995-A revised sick leave policy was
unanimously approved by Pecos Barstow-Toyah school board
trustees Tuesday night, during the first of two special
meetings this week.
Business Manager Cookie Canon read through a worksheet
completed by a sick leave committee, composed of school
district staff from all levels.
The questionnaire, entitle Employee Leaves and Absences
Local Policy Worksheet, was designed by the Texas
Association of School Boards to help policy makers revise
their sick leave program that presents a number of policy
Some of the revisions made include defining discretionary
and non-discretionary state personal leave. The new text
states that discretionary personal leave may not be taken
for more than three consecutive days except in extenuating
circumstances as determined by the Superintendent.
Employees will indicate on the usage purpose of their
available leave on their Absence from Duty Forms, which will
also be revised. An employee absent more than five
consecutive workdays because of personal illness will have
to submit a medical certification of illness and of his or
fitness to return to work upon their return.
An employee absent more than three consecutive workdays
because of illness in the immediate family shall present,
upon return to work, medical certification on the family
The committee decided that a medical certification, when
necessary, shall be required from a health care provider, as
defined by the Family and Medical Leave Act. The maximum
length of temporary disability leave for certified full-time
employees shall be 180 calendar days.
The new rule also says that sick leave earned during the
1994-95 school year must be retained and used in accordance
with Education Code provisions that were in effect January
Sick leave committee members included Kirby Rankin, Danny
Rodriguez, Cindy Duke, Robert Hernandez, Becky Paz, Sylvia
Sadler, JOe Coody, Danny Rubio, Calvin Howard, Debra
Martinez, Dora Villanueva, Susie Orona and Cookie Canon.
Canon noted that the policy will be discussed in detail at
Thursday's in-service meeting. She also told members that
the district has recently received software to aid in the
record keeping for leaves and absences.
Paraprofessional job descriptions and salary-scale placement
were also discussed by the board on Tuesday, and approved.
Roof-top air conditioner bids for Crockett Middle School
Eighth Grade were rejected and permission was granted by
board members for the business office to seek proposals for
natural gas driven chillers for the project.
This was done in accordance with the board's last meeting,
in which they decided to go with the new project after a
presentation by a Long & Associates representative.
The tax rate was discussed briefly. Canon reported that the
district is looking at the same rate as last year, which
would be the fourth consecutive year at $1.40 per $100
"I think it shows that there's been an awful lot of work
done on it," said Board President Linda Gholson, "with
everything considered...valuation going down.. economy going
down and what not."
The figure was calculated from $1.325 paid for Interest and
Sinking (INS) and .075 for Maintenance and Operation (M&O).
"We have to pay INS in 95-96," Canon told board members,
"and we have one more payment in 96-97 and we don't have to
"We can (then) put it in M&O or drop the tax rate or
whatever," she said.
After can executive session, board members approved the
resignation of James Henderson, Pecos High School math; one
assignment - John Calvin Bickham, Zavala Middle School
Seventh Grade Earth Science; two transfers - Cynthia
Armbruster, from Austin Elementary G/T to ESL at Lamar
Elementary and Frank Morin, from Lamar ESL to Zavala Seventh
Grade and Crockett Eighth Grade.
Galindo seeks to cut $920,000 in new budget
By Mari Maldonado
PECOS, August 17, 1995-Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo
said today he plans to cut over $900,000 from the county
budget, based on the proposal he will file later today.
The budget situation will be the main topic for Reeves
County Commissioners when they hold a special meeting at 2
p.m. Friday in the third floor courtroom at the Reeves
Galindo has proposed cutting some $920,000 in county is
faced with tough decisions about whether or not we are going
to make spending cuts or raise taxes," Galindo said. "I am
proposing a budget for this county that will cut almost $1
million dollars in spending to try and keep Reeves County
from taxing itself to death."
"The plan I am proposing is geared toward providing the
basic and necessary services that a county should provide
for its citizens," Galindo said. "without duplicating
services or carrying more of the burden for services than
the county is responsible for providing, or can afford to
carry at this time.
"Part of my plan involves restructuring within the sheriff's
department and the Reeves County Detention Center to address
the need for additional staff at the detention center and
the lack of revenues to support the staff at the sheriff's
department," he added.
Action regarding personnel and salary restructuring for the
sheriff's department and detention center is also expected
to be taken during the special meeting Friday afternoon.
In discussing the county's estimated $1 million deficit,
Galindo said Wednesday that inmate revenue at the RCSD and
it's Transportation Department have lagged in meeting
Galindo who said the projected revenue estimates are based
on past and current year-to-date amounts as indicated on the
county's General Fund Comparison report from January to
He said that in spite of its shortfall, the RCSD has kept
its staff at the same level for the last five years and will
no longer be able to do so, due to the county's financial
Inmates helping with Balmorhea park project
From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, August 17, 1995-State prisons in Fort Stockton are
sending 82 inmates to Balmorhea State Park four days a week
to re-create the original San Solomon Springs habitat on a
three-acre tract behind the park's motel.
The inmates from the Belding and I-10 prisons are making the
50-mile trip as part of the state's prison labor program.
"We want Texas taxpayers to know the truth - that our
prisoners are waking up at 3 in the morning and are giving
something back to society to make Texas a better place,"
Gov. George W. Bush said at a Wednesday news conference at
the State Cemetery to tout the prison labor program.
The state had close to 2,000 inmates out working on projects
statewide Wednesday and hopes to expand that to 5,000 in
five years, said Andy Collins, executive director of the
Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Not only are the Fort Stockton inmates providing all the
labor at Balmorhea State Park to landscape, build a rock
wall and wheelchair ramp and observation deck free of charge
to the Parks and Wildlife Department, the inmates bring
their own lunch.
"It is just a good deal for us and everybody," said Tom
Johnson, assistant superintendent.
In the two months they have been working at the park,
Johnson said the inmates have caused no problems at all.
"They are excellent workers. Their attitude is great. Of
course, there is a guard with them at all times. All we do
is tell them what we want done, and they get after it."
Tightened budgets have cut back on park staffing, so the
extra help has been a boon, Johnson said. Inmates have done
all the work on the wetlands project since the Texas
Department of Public Safety dug it out.
The inmates also help out with mowing the park grounds and
cleaning rest rooms, Johnson said.
An underwater viewing window is one of the features in the
wetlands area, and inmates are constructing a handicap ramp
down to it. Observers will be able to see the endangered
pupfish and other inhabitants of the pond.
The observation dick will allow visitors to walk out and
view the entire area.
Johnson said this summer has been one of the busiest for the
park, which boasts the largest outdoor swimming pool in the
state. Motel rooms were filled to capacity every weekend, he
Statewide, prisoners, parolees and probationers will provide
an estimated 44 million worth of labor for parks and
wildlife management area projects in the 1996 fiscal year,
according to Bush's office.
Prisoners already are laboring on a project to restore and
improve the State Cemetery, the final resting place for
state leaders and others who get permission for burial there.
While Bush, Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock and other state leaders
talked to reporters, inmates clad in white smoothed dirt
with rakes and swept the cemetery road.
Texas Criminal Justice Board Chairman Allan Plunsky said he
hoped the program "will dispel many misconceptions" about
"Many in our state feel that our inmates sit in
air-conditioned prison cells watching color TV every day,"
Plunsky said. "They don't ... By 5:30 a.m., they're out
working either in the fields or at our facilities or in the
The Balmorhea State Park project is the one of two currently
underway in West Texas. In the other, 10 inmates are helping
renovate a building, painting signs, building pens for a
buffalo herd, picking up and hauling railroad ties and
picking up trash at Caprock Canyons State Parks, and 10 at
Canyonlands Trailways State Park.
While inmate labor has long been used on public projects is
being stepped up, formalized and many more efficient through
an inter agency agreement between the Criminal Justice
Department and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Parks and Wildlife, through executive director Andrew
Sansom, has put together a priority list of projects that
could use prison labor. Collins said his agency is also
finalizing a similar agreement with the Texas Department of
In addition, the prison system is trying to give local
communities more input in suggesting projects, Collins said.
The inmates, described by Collins as "low-risk" are
accompanied by armed prison staffers while they work. But
unlike such states as Alabama and Arizona, Texas hasn't
opted for a return to old-style chain gangs.
We've been working inmates unchained for many, many decades.
We feel the chains are really inefficient," Collins said.
"They could not accomplish nearly the amount of work that
they will accomplish today if they were restricted by
Collins said the prison labor program won't displace
non-prison workers because it's work that the government
wouldn't otherwise be able to afford to do.
And he said it's attractive to prisoners because it "gets
them outside the institutional environment" while helping
County OKs major cuts in sheriff's staff
By Mari Maldonado
PECOS, August 21, 1995-After splitting 2-2 on their first
vote Friday afternoon, Reeves County Commissioners voted 3-1
to approve cuts and transfers involving personnel at the
Reeves County Sheriff's Department.
Precinct 1 Reeves County Commissioner Lupe Garcia initially
cast a 'nay' vote for the cuts in the sheriff's department,
as proposed by County Judge Jimmy Galindo, but then
reconsidered his original decision and voted 'aye' after
public discussion was heard on the matter.
Commissioners met before a full house Friday to discuss
personnel and salary restricting in the Reeves County
Sheriff's Department and at the Reeves County Detention
Center. The changes were proposed by Galindo in the 1996
budget he filed earlier that day.
In a public letter he sent to the sheriff, Galindo said, "we
are in a very difficult financial situation.
"If Reeves County were to continue spending $4.5 million
dollars in Fiscal Year 1996, as has been the practice over
the last four years, the tax rate would have to be increased
by 27.85 cents," Galindo said "That would make the county
tax rate (currently 57.9 cents) 85.75 cents per $100 in
property valuation. A tax increase of this magnitude would
be subject to a roll back (election) by the taxpayers.
"If the commissioners choose to fund the sheriff's
department at the Fiscal Year 1995 level, taxes would have
to be increased by 17 cents, making the tax create 75.91
cents per $100 in property valuation."
Galindo's proposal involves a $352,481 cut in expenditure
for the Jail Division and $183,753 in the Transportation
Division. Part of the budget cut would come through 15
lateral transfers of jail and transportation staff to the
RCDC with a $2,000 salary increase.
The transfer of one deputy position to the RCDC, with the
added $2,000 in salary, was also included for consideration
by the sheriff, as were some cuts in general operation
Among those to be cut included two kitchen staff, who would
be transferred to the RCDC kitchen. Meals would then be
shipped from the RCDC to the county jail three time a day.
Galindo said "this opportunity is only good for this week,"
as the RCDC inmate population over about 650 calls for more
positions to be immediately added at the facility.
Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez noted that it will be "up
to the individual if they want to go to the RCDC."
Galindo told the sheriff that his proposal was a "possible
solution to avoid any employee termination."
"Basically what we're doing is restructuring expenditures,"
"I've proposed a balanced budget that does make some
significant changes in the sheriff's department, but it
doesn't lay-off a single person," Galindo told the audience.
He explained his move with a visual chart handed out to the
audience of some 50-plus persons - composed mainly of
sheriff's department personnel and family, along with Toyah
and Balmorhea residents - that the county is currently
looking at a deficit of some $396,453.
He reiterated that revenue brought in by the jail
confinement services and transportation departments has
significantly decreased since previous years.
"We are not housing BOP prisoners, U.S. Marshals prisoners
are not readily available because of the situation with the
(federal) courthouse," he said, "and state prisoners will be
basically non-existent in October, and local prisoners
basically don't pay.
"So I think a conservative figure for the jail will be about
$200,000," said Galindo, which is about $350,00 below what
was adopted in 1995.
The budget proposed for the transportation department was
$250,000, down from $310,000.
"I've prepared my budget proposal based on revenue figures.
If you're spending more than you're bringing in, it doesn't
take a rocket scientist to know that you're going to go
broke," he said. "We've done the best that we can with these
revenue figures. it doesn't help to exaggerate these figures
because in the end you'll end up short."
"We've come up short in the last four years," Galindo said,
"and I want to change that trend by proposing a balanced
The Toyah and Balmorhea residents were there as a result of
Galindo's first budget proposal presented to the sheriff. It
initially proposed cutting four deputies, but Galindo said
he went back and changed the cuts after Gomez told
Commissioner Garcia that the place was totally unacceptable.
"I went back in there and I cut ballparks $1,000 bucks, I
cut one of the extension agents, almost $45,000, I cut
indigent car, I cut indigent attorney fees...all to
accommodate those three deputies," he told the audience.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin noted that it is not
the commissioners decision who gets cut. "I don't come in
and tell you who to hire and fire," he said, "I just want
everybody to understand that."
That's not my job," said Tarin, "that's your responsibility
and I want these concerned citizens to understand."
Sheriff Gomez, after a long silence, finally spoke up and
said that when he first draft of the proposed budget was
introduced to him it proposed the cutting of three Deputy
III's, of which the department has four.
"Your may as well have put a name behind them, because there
is not that many," he said and noted that three happen to be
the Toyah and Balmorhea deputies.
Galindo tried to explain that he did not intentionally put
names to the titles and that the issue was strictly between
Commissioner Garcia and the sheriff.
Gomez told the judge that while cuts in the sheriff's
department are in order, budget savings could also come
through a 10 percent cut in pay for all county employees,
including commissioners - a statement that drew loud
applause from the crowd.
Transportation Director J.J. Garcia asked, "how come you
didn't call us?" in regards to the cuts made in Galindo's
Galindo explained that the matter will still be under
consideration for the next 15 days and concerns and ideas
will still be considered.
Garcia then asked the court if any effort was made to get
U.S. Marshal's prisoners back in the county facility, which
Galindo explained was a result of an order made by Judge
"The person that worked the hardest on that, was (Enterprise
publisher) Mac McKinnon," Galindo in do said of the change,
which sent federal detainees from Hudspeth County Border
Patrol checkpoints to El Paso instead of to Pecos. Galindo
noted that Ferguson will be in Pecos during a barbecue to
dedicate the new federal courthouse, as which time the
situation could hopefully be reviewed again.
After discussing concerns and other possible ways to cut
costs by other RCSD department heads, a motion was then made
by Precinct 4 Commissioner Bernardo Martinez to accept
Galindo's cuts, and was seconded by Tarin. Both then voted
for the motion, while Precinct 2 Commissioner W.J. Bang and
Commissioner Garcia voted against.
"We're not cutting anybody," said Martinez, "all we're doing
is shifting expenses from one fund to another."
Galindo added, "because of their licenses and training, we
don't have to train them again."
After the initial vote, 143rd District Clerk Juana Jacquez
told the court that she did not agree with a 10 percent cut
for county employees, but the court should look at cuts in
"There are other things that can be cut out before we make
"There's no money in the county. I say, cut the golf
course...I say cut the parks, except for the cemetery," and
added, "if the city is not willing to help us ...close them.
I feel for the children, I feel for the youth...but there's
"I am willing as a last resort to take a five percent cut in
Jaquez noted that county employees have not had a raise
since 1993 and "there are some things we can do without."
She added cuts in indigent care should also be look at. "The
indigent care..I've said it before. These people come from a
long line of indigents. I say, make them go back to work."
After more comment from the audience, Gomez asked the court
if he had a choice on the matter and stated that he did not
want any of his employees laid off.
Garcia then rescinded his vote and motioned for the
proposal, making it a 3-1 decision for Galindo's proposal.
Long-time BOP official settles into RCDC post
By Mari Maldonado
PECOS, August 21, 1995-After over 29 years with the U.S.
Department of Justice's Bureau of Prisons, the Reeves County
Detention Center's newest employee had no trouble assuming
"So far so good," said 57 year-old Del Brewer of his new
position as Assistant Warden at the RCDC. His first day on
the job was July 15.
"This was long overdue,"said Reeves County Detention Center
Warden Joe Trujillo of Brewer's arrival. "We've been waiting
for Del for a long time.
Brewer has lived in several parts of the Unites States
during his years with the BOP, including Minnesota,
Wisconsin, New York and California. He's been in Texas for a
while, living in Smithfield, located about 30 miles east of
Austin, before coming to Pecos with his wife.
"After several months of thinking about," and considering
retirement, Brewer said he decided to stay in corrections
and join the RCDC team.
"It's a real good facility," he said, "there are a lot of
good things happening here."
As far as his qualification go, Brewer's credentials speak
Along with 29-plus years with the BOP - which supplies the
county-owned facility with its 650 inmates - Brewer has an
Associate's Degree in Business from Mount San Antonio
College in Walnut, Calif., and another in Correctional
Science from Midstate Tech College in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
He held positions in safety, correctional, confinement,
training departments while with the federal agency and was
presented with over 16 service and employee recognition
Currently he is reviewing RCDC policies and procedures and
Trujillo feels that with Brewer's expertise and experience,
"of our own policies and procedures are not like the BOP's
they will be very close to them."
"The good thing about him (Brewer)," Trujillo said, "if he
was already trained," adding that all he had to do was get
him acquainted with the facility.
"He's been meeting with each and every department head and
officer," said Trujillo and added that Brewer has even been
visiting with employees in the evening and graveyard shifts.
As for Pecos, "it's pretty nice little town," said Brewer.
Mac McKinnon, 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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