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Garcia said that a weekend water leak in the main line from the Ward
County water field completely depleted reserves.
"We fixed the leak and turned the water back on, but we can't catch up,"
But he said that two pumps were vibrating and had to be pulled out. One
was repaired Wednesday, and the other will be repaired Friday, he said.
"The water we are pumping from the well field is the water the town is
using," he said.
The loss of the main well in the Ward County field has left the city
short of water, anyway, and the council authorized emergency drilling as
soon as a permit could be obtained from the Texas Natural Resources
Garcia said drilling should begin Monday and the well could be in
operation in about 10 days.
Even when city reservoirs are full, the six million gallons will last a
little more than one day, so it is essential to keep the wells operating.
And until the new well comes on line, Garcia asked citizens to continue
to conserve water.
Sammy Urias, who has 15 game cocks at his residence on Pecan Street,
said that chickens are scavengers and eat flies, ticks and other
insects. He objected to an ordinance banning them.
Armando Hinojos asked what kind of ordinance the city has already and
got several different answers.
City attorney Scott Johnson said that livestock such as cows, donkeys,
goats and swine are prohibited unless a special permit is obtained.
Chickens, ducks and pigeons are allowed, he said.
"This is the only city that allows such a thing," said Hinojos. "If you
allow someone to bring in chickes, there's goats and everything else. We
are trying to beautify the city, and this is not helping any."
Randy Reynolds said he is concerned about the 4-H and FFA programs in
which children raise sheep, goats, pigs and rabbits for show.
"We don't want a herd of goats in the backyard, but maybe we could
provide for show animals; school projects," he said.
Johnson said that the present ordinance allows show animals in
residential areas with some restrictions.
Gil said the ordinance was updated eight years ago in an effort to
eliminate problems with people bringing in all kids of animals.
"Complaints are really going up in numbers now," he said.
Police Chief Troy Moore said the number one complaint is dogs, but
number two is chickens: the odor, noise and disturbance.
"Roosters bother old people quite a bit," he said. "People fight with
them. They are raised for that purpose; not to eat."
He said he has received no complaints on show animals.
Gil said most of the complaints he has received are on horses, sheep and
goats kept in messy conditions.
"I usually try to work with the people to get them outside the city
limits or get them to clean up," he said. "They will do it for about a
week, and I get another call. Same problem. They agree to do it. I have
to constantly check that yard."
City Manager Harry Nagel said this is the first city he has been in that
"Who are the people complaining?" asked Urias. "I don't see any people
in here complaining. Chickens have been here ever since Pecos started.
If they are going to complain, they ought to have the courtesy to come
to the council to complain."
Gil said that many people who complain want to remain anonymous because
they don't want to cause problems between neighbors.
Mayor Dot Stafford said it is the council's duty as elected officials to
listen to complaints and represent all the people. It is their
prerogative not to attend council meetings, she said.
Urias said that the sheriff's posse pens are in the city limits, but
Nagel said they are not.
Johnson said the ordinance makes exception for pens within 1,000 feet of
the rodeo arena and for 4-H.
"Is this about chickens?" he asked, noting the ordinance prohibits
"basically anything except fowl." He said that 12 chickens are allowed,
if they are kept in a fenced yard or enclosed area to abate noise.
It is unlawful to allow an animal to cause frequent or long continued
noises which destroys the comfort of persons in the vicinity, he said.
"That's impossible to enforce," he said. "How do you tell a rooster not
"Thats' why it should be a city ordinance not to allow them," said
Johnson noted that Fort Stockton prohibits all animals, including fowl.
He suggested a similar ordinance, with exceptions for show animals, zoos
and stock shows.
"I can understand cows and horses, but at least let us keep the
roosters," Urias said.
Councilman Danny Rodriguez said that Pecos is always compared with
communities around. "One thing I can see is, if they have stricter
ordinances, maybe that's one reason they have cleaner communities," he
said. "We are doing everything we can to clean up our community, and we
need your help."
Stafford instructed Johnson to draw up a proposed ordinance for the
council to consider in a future meeting. He said he would draw up two to
give the council a choice regarding chickens.
The contracts calls for Butts to rent a building at 1920 W. Second
Street from the city at $50 per month and to provide all recycling
equipment and insurance.
Butts will establish pickup routes for waste paper and plastics and will
begin pickup in their own vehicles. Once the volume is sufficient for a
dumpster, the city will provide the dumpster, pick up the material and
deliver it to the recycling site.
All income from aluminum cans accepted at the recycling site will be
paid to the city on a monthly basis.
Butts will provide for commercial documents destruction for confidential
files if necesary.
A manager and one to five machine operators will be employed by Butts.
Salvaged material will be transported by Butts to a recycling center at
their own cost.
Fred Preston, Butts representative from Midland, said they will work
with customers to develop the pickup routes. After about two months,
they may need 10 to 15 dumpsters to collect recyclable material, he said.
"We will start with setting up newspaper collection. We will find some
busy spots where people shop and can bring newspapers in."
David Madril, who will manage the recycling operation, said he will
begin an education process to establish routes.
Armando Gil, city sanitation officer, said the city will have to budget
for a dozen new dumpsters.
"I see some really good benefits," Johnson said. "It would put people to
work. We would lower the amount of trash (going into the landfill).
Danny Rodriguez asked how much savings the city could expect on the
"We will have to see what we are generating," Preston said. "We will
make monthly reports."
"I don't see how we could go wrong," Johnson said.
Preston said it will take a month or two to get customers and routes
Rodriguez's motion to accept the contract at $50 per month, beginning
June 15 and re-evaluate in a year was adopted unanimously.
Madril thanked the council, the Pecos Chamber of Commerce, Johnson, Gil
and Butts for cooperating to get recycling underway.
"I have been working on this 1½ years and have talked to a lot of
people," he said. "I know we are going to work a lot harder to make it
work. A lot of people are all for it. I see it as a stepping stone to
see city government and people working together for a common goal."
The council tabled a proposed contract with GTE that would change the
method of payment from 4 percent of gross revenues to a flat annual fee
Comptroller Steve McCormick said that the 4 percent generated $29,000 in
1993-94 and $25,500 in 1994-95.
"They want a fixed sum each year, adjustable by the expansion or
decrease in volume of lines for the prior year," said Johnson.
John Roy of GTE's Hobbs division, said their view is that a fixed rate
with all the cities in Texas would clear up confusion as to what
revenues are assessed.
"There is a difference of opinion over how revenues are decided," he
said. "We are trying to get a fixed rate and base it on access lines."
Pecos' access lines increased by 12 last year, making 2,176 lines in use
by the close of 1994, he said. "You won't see much change."
He said the 4 percent rate is good. "Pecos is the 19th highest amount in
GTE cities in Texas," he said. "You are probably not the 19th highest in
"Maybe we got the 4 percent because you saved money by not having an
office here," said Randy Graham.
Whether the rate is based on gross revenues or access lines, the
customer pays the fee, Roy said. At the moment, Pecos residential users
are paying 73 cents per month line charge, while businesses pay $1.89 a
month. That would not change under the proposed contract, he said.
"It is a flat rate to a citizen, is what it amounts to. If you collect
$35,000 and the number of people goes down, each person will pay more."
The present 20-year contract was renegotiated in 1993 to double the rate.
Randy Graham's motion to table the proposed contract until it is has an
ordinance number passed unanimously.
Mayor Stafford and Fire Chief Doug Cox presented plaques of appreciation
to retiring firemen A.C. Bishop and Butch Renshaw. Bishop has 29 years
of service and Renshaw 21.
"The water situation is improving due to citizens' voluntarily
participating with us," Nagel said.
He asked last week that residents curtail water usage by not washing
vehicles or watering lawns. Police and city employees have reinforced
the request by talking with homeowners with sprinklers operating in the
yard, Nagel said.
With one major well offline awaiting a submersible pump, Nagel said the
water level in the tanks rose to 33 feet over the weekend.
"As long as citizens of Pecos still cooperate and cut back on water, we
will be all right," Nagel said.
Drilling for a new well was scheduled to begin today or Tuesday. Nagel
said it will take about 10 days to complete it and run tests before the
well can be put online.
That problem should be remedied early next week when the city of Pecos
puts a new water well online, said Harry Nagel, city manager.
Nagel said the 248-foot well was cased Thursday, but it will have to be
pumped for 36 hours to test the quality and quantity of the water.
"It is seven or eight feet deeper than the well that fell in, so it
should be the same good water," Nagel said.
Residents were asked to conserve water after a leak in the pipeline
depleted stores in the city's reservoirs. Nagel said the water reserve
has climbed steadily since, but the voluntary rationing is still in
He asked that homeowners delay watering yards and washing vehicles
until the new well is in operation.
Frank Sturzl, whose organization represents more than 1,000 cities
across the state, said he approached the legislative session with a
better attitude this year in light of his son's military service in
Bosnia and the rescue of Captain O'Grady.
"The legislature is important, but it is not so important," he said.
Noting that he has reported in a newsletter to cities on 122 bills that
affect them, he summarized 10 of the most important that passed and a
few that didn't.
- A tort reform bill capping the liability of cities is one that TML has
tried to get passed since 1987, he said. The bill limits the liability
of individual elected officials or employees to $100,000 each - if
insured by the city.
- One that will save small cities money allows them to cancel an
election if none of the candidates are opposed. It also moves the
deadline for write-in filing to 45 days from 30. "Now early balloting
begins before the write-in deadline," Sturzl said.
- Municipal recreation programs were exempted from child care licensing
- Liability under the Whistle Blowers Act was capped according to the
city's population. If less than 100,000 population, the maximum
liability is $50,000. It also sets venue in the county or regional
council of governments where the incident occured instead of allowing
suits to be filed in Austin.
- "So far, no newspaper in the state has gotten this right," Sturzl said
of the revisions to the Open Records Act. "The press is one side of this
story. They find it very difficult to report both sides."
"TML is portrayed as a traditional enemy of open government; that we
want cities to meet behind closed doors and close records," he said,
adding that is not true.
Proponenets of open records don't care what it costs cities, he said.
"We think if someone wants every record, we should charge charge for
The bill as passed in a "fairly decent bill," he said. "It says if
information is in a computer system and you can produce a record, and
someone wants a record, you now have to do that. But you get to charge
the cost. That seems fair to me."
Ironically, to pass the bill late in the session, the Senate had to
suspend rules related to posting it on the calendar, he said - a
violation of the Open Meetings Act.
- TML opposed bills on annexation and property rights that would have
made it harder for cities to annex adjoining property, Sturzl said. One
bill would have required property owners to agree to annexation. "That
would stop annexation," he said.
That provision was defeated, but owners can force the city to provide
services if they are annexed - and to pay court costs and attorney fees.
- A property rights bill that forces state and local governments to pay
landowners for dmage to property does not apply to cities, he said.
- Cities now can obtain criminal history information on any city
employee - not just law enforcement officers.
- In what Sturzl called a "lobbyist's nightmare," a bill on police
grievances that TML didn't oppose initially was amended on the House
floor to ban polygraph tests and disciplining officers without
sufficient evidence - "two terrible provisions."
He said he hopes Gov. George Bush will veto the bill after receiving
hundreds letters opposing it.
- The juvenile crime bill allows cities to adopt a juvenile curfew, he
said, with review every three years.
Some bills that didn't pass include a system for avoiding underground
damage to pipes, police bill of rights, limits for municipal debt,
mandatory collective bargaining, property rights, statewide smoking ban
and improvements to open meetings act.
"I think we had a good session, but the reason we did is folks like
you," he said. "Our ogranization is the envy of other lobbyists in
Austin because of our greassroots strength."
Pecos Mayor Dot Stafford, president of Region IV, presided for the
meeting, and city and region secretary Geneva Martinez read the roll
call of cities.
Comptroller Steve McCormick helped award door prizes of Pecos Cantaloupe
gift packs, Anchor West frozen food samples and West of the Pecos Rodeo
tickets with motel room for one night.
Cities represented at the meeting range from Big Spring on the east to
El Paso on the west; Marfa on the south and Kermit to the north.
They were treated to hors d'oeuvres and a steak dinner preceding the
Quality and quantity tests on the new city of Pecos water well was set
to begin this afternoon and continue for 36 hours, said Harry Nagel,
"After the test, we will decide what size pump they need to put in," he
Restrictions on watering grass and washing cars will be in effect for at
least this week and part of next week, Nagel said.
City employees and police have been contacting homeowners watering yards
and others washing cars. Some claim they were given a warning by police.
"We have had officers remind them we have a water shortage," said Police
Chief Troy Moore, but we haven't given any warnings. We are very pleased
with the response of the public."
Nagel said that police have no authority to issue citations regarding
use of water, since the council has not declared an emergency.
"All our restrictions are voluntary. We don't have an ordinance on
this," he said, while commending residents for complying to ensure a
supply of water for necessities.
The council will consider his request in their regular meeting at 7:30
Brookshire and city/county health inspector Armando Gil are working
together to require property owners to demolish abandoned structures and
clean up the lots. If they fail to comply, the city or county will do
the work and put a lien on the property, Brookshire said.
Two abandoned properties that have come to their attention in recent
weeks are in the initial stages of owner notification, Gil said.
One of those is outside the city limits, and the county will be
responsible for demolishing it if the owners fail to do so. Since they
have been keeping taxes on the property current, Gil said he believes
they will clean it up themselves.
The other has more delinquent taxes owing than a neighbor who wants the
land is willing to pay.
Brookshire and Gil said they will work with taxing entities to obtain
title to abandoned structures before years of taxes accrue.
Also on Thursday's council agenda are proposed amendments to the animal
ordinance, a discussion with Classic Cable owners about the local cable
franchise and extension of the Enterprise Zone to Anchor West Inc. on
The council will consider the amendment in their meeting at 7:30 a.m.
Exemptions would still be made for zoos, stock shows, circuses, rodeos,
school projects, pens near the rodeo arena and 4-H and FFA sheep
projects - with a permit from the city-county health department.
By banning livestock, three provisions in the existing ordinance
relating to permits would be moot, and therefore deleted.
City-county health officer Armando Gil said he has had complaints about
livestock in yards near other residences creating a nuisance. Although
the existing ordinance regulates health nuisances, Gil said it is hard
One of the most controversial provisions of the ordinance is fowl. An
earlier council attempted to ban fowl within the city limits, but
compromised and agreed to allow up to 12 small animals such as chickens,
guinea pigs, rabbits and hamsters in one location so long as they are
penned and not a nuisance.
The proposed amendment would lower that number to six and deletes a
provision that greater numbers could be housed inside a building.
Other agenda items include a discussion with a representative from
Classic Cable Co. regarding transfer of the franchise from United Video
Cablevision, an agreement with GTE regarding their use of city property
to provide telephone service, discussion of a new telephone system for
city hall, deletion of sanitation charges for vacant lots, consider
additional funds for health insurance and demolition of three business
The condemned buildings are located at 1018 E. Third St., 711 E. Third
St. and 800 E. Third St.; the former Tommy's Steak House, Hand of Help,
and Las Palmas restaurant.
Insurance premium and claims are $25,200 above the $15,938 left in the
reserve fund for that payment. The June premium was $8,915, and claims
to the city were $32,222 in the partially self-funded plan.
Eric Roman taught the course at the Northside Pool after completing
lifeguard training under the latest Red Cross standards at Texas Tech
University, said Bernardo Martinez, Precinct 4 commissioner.
Pool rules will conform to Red Cross standards, Martinez said.
Terri Morse, water safety chairman for Pecos, said that all lifeguards
trained at the Pecos High School pool are certified Red Cross
lifeguards, and they are trained in CPR and first aid.
"All the lifeguards at the high school, city pool and Pecos Valley
Country Club have been certified through me personally," she said. "They
are trained in infant and adult CPR, first aid and safety."
Their training includes spinal board extension for swimmers who may have
a neck or back injury.
The Red Cross has relaxed some their standards because it became
increasingly difficult for the average person to meet the standards and
pass the course, Morse said. "I don't know that I agree with it."
"Next spring, when we teach lifeguarding, everyone will get the new
course, whether I agree with it or not," she said.
Currently, certification under state and national standards requires
36-40 hours of training, passing a written test and skills tests to
demonstrate lifeguard skills and time skills.
Morse said the high school pool is the only one in Pecos large enough
and deep enough to accommodate the tests, which include a 25-yard timed
sprint, a 25-yard sprint to pick up a brick and bring it back, a dive to
the deep end to bring up a brick and treading water with a brick.
"The community can rest assured all the lifeguards at the city, school
and country club pools are certified and highly trained with lots of
experience," Morse said.
When the dust had settled, the council voted to reject the proposed
amendment but to enforce the current ordinance requiring that animals
not be a noise or health nuisance.
Councilman Randy Graham said the penalty for violating the ordinance is
a $200 fine. "Would that correct some of the problems?" he asked health
officer Armando Gil, who proposed the changes.
"I am pretty sure it would," Gil said. "It needs to be addressed by the
animal control officer. I have been doing that, but it is hard having to
chase animal pens that are unsanitary."
He suggested a written warning be given for the first offense, and "go
back and issue a citation the next time and let them discuss it with the
municipal court judge."
Gil said he made the proposal because of complaints from the people who
don't like having animals, the odor they create and flies they attract,
in yards next door.
Sammy Urias, who raises fighting roosters at 1017 S. Pecan St., said he
wanted the ordinance left as is.
"A lot of us are game fowl breeders, and people have had horses in the
city limits all their lives. I see no reason to have them move...We have
kids participating in rodeo, 4-H and FFA, etc. If you move the horses to
the country, it is very hard for those kids to go there and practice."
As to limiting fowl and small animals from 12 to six, he said that he
has six brood fowl. "There is no way I could breed and keep my fowl.
Greg Mitchell said the "horse deal" is not right. He said his daughter
is involved in the 4-H horse project, and he keeps horses at home so she
can practice in the evenings.
"Now you tell me I have to drive seven miles out of town...that's really
a hardship," he said.
City Attorney Scott Johnson said the present ordinance provides for 4-H
and FFA project sheep, limited to four in one location.
Other exemptions include zoos, stock shows, circuses, rodeos, public
school projects on school property, veterinarians and pens within 1,000
feet of the rodeo arena where horses were kept when the ordinance was
For livestock not exempt, the owner must obtain an annual permit from
the city/county health department to keep them longer than 48 hours,
paying a $12 fee for each animal unit.
Animals must be kept in an enclosure at least 50 feet from any residence
or 200 feet from a business used by the general public. The pen or
enclosure must contain 500 square feet of land area for each animal unit.
A piped water supply must be available within the enclosure. Animals
must be vaccinated, and the pens kept clean.
Speaking in favor of keeping the present ordinance were Robert Mendoza,
a game fowl breeder; Charlie Bowers, a game fowl breeder and 4-H
booster; Mrs. Barrera, who wants the city to control skunks; Michele
Galindo, an animal lover and 4-H booster; and a man who did not identify
Hiram Luna said that some changes need to be made.
"There are some goats near schools, within a block. Others in another
part of town within three blocks. When the pens aren't kept very clean,
there is a disease associated with it," he said.
"I don't know if we could gerrymander the community to keep some
livestock...I would like to see the ordinance amended to accommodate
some of the livestock but really take a closer look at some animals and
pens and make sure we don't have a safety hazard," he said.
Gil said that Pecos is the only town in the area that allows animals.
"And we are proud of that," said Charlie Bowers.
Graham made the motion to keep the present ordinance and enforce it.
Gerald Tellez Jr. seconded, and the vote was unanimous.
"Chickens are supposed to be in pens," Graham said. "I see a lot of
domestic chickens out. I would like to see that enforced."
GTE proposed a fee of $30,000 per year, to be adjusted each year as the
number of users goes up or down. That is $5,000 higher than this year's
4 percent payment. But the contract offered was for five years, whereas
the current 20-year contract has 15 years to run.
"I know how adamant Nagel is about that 4 percent, and rightfully so,"
said GTE spokesman John Roy of Hobbs, N.M. "But I really think you are
getting a break on that in the sense that it is going down."
Roy said that Pecos lost 176 lines last year, and it cost $4,000 under
the old plan. Under his proposal, 176 lines would have been about half
that, he said.
"We don't make a deal like this with any other utility, and I don't
think we should with GTE," Nagel said.
Gerald Tellez Jr. made the motion to leave the current contract in
effect; Saul Roquemore seconded, and the vote was unanimous.
Dr. Elvia Reynolds was absent due to illness, and Danny Reynolds is in
Austin at a principal's meeting, said Mayor Dot Stafford. Reynolds
recently underwent bypass surgery, and returned to Lubbock Methodist
Hospital after experiencing an irregular heartbeat, Stafford said.
The council didn't say "no" to United Video Cablevision's request to
transfer their franchise to Universable Cable Inc., dba Classic Cable,
but they delayed action until the July 13 meeting.
Bob Whitley of UVC introduced Ken Butler, head of the Heart of Texas
Division for Classic Cable.
Butler said that Classic offers the Disney channel as part of their
basic service; they would consider cancelling the Playboy channel if
most of the people want it cancelled, and would consider opening an
office in Pecos.
He said that UVC has already upgraded the Fox channel as much as
possible, and users should complain to KPEJ in Odessa about the weak
UVC is required to carry the KPEJ signal instead of receiving the Fox
satellite signal, said Whitley.
Randy Graham sked about cutting out the Playboy channel, since blocking
it is not effective.
"We have 30 Playboy viewers here," Whitley said. "UVC's position is that
Pecos is unuique, with only one other system having the Playboy channel.
We have more viewers here than in New York."
"If you cut it off, I don't think we will fill the council room," Nagel
Graham said he liked Classic's proposal, but the council needed time to
draw up a resolution. He made the motion to table until the next meeting
to give absent members a chance to review the resolution.
Oscar Saenz, general manager for Anchor West Inc., got the council's
support for his application to include new construction in the tax-free
Enterprise Zone, but they will have to formally adopt an ordinance to
Saenz said the frozen food processor is adding two fry lines to the
plant on I-20, with the potential to create 150 new jobs.
The present five-year tax abatement for the original plant will expire
this year, and Saenz said he will make another application for the new
construction and equipment costing about $6 million.
"We will fulfill our obligation on the present project, but we want the
enterprise zone for the construction and new additions," he said.
Proposals for purchase and installation of a 37-station telephone system
were tabled for study by City Attorney Scott Johnson.
Cash prices quoted were: Oilfield Phone, $11,100; GTE, $10,805; and
Telecom Management Consultant, $14,983.
Finance officer Steve McCormick said the system would replace two rental
systems now in use that cost $484 per month.
McCormick said that the present system was down for three days recently,
and replacement parts are hard to find.
Continuing their penchant to table, the council took no action on
building inspector Jack Brookshire's recommendation to demolish three
business buildings on East Third Street (Business I-20).
Nagel said the city crews have no time to demolish buildings, and
contractors would have to be hired.
Johnson suggested allowing individuals to demolish the buildings in
exchange for the salvaged materials, and Brookshire was instructed to
look into that possibility.
The council approved a budget line item change to move $45,000 from
emergency contingency to pay premiums and claims in the employee health
plan. McCormick said that the city pays the first $25,000 on claims for
employees joining the plan with pre-existing conditions, and that has
Nagel said that the self-insurance plan still costs less than the
previous plan, and more dependents are covered.
At the request of Becky Millan, the council agreed to give city
sanitarian Armando Gil authority to waive trash pickup fees on lots
where no trash is generated, such as horse pens with no residence nearby.
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324 S. Cedar, Box 2057, Pecos TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321