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By MAC McKINNON
PECOS, April 24, 1997 - Problems are on the increase regarding juveniles
with gang activity picking up as well as abuse of substances especially
inhalants, Reeves County Juvenile Probation Officer Alberto Alvarez
reported to members of the council of the Town of Pecos City this
Alvarez said there is a need to look into the possibility of creating a
social services program to deal with the juvenile problem. City council
members asked about the possibility of creating a task force to look
into the problem. Alvarez recommended the city get together with the
sheriff's office and school to work on the situation.
Alvarez was introduced by Police Chief Troy Moore during the public
comment section of the regular council meeting to talk about the current
process for handling juveniles in juvenile court and Alvarez noted that
the process for handling juveniles is better than it has ever been.
That was the good news and then he delivered the news that what Tarrant
County Assistant District Attorney Terry Moore warned about a year ago
in a speech delivered to concerned individuals in Pecos, is now coming
true here. Moore is in charge of prosecuting crimes by gangs in the Fort
The freight train she warned about is arriving in Pecos, Alvarez noted,
as he pointed out the signs of gang activitiy, grafitti, etc. Mayor Dot
Stafford inquired if itw as possible to gt Moore to come back to Pecos
and talk about gangs once more. Alvarez said that the first meeting that
was brought about by Oscar Saenz at Anchor Foods was probably a good
idea and that should be pursued.
He noted he is getting an increasing number of calls from parents
seeking help in dealing with juveniles. Those parents are distress to
learn that juvenile officials can't get involved unless there has been a
crime. Then is when the suggestion was made to create some kind of
social service program with counseling involved.
Alvarez said part of the problem is caused by youngsters from the big
cities who have been sent to live here in a small city to get them away
from problems in the big cities. They've brought the problems with them,
Alvarez noted, saying many of the problems should not be blamed on local
New City Manager Kenneth Neal asked about the possibility of creating
recreation programs to give young people something to do. That could
help, Alvarez said, if the dumping of youngsters can be avoided as has
happened in the past where parents take their children to events and
just leave them, allowing them to get together with others and get into
Alvarez was invited back to keep the council informed on the juvenile
By RICK SMITH
PECOS, April 24, 1997 - As many as 150 Pecos area legal aliens seeking
U.S. citizenship are expected to participate in a naturalization
ceremony July 23 at the U.S. District Courthouse here. Conducting the
ceremony for the first time in Pecos will save a trip to Midland or El
Paso for those wishing to become U.S. citizens.
Midland U.S. District Court Judge Lucius Bunton will preside over the
naturalization ceremony in Pecos.
"The judge is excited about having the first Immigration and
Naturalization Service ceremony in the Pecos area," said Russell Cawyer,
a briefing attorney for the judge. "Bunton holds the Pecos division and
the people there in high regard. He's always had a lot of affinity for
the Pecos division and its people."
News of the Pecos ceremony is even more encouraging for Pecos area
aliens going through the citizenship process and for David Reyes, a
Pecos certified citizenship instructor.
"It's very good news," Reyes said. "We are processing a class now and
this means our applications will be processed soon."
Reyes has 15 members in his citizenship class at the present. So far
this year more than 25 people have gone through his class in Pecos.
Reyes estimates more than 100 aliens attend his classes seeking
citizenship each year.
The 15 students in Reyes' current class have already been pretested by
Reyes and are ready for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
interview, he said. They will have to travel to El Paso for the
interview, Reyes said.
One trip to El Paso has been eliminated thanks to the INS certification
of the Reeves County Sheriffs' Department allowing the department to do
fingerprinting for the naturalization process.
"The sheriffs' department was certified by the INS last month, thanks to
the help of Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo," Reyes said.
Some expect the INS presence in Pecos to increase with the expansion of
the Reeves County Detention Center, resulting in the possibility that
the INS interview for citizenship may one day be available in Pecos,
eliminating one more trip to El Paso.
"Right now the local INS office is limited to only transporting illegal
aliens, they do no administrative work," Reyes said. "I hope when the
jail expands they will place some sort of administrator here in Pecos.
"That's our next step, to get them (INS) to interview here in Pecos so
we don't have to travel to El Paso," Reyes said.
Reyes helps aliens fill out applications for citizenship at his home.
"I order applications from the INS by the dozens so I can pass them
out," he said.
Since the beginning of April, the Immigration and Naturalization Service
(INS) has been separating the applications for citizenship of legal
aliens in the Pecos area from other applications in West Texas in
preparation for conducting naturalization ceremonies in Pecos.
Communications between INS Assistant District Director Robert Looney in
El Paso and Judge Bunton opened the possibility of naturalization
ceremonies in Pecos. Bunton will preside over the ceremony here.
Due to the limit of the number of people the U.S. District Court in
Pecos can accommodate, the number of candidates for the citizenship
ceremony is limited to about 70 at a time, according to communication
between Looney and Bunton. If there are more than 70 applicants at the
time the ceremony is held, more than one ceremony will be conducted on
the same date.
From Staff and Wire Reports
AUSTIN, April 24, 1997 - Saying he didn't consider it a tax relief bill,
State Rep. Gary Walker voted in the minority against a proposed
constitutional amendment allowing the state to lower local school
property taxes by raising and expanding a host of state taxes.
Walker, R-Plains, who represents Reeves County in the Texas Legislature
was one of 35 voting against the measure, as opposed to 114 in favor.
The Texas House today is expected to begin work on a property tax reform
bill, HB 4, which Walker said should be completed by Friday.
The 114-35 vote Wednesday night to approve HJR 4 made way for a nearly
400-page bill to lower local school property taxes by about 50 percent.
To pay for the cuts, the bill would expand the state business tax, add
to the number of goods and services subject to the state sales tax and
increase some other taxes. A separate measure would dedicate an
additional $1.3 billion in state funds for education.
"From most everything available, I would consider it a tax shift bill,"
Walker said. The entire package would cut local and state taxes about 2
percent for many Texans. Wealthier and poorer Texans would get slightly
more cuts than those in the middle class.
Parts of the bill, including the business tax expansion, would be
unconstitutional unless voters approve the proposed amendment. It now
goes to the Senate and would go to voters on Aug. 9.
"My problem with it is you're giving away business property to the
state. In Pecos, agricultural land would be given to the state for
taxing purposes," he said, explaining that only residential houses would
benefit from the school property tax reduction.
"I think when people read about a decline in property taxes of 50
percent, most believed that's how much taxes would be cut," Walker said.
"Right now it is essentially revenue neutral. Most reports say people
will save about 2 to 3 percent on their tax bills."
The constitutional amendment would:
- Bar school districts from imposing a business property tax for school
operation and maintenance.
- Allow the state to impose a business property tax for school operation
- Limit to $1.05 per $100 in value the maintenance and operation tax on
residential and business property.
- Allow the state to limit the number of times residential property can
be appraised and the percentage property value rates can raise after
- Allow the state to expand the state business tax - often called a
business income tax - to all companies except sole proprietorships.
Walker said the shift in taxes will mean consumers will see higher costs
in other areas offset most of the property tax reduction they'll get.
"If you're in Pecos and paying $1,000 in school property taxes, you'll
save $500 in the reduction, but taxes on accountants and attorneys will
go up, so their services will be higher. There will be additional taxes
on transportation, cigarettes and utilities will be charged more, and
they will just pass along the tax to you," he said.
The increase would offset all but about $20 of a hypothetical $500
property tax cut, Walker estimated.
The bill would not take effect if voters rejected the constitutional
amendment, and Walker said he plans to travel through his 80th District
during the upcoming months, "to explain the situation with the bill."
House approval of the proposed amendment came after more than eight
hours of debate Wednesday. Several attempts were made to lower the
overall impact of the bill. Other attempts would have expanded it.
Rep. Paul Sadler, D-Henderson, chairman of the committee that wrote the
constitutional amendment and the accompanying bill, called the entire
package a sweeping change in state tax policy.
``There will be fights, but in the end this body knows it has to put
together a package,'' Sadler said.
Bush called the vote in favor of the constitutional amendment a major
step, but also said more work remains.
Nearly 200 amendments await the bill. Some would expand the tax savings
while others would pare down the list of goods and services that would
be added to the state sales tax. Debate was expected to last through
The bill would set residential property taxes for operation and
maintenance at 70 cents per $100. Business property would be taxed by
the state at $1.05 per $100 for that purpose.
Both types of property could be hit by additional local taxes for new
school buildings and debt up to 50 cents per $100 in value. The plan
contains a provision to encourage district to keep that rate closer to
10 cents by offering most of them state funds for school buildings and
Sadler said the plan for the first time would make clear that the state
is responsible for paying for its schools. The state currently pays
about 47 percent of the cost of running its 1,044 school districts. It
would pay about 80 percent of the cost under the proposal.
Walker also had a problem with that formulation, indicating he was
uneasy about West Texas getting all the money back they would be sending
to Austin in next taxes, as opposed to the current property tax, which
is collected locally.
"I'd estimated in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD you're not going to have
10 percent of your (property) value in homes. Now the state is going to
have 90 percent of the money going down there that then has to come
back," he said. "I don't know if you've taken a look at trains, but a
lot of cars leave West Texas and not that many come back."
By MAC McKINNON
PECOS, April 24, 1997 - Reeves County commissioners, in an emergency
meeting, rescinded actions on applying for a community development grant
for $350,000 and reworked the proposal to be in line with state
requirements Thursday morning.
Commissioner Herman Tarin said he believes the action was necessary
based on information that the state would not approve the grant with
certain provisions as approved in a special meeting Tuesday evening.
It was stressed that this grant is under community development rather
than housing although it is for housing immprovements.
It was believed, Tarin said, that the state would not accept the grant
and this would hamper if not stop Madera Valley Water Supply's
application for a grant as it would hurt the county's scoring on grant
writing, appliations and administration.
Under the new provisions of the grant application, the county will not
request five additional percent for administration of the grant as had
been approved. Instead, the grant administrator, Mari Maldonado, and
grant writer, Carlos Colinia-Vargas, will split the $22,800 that remains
out of the 10 per cent of monies allowed by the state normally for grant
adminstration. some $12,200 has already been spent on adminstation of
the grant. The total amount of the grant is $350,000.
Maldonado said any incidental expenses, expected to be less than $2,000
can be taken our of her half of the $22,800.
Under the revision of the application, the inspector, Augustin Hidaldo,
has volunteered to cut his fee from $1,500 to $1,000 per house, with
cuts on both these funds enabling the county to have up to 18 homes in
the program and possibly 20 as originally proposed rather than 15.
In other action, the commissioners rescinded a bid award to Ernest
Garcia to do one of the first eight homes approved for the program at a
cost of $9,180 and instead awarded the bid to Bill Dickson at a cost of
$9,971 which was noted to be legal because of questions involving
Garcia's work under a previous housing program which is still under
A report by a housing inspector from Midland on that last housing
program was passed out to commissioners and is to be discussed at length
at a later date along with a report from the state that is expected soon.
By MAC McKINNON
Sparks flew in a discussion over building a type four landfill at the
type one landfill that is being closed by the city after trash hauling
was contracted out to West Texas Waster.
Councilman Randy Graham presented figures that showed it would cost the
city about $90,000 or more each year - a conservative figure - to
operate a landfill for what is called demolition debris - shingles,
boards, etc. Engineer Frank Spencer questioned the figures, saying he
hadn't had a chance to look over them. City Sanitation Director Armando
Gil also questioned the figures and it was noted he wasn't consulted.
City Finance Director Steve McCormick said the figures were conservative
but he would be glad to get with a committee to work up figures.
Graham said West Texas Waste has agreed to take the city's demolition
debris for $30 a ton which would cost $30,000 based on the fact that the
city last year generated about 1,000 tons from old houses and other
What about other people who want to haul such debris, Councilman Ricky
Herrera asked. They will be charged the $35 per ton rather than getting
to deposit it free as would be the case if the city had a type four
However, it was noted that in order to dig another trench and maintain
equipment to run a type four landfill, the city would have to increase
trash fees. This would hurt the older people and citizens at large, a
member of the audience, Ralph Hernandez pointed out.
Graham questioned Spencer and said he and Gil were the only two in
attendance who were for the type four and that Spencer could not be
objective because he made money from the project.
Graham was chastized after the meeting by Councilman Gerald Tellez for
making that statement.
Mayor Dot Stafford appointed a committee of McCormick, Gil, a
representative of West Texas Waste and Mayor Pro Tem Elvia Reynolds to
come up with figures for the council to consider at it's next meeting.
In a related matter, the council voted to advertise for bids to sell
equipment no longer needed at the landfill. Some of that equipment could
be kept and bids rejected if it is decided to keep a type four landfill.
In other matters, the council tabled a proposed ordinance on a sewer
abatement project because Attorney Scott Johnson had not had time to
look it over. This item was listed erroneously in yesterday's Enterprise
as an agenda item on tax abatement.
The council approved giving Pecos Day Care Center $1,500 to help defray
utility bills so the center which is primarily funded by money paid by
parents, can buy more playground equipment. The request was made by Mary
Another $1,500 was provided to the meals-on-wheels program, also to help
defray utility bills. In making her presentation for the funds,
assistant for the program, Hilda Mendoza, mentioned the need for
volunteers with transportation.
CPA Dan Painter gave his quarterly report and Chamber of Commerce
Manager Tom Rivera spoke of the need for more funds to make improvements
at the Civic Center. The Chamber manages and maintains the center for
the city and county.
A municipal court report showed that $9,287 was paid in fines during the
past month and much of the activity of the court involves those who fail
to attend school as required by law.
Another report, this one on the ambulance service, showed that work is
needed on collections as the service is owed more than $176,000 for
services it has rendered.
Two items that took up considerable time involved the airport, with Bill
Hubbs, chairman of the airport committee, making the presentation. One
proposal was to clarify policies on renting hangars so that businesses
cannot be operated out of a regular hangar. This new policy is one that
has actually been carried out but not put in writing.
The other action involved renting a hangar to a crop duster, something
that has not been done in for some years because of pollution problems
created by crop dusters at the airport in the past.
Larry Kington requested that his plane be housed to protect it from
storms. Due to the fact the keeps his plane clean and no chemicals would
be at the airport, plus the plane would be subject to inspection, it was
decided to allow him to rent a T-hangar at the north end of the airport
away from other hangars.
The airport committee is to draw up an agreement on the rental.
There are six T-hangars at the north end of the airport that are now
full of junk that city officials said needs to be cleaned out. The
"junk" involves storing things for the border partrol, game warden,
Reeves County Detention Center, Chamber of Commerce and various city
From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, April 24, 1997 - Wednesday was supposed to be the day in-between
thunderstorms for West Texas, but Central and Southern Reeves County was
hit by a storm that brought rain, hail and some power outages to the
A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for the southern section of the
county about 8:15 p.m., and small hail was reported in the area around
Toyah, Verhalen and Saragosa from the storm, which moved southeast into
Pecos County. Coyanosa also received rain Wednesday night, though exact
amounts were unavailable.
Officially, Pecos' rain total was .16 inch Wednesday, while KIUN
reported four-tenths of an inch downtown and the Texas A&M Agricultural
Research Station seven miles west of Pecos received a quarter of an inch
A lightning strike near Gibson's on West Walthall Street was blamed for
a power outages that left central and western portions of Pecos in the
"The lighting hit a jumper and burnt it in two, said John Jackson of
Texas-New Mexico Power Co. We had to kill the jumper to replace it, and
that caused a lot of the outage. The area past the jumper lost power
when the lightning hit."
Jackson said a blown fuse at Fifth and Mesquite Streets also caused a
power outage on the east side of town, and he added "We had a few
problems in the country with blown fuses.
"An auto break opened up north of Barstow, but all we had to do was
close it up and the power went on again," Jackson said.
Wednesday's rainfall lifted the total for the first four months of 1997
to just over two inches. The city has gotten .54 inches of rain this
Reeves County escaped the worst of the weather on Tuesday, when tornado
warnings were issued around Andrews and in the Midland area. Tonight and
Friday, showers and thunderstorms, including some that may reach severe
levels with locally heavy rainfall, are forecast across most of Texas,
and a flash flood watch is in effect for the Panhandle tonight.
West Texas will have showers and thunderstorms through Friday with some
that may be severe this evening. Temperatures will be unseasonably cool
in the Panhandle on Friday with highs expected to be only in the 40s.
It will be cloudy with rain and thunderstorms likely tonight in North
Texas. Windy conditions are forecast in western and central areas.
Cloudy skies will remain on Friday when more thunderstorms, some
accompanied by heavy rain, are forecast.
Showers and thunderstorms, including some that may reach severe levels
and be accompanied by locally heavy rain, are expected in the Hill
Country while southern areas of South Texas will have mostly cloudy
skies. The shower activity will continue on Friday and extend southward.
Lows tonight will be in the 40s in the Panhandle and in the 50s and 60s
elsewhere in South Texas, the 50s and 60s in North Texas and in the 50s
and 60s in the Hill Country and in the 60s and 70s elsewhere in South
April 24, 1997
Funeral arrangements are being made for Tito Prieto, 82, who died this
morning at Reeves County Hospital. Arrangements are under the direction
of Pecos Funeral Home.
PECOS, April 24, 1997 - High Wednesday 78, low this morning 52. Rainfall
.16 inch. Total for April .54 inch. Total for year 2.09 inches. Tonight,
mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low
in the mid 40s. Southwest wind 15-25 mph and gusty. Friday, mostly
cloudy with a 20 percent of showers or thunderstorms. High in the mid
60s. West wind 15-25 mph and gusty.
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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