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Daily Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Reeves County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas

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Oct. 23, 1997

Vela honored at Pyote

Frank C. Vela of Monahans, a juvenile correctional officer at West Texas State School in Pyote, has been named employee of the quarter at the state facility.
Vela was elected by fellow staff members.
He is the fifth winner in the West Texas State School program to recognize and reward outstanding employees, all of whom are elected by their peers from among the more than 240 workers at the Texas Youth Commission school.
Recognition brings with an award plaque, a designated parking spot for the quarter and a complimentary meal for two donated by a Ward County restaurant.
Vela recently was promoted to a correctional officer four at the school's dormitory six. He was formerly a youth activities supervisor. Both Vela and his wife work at the school.

Former mayor honored

Joan and Dick Hoyer, political, civic and business leaders of Monahans and Ward County for decades, will be honored at a special reception in their honor on Sunday, Oct. 26.
Last week the Monahans City Council proclaimed this Sunday, "Richard J. Hoyer Day."
Joan and Dick Hoyer plan to move soon from the Permian Basin.
The 2:30 p.m. reception will be held at the Ward County Convention Center at 400 East Fourth Street. It will be hosted by the City of Monahans, First State Bank, the Rotary Club, Dunagan Investments and the Million Barrel Museum.
Hoyer, a former mayor of Monahans, has been a state influence as well, serving as president of the Texas Municipal League
He is associated with First State Bank and Dunagan investment. He is a trustee of the Friends of the Monahans Sandhills State Park. He and wife Joan plan to retain their association with Monahans, the county and the area after their departure.

Easy money on tap

AUSTIN - Cash or other treasure is being held by the office of State Comptroller John Sharp for at least 34 current or former residents of Ward County, according to reports from the comptroller's office.
Each year the state comptroller's office publishes a list of individuals or businesses who may have dollars coming to them and which are now in the custody of the state.
These dollars usually represent forgotten or abandoned bank accounts or safety deposit boxes. In 1996, according to the comptroller's communique, more than 29,000 Texans claimed $35 million in property they did not know existed.
If your name is on the list, telephone the comptroller's office at 1-800-654-3463. Out of state callers should telephone 1-512-644-3463.
The communities listed are the last known address of those named.


Helen E. Pollard


Reginald F. Bailey
George D. Baker
Thomas M. Bates
Veta C. Brantley
Larry E. Cooper
Allen and Angela Cunningham
Allen and Trina Cunningham
Danny R. Davis
Jim L. Doran
Jackie Harkey
Gary W. Hebisen
Herbert Johnson
Carl D. Kasner
A. Lamb
Ralena Faye Mooring
Delbert Osborne
Anilkumar B. Patel
Reva Rider
Larry J. Rimer
Ruben P. Romero
Richard and Shelly Smith
Billy J. Sprouse
Jimmy L. Stockstill
T.B. Transport Inc.
Thomas L. Thompson
Donald Ray Thresher
Patricia C. Torres
Seviano R. Valencia
Valley District Inc. EMP PRF S
Kellie M. Vallie
Rafael White Jr.

Residential permits lead list

Building permits issued by the City of Monahans in September total $21,197, according to data released by City Inspector Bobby Sinclair.
The bulk of the building permits, Sinclair reports, were for residential construction comprising $19, 697 of the 13 building permits issued in September.
September's building permits bring the building dollar value for the year through September to $709,321, according to the report from Sinclair
The numbers for all of last year were $1,515,144.
Sinclair reports that September building permits were issued to Lovetta Hollen for $5,990 in garage work at 1010 South Allen Avenue;
John Boggs for $3,800 in fence work at 1007 South Eric Avenue;
Bennie Ford for $2,500 in driveway/sidewalk/fence work at 10156 South Main Street and
Jose Juarez for $2,500 for a storage building at 605 West Sixth Street.
Other September building permits included:
George Paylor, 700 South Calvin Avenue, $1,000 to reroof a carport;
$1,500 to Bealls-Monahans for the just opened department store's sign at 1203 South Stockton Avenue and a $1,200 permit to Samuel Sanchez for bathroom work at 810 North Eva avenue.

County tax rate slashed

The Ward County Commissioners Court voted unanimously Tuesday, Oct. 21, to cut the county's tax rate to .6711 per hundred dollar valuation, a slight decrease from the current rate of .6881.
Tuesday's action followed the court's approval Monday of a projected $15.26 million budget for 1998. The new budget takes into account a three percent cost of living pay increase for county employees and a capital expenditures outlay of $400,000 for the installation of a new elevator in the County Courthouse.
The 1998 budget total represents an increase of slightly more than $1 million from the 1997 total, and is up approximately $3 million from the 1994 total. While the county ended the 1996 fiscal year with a cash balance of $1.65 million, it is projected to end 1997 with a surplus of $412,487 and 1998 projections call for a year-end balance of $297,900. The year-end balance has traditionally been considered a conservative estimate and it is not unusual for the county to end the year in better shape than anticipated.
However, County Judge Sam Massey said the year-end balance could be dramatically affected by the outcome of the current debate over the future of the tax-subsidized Ward Memorial Hospital. Should the commissioners decide to lease the facility or contract with a private, for-profit management company, Judge Massey said the savings would be "plowed back into the bank" at the end of the year.
In fiscal year 1997, the county poured more than the $800,000 budgeted into the hospital and the total could reach approximately $1 million. The 1998 budget calls for expenditures of $750,000. Should the hospital dilemma be solved in short order, the county would save approximately $700,000 to $800,000. However, according to state law, the county would still have to expend at least $100,000 for indigent health care.
Judge Massey has also stated publicly that putting the facility into private hands would "most likely" result in a lower ad valorem tax in the future.
While the 1997 ad valorem tax rate generated $4.85 million for the county, the 1998 rate is expected to generate $5.2 million, although the actual figures budgeted are slightly lower due to the county's estimation of a collection rate of 98%. No funds were budgeted to pay off bonded indebtedness since the county has not had any since 1991.
The three percent raise for county employees will also apply to the county judge and the four commissioners, with each receiving approximately $1,000 more per year in compensation. Construction on the new elevator for the courthouse is expected to start in November, and was deemed necessary in order to bring the facility into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Copies of the budget are available for public inspection in County Clerk Pat Finley's office.

Teacher recertification unpopular

Jim Nelson, chair of the recertification group of the Texas Classroom Teachers Association, is scheduled to speak in Monahans at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29.
State plans to recertify Texas teachers have sparked controversy. One Monahans teacher notes: "I have a certificate that says I'm certified for life." That teacher wonders about the future.
Nelson is scheduled to speak in the Sudderth School cafeteria.

Amendments on early ballot

Early voting for the Nov. 4 elections continues through Halloween with a new twist this year.
By Wednesday, 22 early votes on the 14 proposed constitutional amendments had been cast in the county wide elections. At Grandfalls where citizens also are deciding a suggested municipal sales tax for economic development, two votes had been cast.
Early voting started on Monday, Oct. 20.
This time and henceforth in all Texas elections, unless the law is changed, says Ward County Clerk Pat V. Finley, a voter must prove identity to cast a ballot. If no such proof is forthcoming, the voter's ballot will be rejected and the name signed by the voter concerned will be entered on a state rejected voter list.
"In the past," says Finley, Ward County's chief elections officer, "identification could be asked but never required of a voter. Now, if a voter fails to present his or her voter registration card, the voter must provide documented proof who they are."
If the would-be voter does not have the voter registration card, the voter must present one of the following, according to the law: State-of-Texas issued picture identification card provided for citizens who do not drive.
Current and valid Texas drivers license.
Current United States Passport.
A state-issued birth certificate or other document (baptismal certificate or hospital birth record) that is considered legal proof of citizenship and age.
If none of these are available, Finley advises, there is one other option. That is the execution of an affidavit signed at the polling place by an election worker that the election worker knows the potential voter who cannot document his or her identity.
"The election worker affidavit may be used only if the voter has no identification," says Finley.
Finley notes that the election worker's affidavit is the only option so far approved by Texas Secretary of State Antonio O. Garza Jr.
Finley notes: "It is a lot easier to bring your voter registration card and then no problems arise."
Grandfalls voters are balloting on a proposed sales tax. The plan is presented in two half-cent sales tax plans. If both the plans are accepted by the voters, it would mean, according to city officials about $7,000 a year in revenues that would enhance the town's infrastructure and make it more attractive to prospective companies and businesses as well as providing improved city services. Grandfalls voters on Nov. 4 will cast ballots in the municipal election and in the constitutional amendments elections at the Community Center although there will be two different voting venues at the center.
Among the proposed 14 amendments to the state constitution are ones that provide a mechanism for property tax relief on land where a water conservation plan exists, give the Texas Water Development board more flexibility in the use of its fund, limit the amount of state general fund monies that can be used to pay debts and allow lending institutions to make loans on a home's equity.

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