Pecos Country History
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News Photos 1997
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News Photos 1998
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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, September 4, 1998
Officials outline economic sales tax plan
By ROSIE FLORES
Questions were answered and minds set at ease regarding a
proposal that would enhance economic development in Pecos,
during a Town Hall meeting Thursday evening at the Reeves
County Civic Center.
Officials from Austin were on hand answering legal questions
that concerned citizens might have and listened to their
input. Scott Joslove, of the Texas Attorney General Dan
Morales' office and Bob Bearden, with the Comptroller of
Public Accounts talked to the group and answered questions
on the 4-A sales tax and the benefits other communities have
received by passing the sales tax for economic development.
Joslove told the group that basically they were here to
answer any "legal" questions they might have about the sales
"A quarter of a cent from the sales tax will to economic
development and I think this is an issue we need to
concentrate on. It's up to the citizens to decide if they
want this and some do, some don't," said Oscar Saenz.
Saenz is a member of the economic development committee and
one of the members who originally traveled to Austin to meet
with Joslove and Bearden. Other members who traveled to
Austin were Gari Ward, economic development coordinator;
Ricky Herrera, city councilman and Frank Spencer, Reeves
County surveyor and member of the RCEDC board.
Joslove gave a history of the 4-A sales tax, which is a
proposal that will be made in the November elections.
Since 1989, voters in many Texas cities have had the option
of imposing a local sales and use tax to help finance their
communities' economic development efforts. The authority to
enact this tax, better known as the "economic development
sales tax," may be found in the Development Corporation Act
Cities may adopt an economic development sales tax under 4-A
or 4-B at a rate of 1/8, 1/4, 3/8 or 1/2 of one percent if
the new total rate of all local sales and use tax would not
exceed two percent. Cities also may limit the duration of
the tax and the use of the funds.
Originally the plan had called for one quarter of a cent to
be taken from city sales tax and 1/8 of a cent from the
hospital district. This has since been changed to include
only the portion from the city's sales tax.
However, Nancy Ontiveros, public relations at the Reeves
County Hospital asked, "How will this affect the hospital
district, the county and the ad valorem taxes?" She was told
by Joslove the hospital district's 1/2-cent tax would not be
"It would not affect the hospital and it won't raise taxes,"
added Gari Ward.
According to the plans, a committee would be formed within
the community that would oversee the projects, but would be
held accountable to the city council.
"Who determines if those funds are used properly?" asked
"I do," said Joslove.
"The development corporation, the committee you have chosen
to represent this community and oversee the projects, are
the ones who will make the project proposals, but they will
report to the city council," said Joslove.
He said the attorney general's office has made some rulings
on items brought up by different cities regarding how the
money is spent.
Joslove added that if the council or the community is not
happy with one or all of the committee members they can be
removed. "The five-member board of directors can propose the
projects and the budget, but ultimately the city council
will vote on these proposals," he said.
Members can be chosen to serve on the committee for a period
of up to six years, but can be removed at any time.
If the proposal of adopting the sales tax passes in the
November election, it will take another election to do away
with it, according to Bob Bearden.
"We have over 380 cities in Texas that have executed the
sales tax and only one city that has repealed it and that is
Lubbock," said Bearden.
He explained that there was a business venture that Lubbock
was interested in and didn't get and that voters later
decided to repeal the sales tax, which is primarily intended
to attract manufacturing and industrial development.
Cities must use the tax revenues to focus on these areas,
and the money raised by this sales tax can be used to
acquire land, buildings, equipment, facilities and
Those can be directed towards manufacturing and industrial
facilities, recycling facilities, distribution centers,
small warehouse facilities; commercial development and
expansion in blighted or economically depressed areas and
development areas; a general aviation business service
airport that is an integral part of an industrial park and
port-related facilities to support water-borne commerce.
Another issue brought up was the fact that this proposal
will go to the voters in November. "What we want to know, is
why the rush, why not wait until you can educate the
community about this and give them time to absorb it?" asked
"Because the sooner we do this, the sooner we get the
money," said Saenz.
"Can we use this money for coordinator?" asked Jeannette
"Yes, you can use this money for a coordinator and there
really isn't a limit on how much is spent on
administration," said Joslove.
"They did a survey on that, and it totaled out that eight
percent was spent on administration on an average, some
communities spent up to 20 percent, but of course all
communities are different," Bearden added. He said bigger
cities will spent a larger percent on this, but the average
was eight percent, according to Bearden.
"Can this economic committee make a loan to one of their own
members?" asked someone from the audience.
"It would be a conflict of interest for that individual to
vote on the project, if he is a member of that company,"
The tax becomes effective after one complete calendar
quarter elapses from the date the Comptroller's office
receives notification of voter approval. For example, if
voters approve the tax in January 1998, and the
Comptroller's office receives notification in February, then
the tax becomes effective on July 1, after the calender
quarter of April-May-June has elapsed. The city will then
begin receiving revenue from the tax in September 1998.
The Comptroller's office will issue a payment for the total
city tax and a letter with the first payment (which includes
the economic development sales tax) with instructions
explaining how to calculate the rate change portion. After a
city receives the sales and use tax revenues from the
Comptroller's office, the city must deliver the revenues to
the development corporation.
The economic committee who will be making the project
proposals are subject to the Open Meetings and Open Records
Act, according to Bearden.
Local efforts helped Del Rio victims
By ROSIE FLORES
After suffering through the disaster of last month's floods
from Tropical Storm Charley, residents of Del Rio are
finding out how truly helpful others can be.
Residents from Pecos and the surrounding area, local law
enforcement officials and the U.S. Border Patrol, Marfa
Sector, coordinated relief measures to assist the Del Rio
area during the recent flooding.
Nine people died and thousands were forced from their homes
by the floods, with the worst-hit homes in the San Felipe
section near downtown Del Rio.
The combined effort in the Trans-Pecos area made possible
the delivery of several thousand gallons of water, along
with clothing and other items to the disaster stricken area.
Henry Carrasco, a resident of Van Horn, provided the Marfa
Sector Border Patrol a water trailer to help with the supply
line, after the floods fouled Del Rio's water treatment
plant. Also providing assistance was Winkles Trucking
The water relief measures were aided by the establishment of
a central command center at the U.S. Border Patrol's air
operations branch in Del Rio. From this location, federal,
state and local agencies coordinated efforts throughout the
flood disaster area.
"We received a call Tuesday (Aug. 25) from the Marfa Border
Patrol requesting assistance," said Winkles employee Randy
A Border Patrol agent spoke to Key about possibly providing
assistance in carrying water out to the disaster area.
Winkles owns a stainless steel tanker which was filled up at
the water station here in Pecos.
"We then had one of our drivers, Manuel Villanueva, deliver
the water out there," said Key.
Villanueva arrived at Del Rio about 10 or 11 p.m. the night
of Aug. 25 and didn't return until the following day at 3
p.m. "It took them that long by the time they got through
unloading all that water," said Key.
He said there were many other trucks delivering water from
other areas. "Some of the water delivered was bottled water,
while other was water transported in tanks such as ours,"
"We're just like most people, when asked for help we won't
say no," Key added. "If something like this were ever to
happen again, we'd be glad to help."
MacArthur Pineda, a member of the local VFW, also is doing
his part in helping the disaster victims. Pineda transported
a load of blankets and clothes to Odessa, for delivery from
there to Del Rio.
It was all donated by the Delma and Edmundo Gabaldon family.
"Delma organized the whole thing, but received donations
from Robert Nunez and I took the items up to Odessa," said
Pineda said the effort was done on behalf of the local VFW
post and that he took it to the Odessa VFW post, which was
coordinating the effort. "They have different drop-off
points and they were going to take it to Del Rio," said
Local law enforcement officials were also on hand to help at
the disaster site.
"We mainly provided general law enforcement help," said
Pecos Police Department Investigator Kelly Davis, who made
the trip along with police department investigator Paul
Deishler, Reeves County Sheriff's deputies Jeffrey Baeza and
"We helped look for dead bodies, patrol the area for
looters and assisted in other areas as was needed," said
A vehicle filled with clothing and blankets left Pecos
"We had a trailer and a van filled with items donated by the
local helping hand," said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez.
Gomez stated that their next effort will be a collection of
canned food items to take to the families at the disaster
Steps taken on tri-county water district
CLAUDE W. PORTER
An ad hoc group of Reeves County land-owners has been joined
by ad hoc groups from three neighboring counties in an
effort to create an underground water conservation district
for the Trans-Pecos region.
Meeting Thursday evening at the Texas-New Mexico Power
Company Reddy Room in Pecos, the Reeves County group, led by
Larry Turnbough, was joined by groups from Loving, Pecos,
and Ward counties.
Tentative boundaries were established for the proposed water
district. It would include Loving, Reeves, and Pecos
Counties, and all municipalities within the designated area.
Ward County declined to be included because it was felt that
a county-wide referendum could not be passed. However, the
western part of Ward County could opt to be annexed after a
district is successfully created.
Nominees from two of the counties, Loving and Reeves, for a
temporary board of directors were named. Pecos County
declined to submit their nominees, but asked to be allowed
to do so within two weeks.
Turnbough, chairing the Thursday night meeting, opened with
comments concerning previous meetings. He indicated that a
lot of interest had been expressed previously in including
Terrell and Brewster Counties in the proposed water
district. A Terrell County group had met on August 17, and
had declined to become a part of the Reeves County effort,
favoring the formation of their own district, according to
During a July meeting, the inclusion of other counties,
including Winkler and Culberson, in the new district was
also discussed, but are not part of the new district.
"We're back to a more localized effort," said Turnbough.
"Now, we need to go beyond our present stage of educational
efforts and make some decisions."
District 73 State Representative Robert Turner of Coleman,
whose district includes Ward County, made an appeal for the
creation of a underground water conservation district. He
said the district is as important to the cities as it is to
Turner stated, "...Senate Bill 1 was created to deal with
the use of ground water in other than critical areas. People
in states and cities in other areas don't have the same
interests we do and are becoming water brokers for urban
Gary L. Walker, State Representative for District 80, which
includes Loving and Reeves Counties, presented an overview
of water districts in the State. In a question and answer
time, he fielded questions concerning tax rates, reasons for
including municipalities in the district, boundaries for the
district, and selection of temporary board members.
Walker also brought apologies from State Representative Pete
Gallego, who represents Pecos County. Gallego's attendance
at the meeting was precluded by the flood aftermath in Del
Walker, in emphasizing the need for creating a water
district in the Trans-Pecos area, said, "There are four
metropolitan areas in the State of Texas. We have 150
members in the Legislature. Over 100 of them live in those
four metropolitan areas. If you don't get a bill to the
House floor, your right to capture ground water is not by
legislation. It is by case lot.
"If a legislator from Houston or Dallas takes a ground water
bill to the House floor," said Walker, "guess what they
might do to you."
Representing the Town of Pecos City Council were City
Attorney Scott Johnson and Clark Lindley, who expressed
concern that a water district which did not include the city
might not take into consideration the needs of those
communities which were excluded.
He also asked how the formation of a district might affect
the water fields now owned by the City.
Lindley said the Town of Pecos City currently pumps water
from a field in Ward County. Another field is under
development for future needs, he said.
"The City will do whatever is necessary to protect her
interests in her present, developing, and future water
supply," Johnson told those at the meeting.
Calling for a motion to create a three-county water district
that would include all municipalities, Turnbough failed to
get the motion or its second.
The floor then called for the counties to caucus and declare
by county their intention to participate or not to
participate in the formation of a district which would
include all municipalities in the affected area..
Loving, Reeves, and Pecos Counties declared their intentions
to participate in the formation of Trans-Pecos Underground
Water Conservation District. Ward County declared not to
participate because they felt it unlikely that a county-wide
referendum to create the district and impose the necessary
tax base could be passed. Annexation of western Ward County,
including the Barstow area, would be a viable option after a
district were formed.
Fred Harrel, representing Pecos County, moved to establish a
temporary board of directors, structured to include three
members each from Pecos and Reeves
Counties, two members from Loving County, and one member
The motion received a second from Skeet Jones of Loving
The motion was passed by a voice vote.
The three participating counties then returned to caucus to
select their nominees to serve on the temporary board.
Billy Blair and Billy B. Hopper were nominated by the Loving
County caucus. The Reeves County caucus selected A.B.
Foster, Jerry Moore, and Lindley. Herman Tarin and Dale Toon
were named as at-large nominees. The caucus from Pecos
County felt they could not name their nominees without
conferring with interests not present at the meeting and
were given a two-week delay.
The function of the temporary board of directors is to call
for a referendum in the affected area to authorize the
formation of an underground water conservation district.
Also, it would be charged with the responsibility of
recommending a cap for the tax base required to operate the
Turnbough set the next meeting for September 17. At this
time the nominees from Pecos County would be received, the
at-large member would be selected by lot, and the temporary
board would organize by naming a president, vice president,
Illegal e-mail sent by dump backers
By RENAE MERLE
Associated Press Writer
AUSTIN -- The state officials considering whether to issue a
license for a proposed nuclear waste dump in West Texas got
illegal communications supporting the dump, the state's
environmental agency said Thursday.
The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission said its
three commissioners received electronic mail from dump
``I am extremely concerned about these circumstances and the
breach of proper legal procedure,'' said Geoff Connor,
TNRCC's general counsel.
Connor said the e-mail sent to agency Chairman Barry McBee
and Commissioners John Baker and Ralph Marquez supported the
proposed dump, which would be built near Sierra Blanca,
about 120 miles southwest of Pecos.
The proposed facility, which is opposed by some West Texas
residents and environmental groups, would hold radioactive
waste generated by nuclear power plants, industry, medical
labs and universities.
Thirteen of the e-mails were traced to seven employees of
Texas Utilities Electric Company, which supports the
facility and is party to the case being considered by the
TNRCC commissioners, Connor said.
The other five were sent by two members of the Advocates for
Responsible Disposal in Texas, a group that also supports
the dump but isn't a party to the pending case, he said.
``It does not appear that any party acted with malice,''
Connor said. ``However, a serious (violation) remains.''
Like judges hearing a court case, TNRCC's commissioners
deciding a contested case cannot be contacted by one side
unless all parties are aware of the communication, Connor
At least one commissioner accidentally saw the e-mails, he
All participants in the case were informed and given copies
of the e-mails, Connor said. He said each side has until
Sept. 18 to file a legal response.
The 18 e-mails should have been sent to the TNRCC's chief
clerk, who would have made copies and sent them to all
parties in the case, Connor said.
``It's unfortunate that some people don't know what the law
is,'' said Lee Mathews, general counsel for the Texas
Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Authority, which is
seeking the permit.
Mathews said while the potentially illegal communications
are serious, no harm was done. ``I don't think there are any
basis for dismissal'' of the case, he said.
The president of Advocates for Responsible Disposal, Eddie
Selig, said the group didn't intend to send the e-mails
directly to commissioners. ``It was a mistake and
unintentional on our part,'' he said.
Selig said the group assumed sending e-mails would be
similar to a letter-writing campaign, where communication is
screened. ``Sending an e-mail apparently is different
because commissioners read the messages'' directly, he said.
Eric Schmitt, spokesman for Texas Utilities Electric Company
said the company did encourage employees to send letters of
support of the site, but did not realize the potential
ramifications. ``It was an innocent mistake,'' he said.
Officials with the Sierra Blanca Legal Defense Fund, which
opposes the site, were critical.
``I think the e-mails reflect the industry's belief that
they have a cozy relationship with the TNRCC,'' said David
Frederick, a lawyer for the fund.
The commissioners must decide whether to accept or overturn
a recommendation of two state hearings examiners who
concluded in July that the TNRCC should not license the
The examiners said disposal officials failed to adequately
study a geological fault beneath the proposed site and to
adequately address the dump's potential negative
Balmorhea hosts annual Oasis events
Oasis of West Texas is promising another fun Labor Day
Weekend in Balmorhea for area and local visitors alike.
The event consists of the World Championship Frijole Bean
And Brisket Cookoff, which will take place all day Saturday.
Beans will be available at 6 a.m. Saturday and pickup for
judging will commence at 4:30 p.m. Beans are judged for
appearance, taste and aroma. Prizes for first, second and
third place will be awarded. The champion will be given free
entry in 1999 cookoff.
In the second annual brisket cookoff, briskets will be
available at 6 p.m., today and will be picked up for judging
at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Briskets will be judged on
appearance, taste, aroma, and tenderness. Prizes for first,
second and third will be given out.
The winner can enter the barbecue cookoff in Pecos on Oct.
2-3, free, compliments of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce.
Other events include a washer pitching tourney for both men
and women. Registration begins at 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on
For the kids, there will be face painting, free balloons and
a watermelon eating contest.
Music will be held throughout the weekend, with D.J. David
Matta on stage all day. Live music will be held from 2-4
p.m. Saturday and free street dance is scheduled for 8 p.m.
until 1 a.m., with Little Job Davilla and the Jetliners.
Food, novelty items, arts and crafts booths will be featured.
For more information call Pat Brijalba at 915-375-2323,
after 5 p.m. today
EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is
obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department,
Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those
The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines
of either traffic citations, animal control violations or
other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed
as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such
instances we will indicate payment and release.
Todd Pfeil, 38, was arrested at 6 a.m., on August 28, in
Toyah, for public intoxication. He was transported to Reeves
Ismael Saldana, 20, was arrested at 2:20 p.m., on August 28,
at Pecos Municipal Court, on a warrant for unauthorized use
of a motor vehicle. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.
Esequiela Martinez, 42, and Sherry Ortega, 22, were arrested
at 6:52 p.m., on August 28, at the Allsups on Cedar Street,
each on a warrant for stalking; Martinez was also served
with a warrant for harassment. They were transported to
Reeves County Jail.
Irma Orona, 25, was arrested at 1:58 a.m., on August 29, at
the Offecina Club, on a warrant for a violation of a promise
to appear in court and having no liability insurance. She
was transported to Reeves County Jail.
Ernest Natividad, 42, was arrested at 3:03 a.m., on August
29, in the 800 block of East Eighth Street, for public
intoxication. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.
Guadalupe Duran, 41, and Jose Carrasco, 43, were arrested at
11:25 p.m., on August 29, at the corner of Eighth and Eddy
streets -- Duran on a D.W.I. refusal; Carrasco for public
intoxication. They were transported to Reeves County Jail.
Hal Pratt, 56, and Manuel Nunez, 31, were arrested at 12:59
a.m., on August 30, in the 600 block of East Second Street,
for public intoxication. They were transported to Reeves
Manuel Contreras, 17, was arrested at 1:30 a.m., on August
30, in the 500 block of South Peach Street, for public
intoxication. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.
Alvaro Reyes, 20, was arrested at 2:08 a.m., on August 30,
in the 500 block of South Peach Street, for public
intoxication. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.
Sonya Rodriguez, 24, was arrested at 6:12 p.m., on August
30, in the 1500 block of Johnson Street, on a warrant for
theft of service. She was transported to Reeves County Jail.
Enrique Lujan, 43, was arrested at 7:46 p.m., on August 30,
at the corner of Second and Cedar streets, for driving while
intoxicated. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.
Martin Gruschin, 32, was arrested at 1:54 a.m., on August
31, at the Town and Country store on Palmer Street, for
public intoxication. He was transported to Reeves County
Sonya Rodriguez, 24, was arrested at 10:43 a.m., on August
31, at Pecos Municipal Court, on a capias pro fine warrant.
She was transported to Reeves County Jail.
Nellie Dunn, 38, Rene Ramirez, 42, and Homar Carrillo, 51,
were arrested at 1:53 p.m., on August 31, at the corner of
Fifth and Pine streets, on a warrant service. They were
transported to Reeves County Jail.
April Rodriguez, 22, was arrested at 4:47 p.m., on August
31, in the 1200 block of South Ash Street, on a warrant for
harboring a runaway. She was transported to Reeves County
Jerry Olivas, 17, was arrested at 7:42 p.m., on August 31,
in the 1200 block of West Seventh Street, for assault under
the Family Violence Act. He was transported to Reeves County
Eric Lopez, 26, was arrested at 7:40 a.m., on September 1,
in the 1900 block of Missouri Street, for assault under the
Family Violence Act. He was transported to Reeves County
Ismael Mendoza, 41, was arrested at 9:05 a.m., on September
2, in the 1700 block of Adams Street, for an assault by
threat. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.
Saul Valeriano, 33, was arrested at 2:18 p.m., on September
2, in the 800 block of West Third Street, on a warrant for
an assault causing bodily injury. He was transported to
Reeves County Jail.
Maria Guadalupe Sauceda, a newborn baby, died Thursday,
Sept. 3, 1998 at Reeves County Hospital.
Graveside services will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, Sept.
5, at Babyland Greenwood Cemetery.
She was born on Sept. 3 at Reeves County Hospital and was
baptized as a Catholic.
Survivors include her parents, Maria Guadalupe Sauceda and
Felix Madrid of Pecos; two brothers, Humberto Salgado and
Heriberto Sauceda of Pecos and one sister Amber Leann Madrid
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
High Thursday 95. Low this morning 65. Forecast for
tonight: Fair. Lows in the mid 60s. South winds 5-10 mph.
Saturday, partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 90s. South winds
5-15 mph. Forecast for remainder of Labor Day weekend,
partly cloudy days and fair nights. Lows in the lows to mid
60s. Highs in the lower to mid 90s.
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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Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise