Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, September 22, 1998
Commissioners lower tax rate
By MAC McKINNON
County taxes will go down 1/10 of a cent and almost all
elected officials along with the county auditor will get a
10 percent pay boost under a budget and tax rate approved
for 1999 by Reeves County Commissioners Monday.
Salaries for the county judge and commissioners were not
included in the pay increases.
The tax rate is essentially the same as last year, although
due to increases in tax appraisals will bring in more money,
resulting in the effective tax rate being slightly less than
The new tax rate of 54.869 cents per $100 valuation will
bring in anticipated revenues of $1.7 million, based on a 92
per cent collection rate.
Other anticipated revenues include $200,000 in delinquent
taxes, $200,000 for administrative fees at the Reeves County
Detention Center, $400,000 in rent of the RCDC, and $415,000
in transportation of inmates for the Bureau of Prisons, U.S.
Marshal's Service and Immigration & Naturalization Service.
It was noted that the western and southern district of the
Marshal's Service are two new customers for the
Other revenues include $126,480 in dues for the new
county-city-school recreation center and $702,625 for
housing prisoners at Reeves County Jail.
Total revenues for the budget are set at $4,326,419.79 as
compared to $4,325,478.91 for expenses.
Dues for the recreation department are based on $20 per
employee for a year. Money - about $120,000 - to make
improvements to the old Pecos High School gym will come from
the county's wellness and health fund. Plans are to add two
racquetball courts as well as make other repairs and
Expenses for the recreation and wellness program were
budgeted at $124,975.91, which include a full-time director,
a full-time maintenance person and two part-time maintenance
people, along with other part time personnel.
Part of the expense budget was an item for jail repairs
totaling $100,000. The Jail Standards Commission has told
the county to replace electronic locks, an move that will
cost almost $300,000. Galindo noted that part of the
budgeted money will go toward making the repairs, with the
rest having to be borrowed and paid out over a period of
After going over the budget for the public hearing portion
of the meeting, commissioners adjourned about 12:45 p.m.
Monday and resumed their meeting at 3 p.m. to approve the
budget, make any amendments, set the tax rate and call the
Nov. 3 general election.
The only major discussion came on an amendment by
Commissioner Felipe Arredondo who wanted to give $1,000 a
year raises to five people and a $500 a year increase to one
other person. The employees are involved in several
departments including the golf course, maintenance and
county clerk's office.
The amount totaled $5,500 and asked where he would get the
money, Arredondo proposed doing away with the veterans'
service office which raised some questions and objections.
He then proposed that part of it be taken from another area
that had been slightly over-budgeted and from improvements
to the courthouse. Dr. W. J. Bang objected to the increases
because it wasn't fair, he said, to pick and choose who gets
raises when all county employees have been given raises the
past two years.
No increases except to elected officials are included in the
budget. Galindo noted that elected officials haven't gotten
an increase in six years and he asked if the six were given
increases, what about the more than 60 others who are hard
working and deserving.
The measure was approved, 3-1, with Dr. Bang voting no and
Galindo not voting.
Commissioner Bernardo Martinez, who has asked that
amendments be considered without giving raises to elected
officials withdrew his proposal on the amendment. He later
proposed with lavish praise that Galindo be given a raise.
He proposed a $5,000 increase but said he would like to give
him $10,000 but Commissioner Herman Tarin suggested it be in
line with 10 per cent along with other elected officials.
Galindo asked that the issue be dropped and said he
appreciated the confidence. When Arredondo seconded the
motion, Galindo talked him into withdrawing his second. Dr.
Bang said he believed Galindo's request that he not be given
a raise be honored. The issue was dropped.
In one other budget item, the road and bridge department was
approved as submitted. Galindo noted that Russ Salcido has
done a good job bringing his budget in for less than the
revenue provided, although the budget is a deficit one,
containing income of slightly more than $600,000 and
expenses of about $700,000.
When asked what will happen if voters choose to go back to
the old system with each commissioner having a crew and
equipment, Galindo said he has figured it will cost about
$200,000 for additional equipment, which will result in
about a seven cent tax increase the following year.
Nothing can be done about it for the coming year as now the
budget and tax rate are fixed.
However, Arredondo said commissioners could work to pool
equipment as is done in other counties so that extra
equipment is not needed.
Hospital board gives new doc ER privileges
By MARI MALDONADO
Clinical privileges were approved for a new emergency room
doctor during the regular September meeting of the Reeves
County Hospital Board.
The meeting was held at the regularly scheduled time last
Tuesday, Sept. 15, in the Reeves County Hospital classroom.
Dr. Osama B. Nahas, M.D., formerly of Houston, will be
tending to patients seeking health care at the hospital's
Aside form that appointment, the September hospital board
meeting was basically, "routine," according to RCH
Administrator Charles Butts. "It was one of the shorter
meetings that we've had," he added.
The meeting came after board members deliberated over the
1998 budget and related issues in August's meeting, finally
setting the tax rate at a slightly lower value than 1997's,
at 35.243 cents per $100 valuation.
Board members voted last week to approve the tax collection
report, payment of bills and the RCH financial statement
with little discussion, according to Butts.
Board member Hiram Greg Luna said that no outstanding budget
figures were reported, which contributed to the routine
Butts said that next month's agenda will include a possible
time change for the board's monthly meetings, from 6:30 p.m.
to 5:30 p.m.
Changes to `toughen up' juvenile center
By MAC McKINNON
A major change in the Reeves County Juvenile Detention
Center was approved Monday during the Reeves County
Commissioners Court's budget hearing on Monday.
Commissioners approved a budget that will make the juvenile
center a satellite of the County Detention Center under the
direction of RCDC Warden Rudy Franco.
County Judge Jimmy Galindo said this was made necessary by
the fact that the center does not meet changing needs for
long-term detention of juveniles, and the U.S. Bureau of
Prisons has a need to house juveniles.
Under a budget that reserves three of the 12 beds for local
juveniles, security will be increased as the facility is
"hardened," according to Franco. He explained that the
juveniles that will be housed there are more violent than
those the facility has been accustomed to handling.
Currently, Reeves County juveniles being held for an
extended time are being sent elsewhere. One juvenile under
arrest for a drive-by shooting on Labor Day is now being
housed at the Midland County juvenile facility.
The new arrangement will see the creation of 12 new jobs
under an expense budget of $462,420.16, with anticipated
revenues of $410,625. Those revenues are to come from
housing nine juveniles for the BOP at a rate of $125 per day.
It is anticipated that $300,000 out of local funds not used
in the current expansion of the RCDC will be applied to
beefing up security at the juvenile center.
There has also been talk of expanding the center, and of
working with the Immigration and Naturalization Service
(INS) and the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School
District to make the now closed Barstow school campus into a
holding facility for INS juveniles.
Galindo said he plans to work on getting grants to help make
up the difference between anticipated expense and revenues
for the changes at the juvenile center. Grants have been
used to defray some expenses for local juveniles housed at
Personnel involved in the juvenile probation office may
continue to be housed at the detention center. Their budget
was contained in the county's general fund budget (see
related story) as were funds to pay for juveniles being
detained at other facilities.
The local juvenile facility was one of the first of its kind
in the state after a court mandate that juveniles be
detained somewhere other than a facility housing adults.
The BOP and INS are also now under a court mandate to find
special housing for juveniles.
RCDC employees' pay hikes approved
By MAC McKINNON
Employees at the Reeves County Detention Center will get pay
hikes under a budget proposed by Warden Rudy Franco and
approved by Reeves County Commissioners in their regular
budget meeting Monday.
It is hoped that the pay increases will help attract
personnel and keep those hired on the job once they are
trained. THe RCD is trying to stop the drain of qualified
people who leave once they are trained to go to work at
other area prison facilities.
The overall budget approved for the RCDC totals $12,661,320
in anticipated revenues from housing an average of 936
inmates along with lease of a courtroom to the Immigration
and Naturalization Service ($5,460) and pay phone income
from use by prisoners ($156,000) as well as interest on
invested money ($30,000).
Expenditures as budgeted total $12,652.590.96. That includes
salaries for 218 employees as compared to 120 in 1995.
There will be $2,000 a year increases for those involved in
custody. Level one will be increased fro $17,000 a year to
$19,000; Level two from $19,000 to $21,000 and Level three
from $21,000 to $23,000.
Medical technicians and counselors will be increased from
$23,000 to $24,000 and case managers will go from $24,00 to
$25,000. Lieutenants will see their pay go from $27,500 to
Department heads will be increased from $30,000 to $31,000.
That also applies to two administrative assistants.
In that budget is $400,000 paid to the county for rent of
the facility, $200,000 to the county for administrative
services, $22,000 to the city for fire protection, $55,000
for the new wellness program (dues for each employee to use
the newly approved county-city-school recreation facility),
and $976,353.75 for payments on loans to finance the new
additions to the RCDC.
The budget includes $5,128,230 in wages, not including
monies for retirement and insurance for employees. The
second biggest item in the budget is $1,302,990.94 for food
It was pointed out that salaries in 1989 totaled $1.569
Galindo denies charges in lawsuit
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo has filed a denial of
allegations that he caused a former employee severe
emotional distress by hiring, then firing her without paying
$740 due in wages.
Terry Rodriguez Carrasco filed the suit in Reeves County
Court-At-Law, seeking $20,000 damages plus $10,000 attorney
fees and interest.
Carrasco claims in the suit that Galindo entered her place
of employment, Town and Country Food Store on West Palmer
Street, on Feb. 17, 1997 and asked her to resign that job
and go to work for him.
She did go to work as a secretary for the county judge on
Feb. 24, 1997 as secretary with the promise of $7 per hour.
"About two weeks later, defendant Jimmy Galindo advised
plaintiff that he was having trouble getting her job
position approved and to continue working and he would pay
her from his own pocket until the position was approved,"
the petition alleges.
About the week of March 10, 1997, Galindo began asking
Carrasco personal questions about her marriage and her
husband, the plaintiff alleges.
He further indicated he would try and pay her out of grants
received by the county. This was not done, and Galindo
terminated Carrasco's employment on March 27, despite the
fact he had complimented her on her work skills and "never
indicated that he was dissatisfied with such," the petition
Galindo paid Carrasco $170 for the hours that she worked,
leaving a wage balance due of $740, plus interest, the
petition, filed by Pecos attorney Scott Johnson, claims.
Through his attorney, Stephen M. Steen Jr. of Odessa,
Galindo denies all allegations "except matters that may be
admitted upon trial."
Reeves County Court-at-law Judge Lee Green has recused
himself, and Judge Glenn Harrison of Sweetwater was
appointed to hear the case.
Judge Harrison set a hearing for 10 a.m. Oct. 26.
Project seeks to increase access at lake
By ROSIE FLORES
Children, the elderly and the disabled will soon have their
own special spot to use their rods and reels in Balmorhea.
Plans are already underway for a fishing pond for children
and adults at Balmorhea Lake, just south of town.
"It'll be great for the elderly and those in wheelchairs
too," said Jack Duke, who filed for the grant to undertake
Reeves County Water District No. 1 is providing the
equipment and manpower to make this dream a reality. Others
helping in this worthwhile effort include Reeves County and
Texas Department of Transportation workers from Pecos and
"We already have equipment, such as a bulldozer, maintainer
and backhoe out there working on moving the dirt and getting
things ready," said water district manager Joe Gallegos.
"We're doing the rough work and Jack Duke is getting
Duke said the highway department donated pipe that will be
placed out at the pond site, and the grant has been applied
for to get the rest of the equipment needed.
The pond will hopefully be ready by mid-winter, according to
Duke. "We need to get the pipes out there and placed in the
right place and put a gate up," he said.
"We think this will be a really great thing, because before
those in wheelchairs couldn't get down there to fish," said
Duke. "Another thing we'll work on is keeping the water
level, to always keep it the same and not let it dry out."
Duke said the lake's water is clear and beautiful, now that
the fish have been drained and the lake restocked. The lake
was drained in order to kill off the sheepshead minnow,
which had been inbreeding with the lake's native pupfish.
Three islands for wildlife are also being built at the lake
as part of another project, and Duke said, "With the grant
we hope we can build a boat ramp also."
Trees will also be planted around the area making it a
better spot for everyone.
"I've also been busy with the water wells for the schools,
that will help them save a lot of money," said Duke.
He added that the Balmorhea Lake project is just one of many
the community has been working on to increase tourism.
Apolonio "Mano" Salazar Vasquez, 75, died Thursday, Sept. 3,
1998 at San Antonio University Hospital.
He was born Feb. 9, 1923, in Barstow, was an United States
Army veteran, retired from Kelly Air Force Base after 35
years of service as a mechanic. He is remembered in the West
Texas area for his musical talent with the band, "Los
He was preceded in death by his wife, Guadalupe B. Vasquez;
sisters, Alvina V. Chapa of Austin; Luisa S. Vasquez of
Barstow; brothers, Domingo S. Vasquez of Monahans; Anastacio
S. Vasquez, Eyermo S. Vasquez, Cruz S. Vasquez, all from
Survivors include two sons, Abel B. Vasquez of Converse;
Gary B. Vasquez of San Antonio; four daughters, Linda V.
Sosa, Helen V. Hernandez, Isabel V. Fuentez, Alice V. Serna,
all from San Antonio; three sisters, Margarita V.
Bustamantes of Abilene, Pabla V. Jaramillo of Austin,
Jesusita V. Lopez of California and one brother, Jose S.
Vasquez of Monahans; 15 grandchildren and four
High Monday 100. Low this morning 72. Rainfall past 24
hours .03 inch. Total for month .38. Total for year 3.86
inches. Forecast for Tonight: Mostly cloudy with a 30
percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low in the lower
60s. East wind 5-15 mph. Wednesday, partly cloudy with a
slight chance of thunderstorms. high around 90. South wind
5-15 mph. Chance of rain 20 percent.
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