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Monday, March 8, 1999

Owens warns commissioners of budget shortfall

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mar. 8, 1999 -- Possible revenue shortfalls and economic development topped the agenda this morning at the regular meeting of the Reeves County Commissioners Court.

County Auditor Lynn Owens presented the court with the possibility of a tax revenue shortfall for the 2000 budget.

Owens said that because of dropping mineral values in the region, property valuations would also drop.

Owens projected that there could be as much as a 20 percent devaluation in property values.

Based on the current tax rate the drop could mean a loss of $254,000 in assessed taxes.

"Under the current tax rate that means there will have to be a 13 percent reduction in the budget," Owens said.

County Judge Jimmy Galindo said that the budget shortfall would force the commissioners either to raise taxes or make budget cuts.

According to Owens, property taxes would have to be raised by approximately seven cents to 61.854 cents per $100 in valuation to make up for the lost revenues.

Owens also said that the situation isn't nearly as bad for Reeves County as for many neighboring counties, since minerals values in Reeves County were generally lower than for other counties in the region.

Of long-term importance was the possibility that the current oil slump might leave mineral valuations in a depressed state for several years, Owens said.

Galindo also pointed out that if taxes were raised to make up the difference the tax hike would be subject to voter rollback since the hike would be more than an 8 percent increase.

Projects that may be affected by the shortfall include improvements to the county jail and any expansion of the juvenile detention facility.

Galindo said that about $300,000 dollars were needed to cover repairs to the jail facility to bring it up to state standards.

"We have the funds to cover these necessary improvements, but we have also been considering expanding the facility," Galindo said. "With the current budget forecasts, it will probably be prudent for the county to simply make the necessary improvements and hold off on trying to expand the facility."

Galindo said that the jail currently brings in about $700,000 in revenue each year to the county and that an expansion of the facility would amount to an increase in created revenue.

The proposed expansion of the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center may also be affected by the budget shortfall.

The current facility has eight beds. Galindo said that expanding the capacity would allow the county to contract out some of the bed space.

The price of the expansion is estimated at $300,000.

The goal of expanding the facility is to better serve Reeves County and also to generate revenue that would make the detention center close to self-supporting, Galindo said.

Mike Burkholder, vice-chairman of the Pecos Economic Development Corporation, addressed the commissioners regarding current economic development activities.

Burkholder said that negotiations are underway with one corporation that desires to remain anonymous, a barbecue sauce manufacturer and Odessa College.

The barbecue sauce producer is operating in East Texas and employs 19.

The company has asked for an interest-free $300,000 loan and a rent-free facility for three years. The interest on the loan would amount to approximately $50,000, Burkholder said.

"The prospect has told us that he plans to build a new facility here in Pecos at the end of the three years and will employ about 90 people at first," Burkholder said.

Burkholder also updated the commissioners on the status of Odessa College's interest in coming to Pecos.

He said that the college is interested, but that the initial funding would have to come from Reeves County and other local entities.

"The college can't spend Ector County funds to build here in Reeves County," he said.

The old White's Auto building is being considered for the project but negotiations with the building owner are ongoing, he said.

Along with updating the commissioners on current PEDC projects, Burkholder also said that money from the Revolving Loan Fund needs to be loaned to help stimulate the economy.

Owens said the fund was set up by the state in the form of a $500,000 loan to Smithers Transportation Test Center from the Texas Department of Commerce.

Under the rules of the program, moneys recouped from the original loan can be used to fund qualifying economic development projects.

"The interest rate is 5 percent, and that is very low," Owens said, "and the money can only be used in instances where we would not be competing with banks on making the same loan."

Owens said that Smithers has paid back the entire amount plus interest and that currently there is about $387,000 in the fund that can be utilized for economic development loans.

The commissioners agreed to investigate setting up a committee that would advise the commissioners on whether to make a loan or not.

Precinct 2 Commissioner David Castillo proposed the idea and said that help could be sought from local bankers who are experts in investigating potential borrowers.

Pipeline environmental deal reached

PECOS, Mar. 8, 1999 -- A fast-track environmental assessment will result from a settlement of a federal court lawsuit involving the Longhorn Pipeline that runs through Reeves and Ward counties.

The pipeline will ship refined petroleum products from the Texas Gulf Coast to El Paso and beyond, utilizing 450 miles of an old Exxon crude oil line between Crane and Houston and adding 250 miles of 18-inch line from Crane to El Paso.

Texas landowners and others filed suit to force an environmental assessment of the possible impact if gasoline products leaked from the old line.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of Austin accepted an agreement between several plaintiffs, including the City of Austin, Longhorn Partners Pipeline and several federal agencies as a settlement.

Under terms of the agreement approved by the court, the EA will be prepared under the direction of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Pipeline Safety.

The EPA will conduct the environmental impact analysis, with OPS responsible for issues involving pipeline safety and technology.

An independent contractor, Radian International, LLP, will prepare the EA with direction from EPA and DOT. The study will be conducted according to federal regulations governing environmental reviews.

Carter Montgomery, president of Longhorn, said, "We are gratified that Judge Sparks has approved the terms of the settlement the parties to this lawsuit have negotiated over the last several months.

"The EA process will assure the public of the pipeline's safety, and by approving this settlement, Judge Sparks has hastened the day when the people of El Paso, the Gulf Coast of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona can enjoy the economic and environmental benefits this pipeline will bring."

As a result of the EA process, the federal agencies may issue either a determination that there is a Finding of No Significant Impact by the pipeline or a notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.

Longhorn has agreed not to ship product through the pipeline until 30 days after the EA decision.

Radian will attempt to complete work on the proposed draft EA within 120 days. EPA and DOT will then publish notice that the draft EA is available and allow 30 days for written comments and public meetings.

Public meetings will be held in Austin, El Paso, Houston and two additional locations within the service area of the Lower Colorado River Authority.

Within 30 days after the public comment period, Radian will prepare the final EA for EPA and DOT approval.

Longhorn Pipeline is developing a refined products pipeline to deliver gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from Texas Gulf Coast refineries to West Texas and the El Paso gateway market.

When it begins operation, Longhorn Pipeline is expected to deliver approximately 72,000 barrels a day. As markets expand, the pipeline's ultimate capacity is about 225,000 barrels per day.

Police Report

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 agencies. 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.


Reeves County Sheriff's deputies and the local S.W.A.T. team responded to a report of a man with a gun in Balmorhea at 1:21 a.m. today. After negotiating for several hours, they resolved the situation without gunfire.


Felix Guajardo, 19, of 407 S. Eddy St., received two six-inch cuts to his right arm and side early Sunday and was treated at Reeves County Hospital. He refused to tell police who wielded the knife nor the circumstances surrounding the injuries.


Rosie Rodriguez, 46, was arrested at 3:01 p.m., on March 4, at the corner of Third and Locust streets, for a parole violation. She was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Jose Ynes Patino, 25, was arrested at 10:29 p.m., on March 5, at Sixth and Elm Street, for a second offense of DWI, a Class A misdemeanor. He was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Antonio M. Gardea, 22, was arrested at 1:52 a.m., on March 6, on Highway 17 (South of Winkles Trucking), on a warrant out of Wichita County (attorney off bond/possession of marijuana under 2 ounces. He was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Benny A. Juarez, 39, was arrested at 10:14 p.m., on March 6, on Capias Pro Fine warrants for a violation of a promise to appear and speeding. He was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Gabriel Leos, 31, was arrested at 11:36 p.m., on March 6, at the Offecina Club, for evading detention. He was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Sonia Y. Rodriguez, 25, was arrested at 1:02 a.m., on March 7, at Riverside Ballroom, on a warrant for theft of service over $20 under $500 and Andrews County warrants for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and failure to maintain vehicle insurance. She was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Felix Madrid, 24, was arrested at 5:29 p.m., on Feb. 25, in the 300 block of East 13th Street, on Capias Pro Fine warrants. He was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Dominic Garcia, 25, was arrested at 6:19 p.m., on Feb. 25, in the 300 block of Pine Street, on Capias Pro Fine warrants. He was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Jessie Adame, 20, was arrested at 6:32 p.m., on Feb. 25, in the 100 block of Pecan Street, on Capias Pro Fine warrants. He was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Hector Castillo, 56, was arrested at 7 p.m., on Feb. 25, in the 600 block of Mulberry Street, for public intoxication. He was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Don Wesley Barton, 44, was arrested at 10:03 p.m., on Feb. 25, in the 400 block of Mulberry Street, on a warrant for a motion to revoke (forgery). He was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Edel Acosta, 17, was arrested at 8:12 p.m., on Feb. 26, in the 1600 block of South Park Street, for unlawfully carrying a weapon. He was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Jaime D. Maldonado, 33, and Gilbert Florez, 29, were arrested at 1:13 a.m., on Feb. 27, at the Offecina Club, for public intoxication. They were taken to Reeves County Jail.


Raul D. Herrera, 48, was arrested at 2:16 a.m., on Feb. 27, at the corner of Lincoln and Johnson streets, for simple assault under the Family Violence Act. He was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Jacob Natividad, 19, was arrested at 2:27 p.m., on Feb. 27, in the 700 block of Pecan street, on Capias Pro Fine warrants. He was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Eddieberto Patino, 39, was arrested at 6:40 p.m., on Feb. 27, in the 2200 block of Wyoming Street, on a DWI refusal.


Rey Lozano, 25, was arrested at 11:48 p.m., on Feb. 27, in the 500 block of South Pecan Street, for assault under the Family Violence Act under Class B. He was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Arnulfo Miranda, 33, and Rafael Medina Jr., 19, were arrested at 12:49 a.m., on Feb. 28, at Allsups on Cedar Street, on Capias Pro Fine warrants. They were taken to Reeves County Jail.


Joe Salas, 21, and a female juvenile were arrested at 1:31 a.m., on Feb. 28, at Allsups on Cedar Street, after a fight—Salas for public intoxication; the juvenile for a juvenile probation violation. Salas was taken to Reeves County Jail, the juvenile to the Juvenile Detention Center.


Marco Bejaran, 18, Jaime C. Soto, 19, and Cruz Jimenez, 25, were arrested at 2:26 a.m., on Feb. 28, in the 1100 block of South Ash Street, after a fight, for public intoxication. They were taken to Reeves County Jail.


Dagoberto Rodriguez, 41, was arrested at 12:18 p.m., on Feb. 28, in the 700 block of South Ash Street, on a warrant for forgery with intent to harm another. He was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Roberto Mendoza, 57, and Elaine Ornelas, 29, were arrested at 3:47 p.m., on Feb. 28, at the corner of Fourth and Mesquite streets—Mendoza for public intoxication; Ornelas for no driver's license. They were taken to Reeves County Jail.


Joanna Tucker, 31, was arrested at 8:18 p.m., on Feb. 28, in the 900 block of West Eighth Street, for driving while license suspended. He was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Omar R. Garcia, 34, was arrested at 8:42 p.m., on Feb. 28, at the corner of Walthall and Cedar streets, on a DWI refusal felony. He was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Israel Gochicoa Natividad, 30, was arrested at 8:45 p.m., on March 1, at Uncle's on Eddy Street, on a warrant for delivery of a controlled substance (cocaine). He was taken to Reeves County Jail.


Louie Granado Franco was arrested at 3 p.m., on March 2, at the Pecos Municipal Court, on Capias Pro Fine warrants. He paid the fines and was released.


Wayne Passer, 51, was arrested at 7:34 p.m., on March 2, at the I-20 Fina, for public intoxication. He was taken to Reeves County Jail.


AUSTIN (AP) — One ticket correctly matched all six numbers drawn Saturday night for the twice-weekly Lotto Texas game, state lottery officials said.

The ticket was worth an estimated $4 million and was sold in Houston. The numbers drawn from a field of 50 were 3, 5, 16, 22, 42 and 46.


AUSTIN (AP) — Results of the Texas Million drawing Friday night:

Winning numbers drawn: 29-36-60-92. Number matching four of four in Group One: 0. Number matching four of four in Group Two: 0. Number matching four of four in Group Three: 1. Prize: $10,000. Number matching three of four in any group: 533. Prize: $300.


AUSTIN (AP) — Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night:

Winning numbers drawn: 2-3-18-28-37. Number matching five of five: 1. Prize per winner: $101,222. Matching four of five: 269. Prize: $564.


AUSTIN (AP) — The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 1-1-8 (one, one, eight)


AUSTIN (AP) — The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 4-6-7 (four, six, seven).


Etta Friday

Etta Mae Pope Friday, 86, died Saturday, March 6, 1999, after a lengthy illness. Services were at 10 a.m. today in Ellis Funeral Home chapel in Midland. Burial was in Fairview Cemetery.

She was born Feb. 24, 1913 in Roscoe and with her husband operated Friday's Boot Shop since 1935. She was a member of the Ranchland Heights Baptist Church, the Rebekah Lodge, Elks Lodge and Eastern Star.

Survivors include one son, Thomas Friday of Midland; two daughters, Sylvia Bell of Midland and Argretta Wilde of Wichita Falls; eight grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.

The family requests memorials be directed to Hospice of Midland, P.O. Box 2621, Midland 79702.


High Sunday 63; low last night 46. Wind advisory today. Tonight, clear. Low in the upper 30s. West wind 10-20 mph, becoming northeast 5 10 after midnight. Tuesday, sunny. High in the mid 70s. Northeast wind 5-10 mph, becoming southeast in the mid afternoon.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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