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Top Stories

Thursday, May 27, 1999

Council tentatively OKs water rate hike

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, May 27, 1999 - Pecos City Council this morning approved on first reading ordinances raising water rates and regulating fire department elections. They approved a franchise with Classic Cable, but tabled an ordinance on truck routes for further study.

Classic's area manager Ben Hernandez said that they have no intention of closing the Pecos office, and that wording was included in the new franchise agreement.

Classic also agreed to the 1 percent increase in franchise fees requested by the council. However, they refused to consider a five-year franchise, stating that 10 years is the minimum they could agree to because of financing considerations.

Hernandez said that Classic plans to upgrade equipment in Pecos, and five years is not enough to play back the full cost.

Several volunteer firemen were present to either support or oppose an ordinance proposed by the fire department that called for election of officers for one-year terms and required the chief to have basic certification through the State Fireman's and Fire Marshal's Association plus seven years experience in the local department.

After much discussion, the council approved annual elections for all officers except the chief, which would be for two years. They changed the qualification to read seven years experience with the local department or equivalent.

Councilman Danny Rodriguez said that an experienced fireman moving into the community should be considered for chief if he has the support of fellow volunteers.

Finance director Steve McCormick estimated the increased water rates would generate $471,493 in increased annual revenue, which would be enough to make payments on an $8.4 million loan to develop a new water field.

McCormick asked the council to consider at the next meeting also raising sewer rates to increase annual revenues by $66,928.

The water rate increase will affect Reeves County, its detention center and Anchor West Inc. more than private citizens, McCormick said.

Based on $5.50 per 1,000 gallons of water used, RCDC would pay $38,291 per month for the 2,000 prisoners they will have when the bed space is doubled, he said.

Reeves County's $5 per connection would increase their rates $4,149 per month.

Anchor West's increase would be $1,350 per month, while 475 other commercial accounts would generate an additional $3,333 per month, McCormick estimated.

Commercial rates would increase $1 per month for the first 2,000 gallons and 20 cents per each 1,000 gallons used.

Residential rates would increase $1 for 2,000 gallons. The $1.70 rate for each additional 1,000 gallons would remain the same for the 3,300 connections.

Rates for Barstow are based on the cost to produce and distribute water. McCormick said that with the increased costs associated with water field development, Barstow rates will increase considerably.

Other out-of-town rates are double those for residents and businesses inside the city.

Lindley thinks nuke dump bill killed

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, May 27, 1999 - House Speaker Pete Laney on Wednesday skipped over a Senate-passed bill that would have allowed radioactive waste disposal without public input on the site, Clark Lindley told the Pecos City Council this morning.

With the legislative session near an end, Lindley predicts the bill is dead for this session.

"The Senate bill takes away the right of the public to have a public hearing in regard to safety issues and referendum," he said. "Generally it is a bill that had been designed by Waste Control Specialists of Andrews in their struggle with Envirocare."

Envirocare of Texas is seeking to develop an above-ground storage site in Ward County.

"The site in Ward County definitely has water in it," Lindley said. "One of the primary purposes is not to site radioactive waste over an aquifer.

"Our water is in this same aquifer. We are being watchful. We are certainly concerned about the possibility that they may come back and decide it won't be the end. They may broaden the bill again to alternative sites, and likely Ward will be reconsidered."

Lindley made the report in the public comments portion of the meeting.

Pauline Moore also addressed the council on the acquisition of Texas-New Mexico Power Co. by an investor group, stating that the acquisition will not change agreements with the city, but actions by the Legislature on community choice may.

Farris Murphy and Jo Cooksey presented a letter from Reeves County Commissioner David Castillo requesting the council appoint a member to a golf course committee.

Mayor Dot Stafford appointed councilman Larry Levario, who will serve with county representative Ken Winkles Jr., Cooksey for the women's golf association, and Paul Hinojos for the men's golf association.

The council also approved Police Chief Clay McKinney's grant application for federal funding for one full-time and one part-time police officer to work with the gang problem; a lease rental agreement with the Ramon Dominguez family to operate the miniature golf course; advertise for bids for one pickup for the water and sewer department, transfer $30,000 into the employee health fund (insurance); and in executive session reviewed the utilities director, health department director and duties of city police and dispatchers.

They deferred action on purchase of a backhoe and a vehicle for the city manager.

Trans-Pecos opts out of weakened water bill

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, May 27, 1999 - Trans-Pecos Underground Water Conservation District opted out of an omnibus bill that would severely limit authority of individual districts, said an aide to State Rep. Gary Walker Wednesday.

Walker had authored a House bill that would allow Reeves and Loving counties to create an underground water district. Many other counties sought single-county district. However, the Senate combined all the individual bills into one bill that creates temporary districts with few powers until the Legislature meets again.

Walker notified Trans-Pecos chairman A.B. Foster of the upcoming Friday vote in the house last Thursday, Lindley said.

"We spent three hours looking at the omnibus bill, but we weren't able on that short notice to bring in all the directors," said Clark Lindley, secretary. "We didn't even have time to post notice of meeting.

"The reason the omnibus bill was created is that Presidio County was asking to create a district," said Lindley. "El Paso evidently went to Sen. J.E. "Buster" Brown and tried to get that stopped. Brown said he didn't want 254 underground water conservation districts."

Lindley said that Brown, R-Lake Jackson, represents metropolitan areas who want to take water from rural areas, and they don't want the rural areas to have authority to control their aquifers.

"The bill prevents local districts from creating any kind of rule that would make it illegal to move water out of local districts," he said. "That's what I see this bill is all about."

Lindley said the omnibus bill does not create permanent districts.

"This leaves all those proposed districts in jeopardy for two years," he said.

Brown is chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee.

"The committee will evidently re-visit this bill in two years," Lindley said.

Hearings Friday on court reporter, auditor's salaries


PECOS, May 27, 1999 - Two public hearings on wage compensation for non-elected officials have been scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Reeves County Courthouse.

The two hearings will be on the amount of annual compensation for the Reeves County Auditor and Assistant County Auditor, and on the amount on annual compensation for the 143rd Judicial District Court Reporter. Both hearings are scheduled for the same time in the 143rd District Courtroom, on the second floor of the courthouse.
 

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Wednesday night: Winning numbers drawn: 1-3-23-29-33-44. Estimated jackpot: $7 million. Number matching six of six: 0. Matching five of six: 65. Prize: $1,801. Matching four of six: 4,483. Prize: $94.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 7-0-4 (seven, zero, four)
 

Weather


PECOS, May 27, 1999 - High Wednesday 90. Low this morning 63. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms. a few possibly severe. Low in the upper 50s. East to southeast wind 10-20 mph. Friday, partly cloudy with a slight chance of afternoon thunderstorms. High 80 85. East to southeast wind 10-20 mph. chance of rain 20 percent. Forecast for the rest of the Memorial Day weekend, partly cloudy with a slight chance of late afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Highs in the 90s. Lows in the 60s.

Obituaries

Celestina Ortiz

Celestina Ortiz, 44, of Pecos, died Monday, May 24, 1999, at Medical Center Hospital.

A rosary is scheduled for 8 p.m., today at Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.

Mass will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, May 28, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.

She was born June 23, 1954, in Pecos, was a housewife and a Catholic.

Survivors include her husband, Manuel Ortiz of Pecos; two brothers, Gerardo Bustamante of Imperial and Guadalupe Bustamante of Peocs; and three sisters, Conseulo B. Ortiz of Hobbs, N.M., Nieves B. Ortega of Pecos and Norma Bustamante of Frederick, Okla.

Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Eva Nevarez

Eva Garza Nevarez, 82, of Pecos, died Monday, May 24, 1999, at Odessa Medical Center.

Graveside services will be held at 4 p.m., today at Greenwood Cemetery with Father Mike Alcuino officiating.

She was born Jan. 3, 1917, in Pot Wilson County, Tx., was a lifelong Pecos resident, retired, and a Catholic.

Survivors include her husband, Guadalupe Nevarez of Pecos; one son, Guadalupe Mongia of San Antonio and one daughter, Gloria Dominguez of San Antonio.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
 



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