Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, December 21, 1999
Council briefed on Y2K emergency plans
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Dec. 21, 1999 - Town of Pecos City Council members received
one final update on the city's Y2K preparedness this morning, during their
final regularly scheduled meeting of 1999, while taking no action on pending
litigation with Reeves County over water payments to the Reeves County
The council also named a selection team to study engineering proposals
for the South Worsham Field water line project, approved interlocal agreements
for fire and ambulance services for the year 2000, and passed a drought
contingency ordinance on second reading.
Officials from various city departments, along with Mya Surratt and
Paulene Moore from Texas-New Mexico Power Co., were at the meeting to give
the council updates on their plans for next weekend, when older computers
could stop functioning due to the change from 1999 to 2000.
Water Superintendent Octavio Garcia said the city is working with electrician
C.L. Elkins to get a couple of generators set up to provide emergency power
for the city's water pumps, if power were to go out on Jan. 1. "C.L. is
working on hitching up one of the wells, and the second (generator) would
be working to boost water into the storage tanks," Garcia said.
Garcia said some final parts needed to switch the pumps from electrical
lines to generator power would arrive this week, and the water department
plans to have a practice run of the equipment early next week. He added
that three workers would be on duty starting at 10 p.m. Dec. 31, and others
would be on call if an emergency arises.
Surratt said T-NP "will have our core staff at the office," while other
workers would be at electric substations on New Year's Eve. Pecos Police
investigator Kelly Davis, who attended the meeting in place of chief Clay
McKinney, said all officers would be available that night.
"Everyone has to work, including myself and Clay," Davis said. Police
plan to divide their patrols into north and south sections, with a "roving
crew" also on duty to go where needed that night.
"All SWAT members will carry their gear in their car, and we'll have
additional troops and investigators on duty the next day," Davis said.
The Pecos Volunteer Fire Department will also rearrange their trucks
on Dec. 31, allowing the older non-computerized vehicles to be placed in
front so they would be available, if there are any Y2K glitches on the
new vehicles, which do have computers built into their systems.
Lupe Nieto, who attended the meeting in place of emergency management
director Armando Gil, said under the local Emergency Management Plan the
mayor and county judge would be in charge of any situation. An emergency
management office will be set up at City Hall on Dec. 31, and department
heads along with Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford are expected to
be in the building when the New Year arrives.
Stafford was absent from this morning's meeting. Mayor Pro-Tem Danny
Rodriguez asked Nieto to send out letters reminding those involved about
the Dec. 31 plans.
On a related topic, city finance director Steve McCormick said the switchover
to a new computer system is still not completed. Payrolls have been moved
over, but the change over on city water bills is still incomplete.
"We're doing accounts on the new computer, but we probably won't have
as much detailed info for a while," McCormick said.
Councilman Ricky Herrera also asked Davis about two new computers purchased
by the police department. "We were working off a computer system that couldn't
handle Windows NT, and I knew we were going to have to upgrade," Davis
On the three other water-related issues, the council took no action
on litigation with the county following a 45-minute executive session.
Reeves County is disputing the water bill for the detention center, arguing
that the RCDC should be charged an in-town water rate. The center is outside
the city limits, and the city is seeking back payment of fees based on
the higher rate non-city customers pay.
The 18-page drought contingency ordinance was mandated for communities
by Section 1272 of the Texas Water Code, city attorney Scott Johnson told
council members. It sets up guidelines for water use and storage under
severe drought conditions.
Johnson, Stafford and council members Herrera and Gerald Tellez were
named to the committee that will study engineering proposals for the South
Worsham Field project. McCormick said by applying before a Wednesday deadline
the city would be able to pay for the process out of government grant funds
it is seeking.
However, Johnson added, "We're not requesting it (the loan) to be on
there until we resolve the situation with the county."
The panel is expected to report their recommendations to the council
Council members did approve an interlocal agreement with Reeves County
for fire protection services for 2000. The county would be charged $90,530,
which McComick said was about the same as a year ago. Of that total, $10,000
would go towards the purchase of a fire truck.
The council also approved an agreement with Reeves County Hospital for
ambulance services in 2000. The contract for $65,480 is a little lower
than last year's contract, McCormick said.
Council members were told the Pecos Ambulance Service has a $426.118
balance. Collections were over $17,500 last month, though there was still
over $20,000 in write-offs.
"This is the second month in a row they've collected over $10,000,"
said council member Johnny Terrazas. "He (ambulance chief Bill Cole) feels
like they've finally gotten over the hump."
Other items approved by the council included accounts payable, municipal
court and city financial reports, along with the minutes from the council's
Dec. 9 meeting.
More hopefuls joining primary races
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Dec. 21, 1999 - The number of people who have gone through the
steps to have their names placed on the ballot for the March primary elections
has continued to increase, though not all have completed the filing process
as of this morning.
Individuals wanting to have their names placed on the Democratic Party
ballot need to file their treasurer's designation with the county clerk's
office and file a petition with Party Chairman Bobby Dean.
Dean reviews the petition and the name will then officially be placed
on the ballot.
Those who have filed with Dean already include Reeves County Sheriff
Andy Gomez, who is seeking a third four-year term in office; County Attorney
Walter Holcombe and Louis Carrasco, who will be challenging Holcombe; and
incumbent Reeves County Precinct 1 Commissioner Felipe Arredondo and Jesse
Baeza, who has filed to run against Arredondo.
For Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 3, several people have filed
with Dean, including incumbent Herman Tarin. Challenging Tarin will be
David Patillo, Jimmy Gallego and James H. Thomas. "Thomas' petition hasn't
been verified yet. I'm sure it will be OK, but it still has to be checked
out," said Dean.
Two constables have filed their petitions, including Thomas Martinez
for Constable Precinct 3 and Arnulfo Granado, for precinct 1. Both are
All four constables will be up for re-election.
Other individuals have filed their treasurer's designation indicating
they want to run for office, but have not yet filed their petitions, which
is the official step in having their name placed on the ballot.
Individuals who filed a treasurer's designation, but have not yet turned
in their petitions to Dean, are Tony Aguilar for Reeves County Sheriff
and Roy Pena for Commissioner of Precinct 1.
The primary election will be on March 14. Runoff elections will be held
in April if no candidate in a race receives 50 percent of the vote in the
March primary, and the winners will be on the Democratic line in the November
2000 general election.
Candidates can also file to run in the Republican Party primary election,
which also will take place on March 14. However, most local elections in
Reeves County have been decided in the Democratic primary over the years.
. If you are interested in running for local office as a Democrat or
in becoming a precinct chair contact Dean, at 915-445-3071 or 915-528-7447,
for the forms necessary to have your name placed on the ballot.
Candidates seeking spots on the Republican Party ballot should contact
Republican Party Chairman is Lou Lewis, who can be contacted at Desert
Distributors, 2323 Oliver St., or call 447-9078.
Filing deadline for both the Republican and Democratic primary elections
is Jan 3.
Santa pays Saturday visit to Balmorhea
By JENNIFER WARD
BALMORHEA - Dec. 21, 1999 - Cookies and hot chocolate were served when
Santa Claus made a stop at Balmorhea's Gazebo Saturday.
Around 75 children showed up with their parents to get their picture
taken with Saint Nicholas and to tell him what they wanted. Santa stayed
at the Gazebo for more than an hour and a half listening to the wishes
of the children and asking if they had been good.
The City of Balmorhea brings Santa to town every year, with donations
made from people and businesses around the area. This is to benefit the
community, mainly the children of Balmorhea.
City officials thanked all the businesses and individuals for their
donations in helping to make Santa's visit a great success.
No fireworks ban is planned despite drought
PECOS, Dec. 21, 1999 - Although the Pecos area has gotten virtually no
rain since late summer, no ban on fireworks is planned for this upcoming
New Year's weekend.
Fire marshal Jack Brookshire told Pecos City Council members this morning
there was no ban in effect on the use of fireworks outside the Pecos city
limits. The use of fireworks inside the city is always against the law.
Fireworks sales in the State of Texas are allowed between now and Dec.
31. Brookshire said he expected one or two of the local fireworks stands
to be open during that time.
AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Monday night: Winning numbers
drawn: 06-02-37-14-38. Number matching five of five: Zero. Matching four
of five: 163. Prize: $1,201.
AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Monday by the Texas Lottery,
in order: 0-6-3 (zero, six, three)
Services are incomplete for Manuela Hernandez, 76, of Pecos, who died Monday,
Dec. 20, 1999, at Reeves County Hospital.
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
High Monday 48. Low this morning 22. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy.
Low 20-25. East wind 10-20 mph. Wednesday: Cloudy and cold with a 30 percent
chance of snow. High 35-40. East to northeast wind 10-20 mph. Wednesday
night: Cloudy with a chance of snow. Low 15-25.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, 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 1999 by Pecos Enterprise