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Thursday, October 3, 1996

Don't change your cash register,

yet; 1/2¢ tax delayed

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Several business owners were apparently confused, as evidenced by phone
calls to the Monahans News and City Hall, about the status of the
pending half-penny increase in the city sales tax.

The increase, part of a one cent hike approved last November during a
city-wide election, was originally supposed to take effect on Oct. 1.

According to City Manager David Mills, the earliest the new tax can take
effect will be Oct. 1, 1997.

The increase in the city's sales tax from 7.25 percent to 8.25 percent
represents about a penny on the dollar. One-half cent was designated to
go to economic development and the other half was to go to reduction in
the city's advalorem taxes.

The economic development tax began being collected last April, while in
July, the Texas State Comptrollers Office put a freeze on the
implementation of the second half-cent increase.

The delay, according to the Comptroller, is required until the city, the
state and Winkler County can gain custom-designed legislation to deal
with an over-lapping territory issue. In the 1950's, Monahans annexed
approximately 5,000 acres of Winkler County land as part of the creation
of the City Municipal Water Field.

City officials, Winkler County officials, then-State Sen. John Montford
and State Rep. Bob Turner worked together and determined that the
situation would require legislative relief, which can't happen until the
Texas legislature convenes in January.

The legislation will probably be much in the same form as a special
exception to the Tax Code which was designed to remedy a similar problem
in a Gulf Coast County which had three jurisdictions overlapping.

The City Council recently approved a budget which reduced the ad-valorem
tax rate from 50 cents per hundred dollar evaluation to 48 cents.

According to City Manager Mills, had the new tax taken effect as planned
on Oct. 1, 1996, the city would have been able to reduce the tax rate to
34 cents per hundred dollar evaluation because of the $190,000 the
half-cent would have generated annually.

Although the details of the delay were made public last July, several
businesses called this newspaper and City Hall this week to inquire
whether cash registers needed to be programmed to start collecting the

"Not this year, but probably next," said Mills.

Landfill's asbestos revenues nothing to sneeze at

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The City of Monahans Municipal Landfill has generated approximately
$185,000 through the month of August in just asbestos disposal.

The revenues generated by asbestos disposal, which is tightly regulated
by the state and federal governments, is partially responsible for
keeping taxpayers' garbage collection fees lower, according to City
Manager David Mills.

Most of the asbestos buried in the landfill comes from regional oil
companies. However, some of the waste has come from as far away as
Farmington, N.M. and from a town on the other side of San Antonio.

Because the handling and disposal of asbestos is so tightly regulated,
Millsa said, it requires an enormous amount of paper work and
monitoring. But because of the hassle, the city is able to charge a
premium price for the disposal in a "special waste" pit.

"Whether you bring us one yard or 10 yards, we're (the city) going to
charge you $250 for the first ten yards. We charge $15 per yard after
that," said Mills.

The city is also currently digging a new pit to handle municipal waste.
The pit is 30 feet wide, 2,200 feet long and 15 feet deep. It should be
able to handle about two years' worth of trash.

Mills said that if the current rate of garbage generated in Monahans
continues, a new landfill will not be needed until the year 2068.

Gleaners prepare for another

hungry holiday season

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The Gleaners, a project begun in 1983 as a desire on the part of a
Monahans couple to help feed the needy, continues today alive and well.

The idea was born when Maxine Moore came across a man eating food from
out of a dumpster behind a grocery store. AFter she sent the man to the
Salvation Army, she started wondering what happened to all that food
that was out of date or too spoiled for store use. A few telephone calls
later, the Gleaners was born. Maxine and her husband, Jack, and a few
more volunteers, began going by the grocery stores and picking up the
culled food. Then they distributed it to needy folks.

Jack continued to head the project for awhile after Maxine's death, but
eventually responsibility was turned over to the Ministerial Association.

The ministers felt the best direction for the Gleaners was to establish
a board consisting of both ministers and lay people.

"In October, 1994, a board was formed made up of three pastors and four
people from the community," said Carolyn Cunningham, chairman.

At the time, the Gleaners were using the facilities at Shiloh Baptist
Church, but about a year ago a house was donated to the organization. It
was part of the estate of Betty Hansen.

"Betty did a lot of good things," said Mrs. Cunningham, "and when the
family couldn't sell the house, they wanted to give it somewhere it
would be used."

It houses refrigerators and freezers for perishable food storage along
with household goods, non-perishable foods and clothing.

According to volunteer Georgia Nunn, about 35 people are currently being
helped by the Gleaners.

Every Monday, she works at the home giving out food.

Help is available on other days by calling Mrs. Cunningham at the County
Judge's office or Rev. Leroy Henson at First Assembly of God Church.

Mrs. Nun continues to fulfill the Moore's vision, going each day to the
grocery stores to pick up food. She sorts it all out and oversees

She is helped regularly by another volunteer, Isabel Rodriguez, and is
also assisted by those the Gleaners serve.

"Lots of the people we help trade work for their food," said board
member Patsy Callaway. "They do yard work, help with moving things and
anything else we need."

The probation department regularly sends volunteers who need to put in
community service hours.

Most of the people that Gleaners help are those who are waiting for help
from government agencies or older people whose Social Security just
doesn't go far enough.

"A lot of people are in poverty," said Rev. Henson, "Gleaners serves as
a back-up to government agencies."

"We only supplement," added Mrs. Nunn, "We don't get in enough food to
provide a family's week needs."

The Gleaners don't have to go looking for people to give food to.

"People usually find us," said the volunteer.

Most are referrals from the County, the Ministerial Association or other
local agencies, though on one occasion a family came in from Coyonosa.

"It was a big family, six or seven kids," recalls Mrs. Nunn. "They
didn't have a car and we don't even know how they got here, but we
helped them."

The organization is supported entirely by donations.

The organization is supported entirely by donations.

"In addition to the food we pick up from the stores, concerned
individuals and organizations give us money and non-perishable items,"
explained Mrs. Cunningham.

Some of the donations go to pay utility bills and expenses of operating
the home. Sometimes they have to be used to buy food.

"Anything that is not donated, we have to buy," added Rev. Henson, who
is the group's treasurer.

"Myrt Ostrowski (hospital dietitian and board member) is always having
little food drives at the hospital," said Mrs. Cunningham. "We tell her
what we need and those are the items she emphasizes.

"Sometimes she will offer breakfast in the hospital cafeteria in return
for certain food items."

The Boy Scouts also help out.

"Half the food from their annual canned food drive goes to us and the
other half to the Methodist Share Pantry," noted Mrs. Cunningham, in
contrast to the Postal Food Drive whose goods go entirely to the Permian
Basin Food Bank.

Sometimes the Gleaners benefit from over productive guards.

"If your garden is producing more than you can use, bring it by," said
Mrs. Callaway. "We know folks who can use it."

Right now the group is busy planning food drives and fundraisers for the
upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets.

"We need lots of canned goods, but we also need other non-perishable
items," said Rev. Henson. "Beans and rice are great because they go much
farther than canned goods and provide plenty of protein."

The next drive the Gleaners have scheduled will be November 9 from 10 am
to 4 pm at Ward Memorial Hospital.

"We appreciate everything people do for us," said Mrs. Cunningham. "And
are we looking forward to an ambulance of donations during this holiday

Donations may taken to KLBO Radio on East Sealy or mailed to 921 N.
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Copyright 1996 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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