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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Council eyes central parking site for local truckers

Town of Pecos City Council members passed the first reading of an ordinance limiting the operation and parking of trucks on city streets, following an hour-long discussion on Thursday night at City Hall. But members also agreed to delay action on a second reading that would finalize the measure until city officials and local truck drivers can meet to discuss alternate parking options. Council members have heard several complaints over the past few months about trucks creating too much noise when they are started up in residential neighborhoods. Other complaints involve trucks leaking liquid onto residential streets and failing to stop at stop signs in some neighborhoods.

At the same time, the city said streets not designed for heavy truck traffic are suffering damage, especially in the past few years with the increase of oil and natural gas drilling activity in the Pecos area.

“Our sewer lines and our water line can be looked as, as to what it costs us over the years,” Pecos Mayor Dick Alligood said. He noted that the water and sewer lines could be damaged under streets not built to the higher specifications for heavy truck traffic.

“We are just trying to look at something that meets the needs of Pecos, and at the same time provide some form of safety to our residents,” the mayor added.

“I talked to some of the surrounding cities to see how they deal with these things,” Alligood said. “They have some pretty stringent guidelines.”

Alligood said the city already has an ordinance (Section 28.201) limiting trucks over 24-feet in length on residential streets, except to pick up or unload items in those areas. The new measure would also affect trucks parking on streets or in lots in residential areas

The plan was met with opposition at the meeting from the wives of three local truck drivers, who presented the council with a petition asking the city to reject the stricter ordinance.

“We park our trucks on our lot, and we park them out of the way,” said Martha Fierro, whose husband Ramon is one of the affected truckers. She said the city is making a lot of money from the oil and gas drilling industry, including from truckers who have set up operations in Pecos.

Fierro also said that the city makes money from water sales to oilfield trucks from its Walthall Street yard, adding that truckers would get their water from Barstow instead of Pecos, if the city implemented the stricter ordinance.

Councilman Gerald Tellez noted that Walthall is one of the designated truck routes in the city, along with Cedar Street (U.S. 285), Third Street (Business I-20), Eddy Street, Stafford Boulevard (both FM 765) and the Balmorhea Highway (State Highway 17).

“I think we’ve been very lenient with trucks,” Tellez said. “The laws have been in effect, we just haven’t enforced them.”

“I’ve talked with the county about parking trucks at the Rodeo Grounds,” said Alligood. “It would be like the way the Duval buses parked there.”

Buses going to the old Duval sulphur mine, closed by new owner Freeport McMoRan a decade ago, used to pick up workers at the West of the Pecos Rodeo Grounds, who left their regular vehicle on-site during their working hours. Alligood said the trucks could be left over night on the Rodeo Grounds, and drivers could either use their own vehicles to get to their homes or be driven there by someone else.

Fierro said they’ve already had problems with break-ins while parking near their home, and feared that parking them out at the Rodeo Grounds would increase the chance of break-ins, while Maria Millan said she and her husband Julian operate a trucking company from their home, and drivers have to go they to get paid.

“That’s going to be four drivers and that’s going to affect them, she said. “I’m not going to be wasting my gas looking for them.”

On the noise Millan said that city sanitation trucks also are noisy during the early morning hours. “it’s not just us. We’re not the only ones making noise. They make more noise than we do.”

Crystal Millan said while the truck she and her husband Justin operated was parked just off Texas Street, “those potholes predate the time we were living on Texas Street,” and objected to a story recent on KWES-Ch. 9 that seemed to imply that their vehicle had caused the damage.

“The council didn’t do this. We’re responding to complaints from the public,” Alligood said. “Ordinances don’t change unless people have a problem with it.”

“I’m not against the ordinance, but we just can’t chop progress off at the knees,” said councilman Frank Sanchez.

“Either we have a law on the books and we enforce it, or we don’t have a law,” Alligood said. “I’m not trying to cut the throats of the truck drivers, but we need to meet the request of the public and the safety of the public.”

He went on to say trucks from two companies, J&J and Elite, have been the subjects of the most complaints by local residents. J&J has a lot next to M&W Hot Oil on Balmorhea Highway, but council members were told recent rains have made the ground too soft to park vehicles there.

Tellez suggested another site, north of Interstate 20 on the east side of the Pecos Criminal Justice Center. The location is zoned industrial, and would be next to the police department offices.

“What we’re proposing is to work with the drivers,” Alligood said. “We want them to maybe meet us and look for a way if we can find a location to park.”

“Pecos is a changing community because of the oil and gas industry,” said councilman Cody West. “We have to make the best decisions we can for the citizens of the community. That’s why we were elected.

“This is not going to be the last issue that comes up for the oil and gas business in Pecos,” he said. “I don’t think that trucks are to blame for the current condition the streets are in. It’s no secret the city has neglected streets, not because of choice, but because of budget concerns, and at the same time those trucks aren’t helping our streets driving up and down them.”

In the end, council members approved the first reading, along with a request by Sanchez to delay a second reading until September. Alligood asked the wives of the truck drivers and anyone else concerned with the issue to come back to the council meeting when the second reading takes place, while the city talks with the drivers about finding an acceptable parking location.

“If the ordinance is adopted, we’d like to see a (two-week) grace period on these vehicles,” Alligood said, before any fines for violation of the law is enforced.

City weighs auction proposal for delinquent property sales

Land that costs more to clear off than its worth on the open market was the subject of discussion by Town of Pecos City Council members on Thursday, as the went over options, but took no action, on a proposal to institute auctions on property seized for non-payment of taxes.

Mark Flowers, an attorney with tax accounting firm Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson LLP, talked with the council about how to sell properties seized for delinquent taxes, following a request to address the issue by Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Superintendent Manny Espino.

“We were approached earlier this summer by Mr. Espino on properties that have been long written off,” Flowers said. “He wanted to know if there was a way to promote the sale of those properties.”

He said that there currently are about 80 properties owned jointly by the city, P-B-T ISD, Reeves County and the Reeves County Hospital District, due to non-payment of taxes. Those properties also failed to draw bids after foreclosure at a sheriff’s auction at the Reeves County Courthouse, but Flowers said a later auction is also an option, where a minimum starting big could be set by the four taxing entities.

However, council members had questions, both about problems with speculators buying the properties with no plans to improve the sites through new construction, and liens on the properties, including the cost paid by the city to tear down abandoned buildings.

Mayor Dick Alligood said the council voted on Feb. 10 to seek reimbursement for the cost of tearing down the buildings. However, the minimum demolition cost was put at $4,000, well above the average lot price within the city of $1,500.

“We’re possibly looking at a performance contract,” Alligood said. Under that, the city would sell the property below the cost of demolition, but demand that something is done with the property within a certain period of time, or the land would revert to the local taxing entities.

The subject was tabled, pending talks by the city with the county, school and hospital districts, but came up again later in the meeting, during a discussion of an offer by Dennis Thorp to buy a lot at 501 S. Plum St.

Thorp originally made his $500 to the city earlier this year for the site, which is located next to his home, and where a home destroyed by fire was demolished and removed by the city. The bid was withdrawn earlier, when Thorp declined to pay the cost of demolition on the property. The new bid before the council was for the same $500 price, Alligood said.

“The council decided on this before anyone ever bid on it,” he said of the Feb. 10 decision. Thorp said he had entered the bid before the new rule went into effect, but city manager Joseph Torres said there was no record in the minutes of any earlier bid, though he had talked to the other taxing entities.

“I kind of like the idea of coming up with an incentive plan, because there’s no way we’re going to come with $4,000 (bid) on any lot,” said councilman Cody West.

“I don’t have any problem with the bid, but I’d like to see some kind of performance contract with Mr. Thorp,” said councilman Frank Sanchez.

In his bid, Thorp said he planned to build a house for his daughter next to his current home. City public works director Edgardo Madrid said the home originally on the lot was valued at $28,000 before it was destroyed in the fire.

Council members then decided to table the bid, until a decision could be made overall on a new plan for the property sales.

Former Pecosites follow family tradition in music

Two cousins with a family history in the Pecos area and one on the Top 10 country charts are teaming up to follow a family’s tradition in the form of music, in the lineage of the fourth generation. Jeremy Bryant and Tyler Yaklin are hoping to become the next dynamic country music duo, Brylin. The group’s name “Brylin” comes from the combination of both last names, Bryant and Yaklin. They recently performed at the United Spirit Arena for the Texas State FFA Convention in Lubbock, to a sold-out crowd of over 15,000 and signed autographs for hours following the concert.

Bryant and Yaklin have recently signed with a Nashville, Tenn., based artist management company as well as signing music publishing contracts. When they are not in the recording studio working on their music they are writing with some of Nashville’s finest and successful songwriters, and currently have several of their own songs on hold with a few recording artists.

Formerly from Pecos, Jeremy Bryant, of Nashville, Tenn., is the son of Jeff Bryant, of Nashville and Belinda Orona-Bryant of Austin. Leandro Orona and Angelita Martinez-Carrasco, of Pecos, are Jeremy’s grandparents and his great-grandparents are the late Santiago and Marcela Orona and Manuel and Francisco Martinez.

Tyler Yaklin’s parents are Bert and Rhonda Bryant-Yaklin, of Orange Grove, Tx.

Both Jeremy and Tyler are the grandsons of Della Bryant, of Orange Grove, and the late Jimmy Bryant, as well as the great-grandsons of the late Ruby Faye Newton, who was a long time Pecos resident and also the great grandsons of the late Park H. Bryant, of Toyah.

The Jeff and Jimmy Bryant were part of the Lariat Band, which played many venues across Texas in the 1980s and early 1990s. In the mid-90s, Jeff and Junior Bryant were members of the band Ricochet, which had a No. 1 single on Billboard’s country charts, “Daddy’s Money” as well as several other songs that charted on the Billboard Top 40 list.

Drop in local property tax rate expected

Town of Pecos City property owners can expect a drop in their tax rates for the upcoming fiscal year. But the new tax rate probably won’t be low enough to avoid hearings next month, council members were told during their regular meeting on Thursday at City Hall.

Lydia Preito, tax assessor/collector for the city under a contract with the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, presented the council with the effective and rollback tax rate numbers for 2008 during Thursday’s meeting. They showed that increases to property values over the past year within Pecos put the effective tax rate at .65978 cents per $100 in valuation. That’s about 7 1/2 cents lower than the city’s current rate of .73460 cents.

The effective tax rate is the rate needed to collect the same amount of taxes as the previous year. Preito said the rollback rate, the maximum rate allowed without the city having to call a tax rollback election, would be .73513 cents per $100 in valuations for the 2008-09 fiscal year.

“If the city proposes a rate that does not exceed .65978 cents … you can just have another meeting and adopt the rate,” Prieto told the council. However, any rate above that and two public hearings will have to be held in early September before the new tax rate could be approved.

“We are going to ask for a little bit higher than the effective tax rate,” said city manager Joseph Torres, while adding that the city does not plan to ask the council to set the 2008 number at the rollback tax rate.

The city dropped its tax rate by eight cents a year ago, but a quirk in the numbers due to reappraised property valuations put the effective tax rate at a level 10 cents higher than the rollback tax rate. Council members went with the rollback rate of .73460, which raised the same amount of money as during the 2006-07 fiscal year.

Along with the tax rate, council members also approved the planning calendar for the upcoming budget and tax hearing schedule, along with a schedule of budget workshops for Aug. 24-28.

“This schedule is the same schedule, except I added a fourth day,” Torres said. The fourth day might not be needed, and could be scheduled either before or as a part of the council’s regular meeting on Aug. 28.

Workshop held at Mitchell Ranch in Terrell County

Five members of The Modern Study Club of Pecos joined 17 other members of Western District, on July 19, at the Summer Workshop hosted by former Texas Federation of Women’s Club President Bobbe Mitchell on the Mitchell Family Ranch in Terrell County, near Sanderson where they enjoyed the hospitality extended by Mrs. Mitchell.

The Modern Study Club of Pecos served a delightful continental breakfast prior to opening ceremonies. Harriett Berlin, TFWC WD Historical Foundation Representative of the Marion G. White Study Club of Odessa, presented the “Thought of the Day” taken from one of Max Lucado’s books, and “My Name is Old Glory” was read by former Western District President Sherry Phillips of McCamey which she led the pledges to the United States of America and Texas Flags.

Catherine Travland, Western District President, presided over the meeting and presented “Benefits of Belonging to GFWC.” Highlights from GFWC Department Chairman, GFWC Special Projects Chairman, TFWC Special Projects and Contests Chairman and TFWC Standing Committee Chairman were covered during the morning session.

After a delicious lunch provided by Mrs. Mitchell, which included three wonderful cakes, for dessert, the meeting was continued with a “Reporting Workshop” conducted by WD President-Elect Mitchell Fryar of Twentieth Century Club of Midland.

The WD Club Presidents each gave a preview of their 2008-2009 club year.

Attending from Pecos were Lena Harpham, Betty Lee, Paula Fuller, Etta Bradley and President Travland.

Western District of the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs encompasses Crane, Crockett, Culberson, Ector, El Paso, Glasscock, Howard, Hudspeth, Irion, Jeff Davis, Loving, Martin, Midland, Pecos, Presidio, Reagan, Reeves, Sterling, Terrell, Tom Green, Upton, Ward and Winkler. The Modern Study Club of Pecos was organized in 1930 and Federated in 1931, and meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m., September through Mary. “Women Volunteers with Vision” are welcome and invited to call 445-3516 for more information.

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.


Feliciano Carrillo, 37, 2017 Scott St., was arrested by police on Aug. 10 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made at 6:22 p.m. at Carrillo’s home, and he was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Oscar Hernandez Jr., 23, 1306 S. Plum St., was arrested by police on Aug. 10 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest occurred at 1:30 a.m. at 1700 S. Park St., and Hernandez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Albert Jimenez Pastrana, 20, 1014 E. Eighth St., was arrested by police on Aug. 8 on a warrant for failure to pay a $332 fine on a previous charge of theft. Police said Pastrana was arrested outside his home and was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Eli Acosta, 21, 1007 E. 11th St., Apt. B, was arrested by police on Aug. 9 on a charge of public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made at 2:57 a.m. in the 100 block of West Sixth Street, and Acosta was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Ramon Palomino Jr., 23, 2122 Missouri St., was arrested by police on Aug. 9 on a warrant for failure to pay a fine. Police said the arrest was made at 4:23 a.m. at Allsup’s, 2232 S. Eddy St., and Palomino was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Ciro Baltierr Ortiz, 59, 413 N. Pecan St., was arrested by police on Aug. 8 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made at 11:13 p.m. at Allsup’s, 708 S. Cedar St., and Ortiz was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Ernest Chavez Baca, 25, 404 S. Magnolia St., was arrested by police on Aug. 8 on a charge of theft over $50 and under $500, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made at Allsup’s, 708 S. Cedar St., and Baca was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Melton Garza Jr., 37, of Big Spring, was arrested by police on Aug. 7 on a charge of possession of a controlled substance, a state jail felony. Police said the arrest was made after officers went to a vehicle parked outside the Quality Inn, 3002 S. Cedar St., with its door open. Garza was reported found slumped over in the vehicle with a white powder under his nose believed to be cocaine. He was arrested and then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Sonia Monique Miles, 33, 800 E. 12th St., and Virgil Lee Miles, 69, 800 E. 12th St., were arrested by police on Aug. 6 on a charge of assault under the Family Violence Act, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrests were made after they were called to the home on a report of a disturbance. Both persons were then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Sonia Yadira Rodriguez, 34, of Odessa, was arrested by police on Aug. 6 on a warrant for bond forfeiture on a driving while license invalid charge out of Midland County. Police said the arrest was made after a records check at the scene of an accident turned up the outstanding warrant. Rodriguez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Delfino Lujan, Jr., 56, 311 Mulberry St., was arrested by police on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made on Aug. 1 at 6:35 p.m. outside 1202 S. Ash St., and Lujan was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Hakim Capalino Rashad, 26, 300 W. County Rd., Apt. 1302, was arrested by police on Aug. 5 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made at 12:57 a.m. after a report of a disturbance at 300 W. County Rd. Rashad was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Alvin Lopez Puertas, 17, 303 W. 10th St., was arrested by police on Aug. 3 on a charge of assault under the Family Violence Act, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made at 7:58 p.m. after officers were called to Puertas’ home on a report of a disturbance. He was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


A 15-year-old male juvenile was arrested by police on Aug. 2 on a warrant for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Police said the arrest was made at 11:08 p.m. at 602 S. Alberta St., on the warrant issued by Juvenile Court Judge Walter Holcombe, and the teen was then transported to the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center.


Manuela Leos Hernandez,28, 207 S. Walnut St., was arrested by police on Aug. 2 on a warrant for theft by appropriation, a Class A misdemeanor, and a traffic offense. Police said the arrest was made at 8:40 p.m. following the traffic violation, in the 300 block of East Third Street, and Hernandez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Aaron Jay Galindo, 19, 502 W. Walthall St., was arrested by police on Aug. 2 on a charge of driving under the influence. Police said the arrest was made following a traffic stop at Walthall and Cedar streets, and Galindo was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Israel Rayos, 20, 1023 E. Ninth St., was arrested by police on Aug. 6 on warrants charging him with failure to pay fines on previous charges of possession of alcohol by a minor and consumption of alcohol by a minor. Police said the arrest was made at Rayos’ home, and he was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

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