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Economic Development


Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Voting begins on state ballot amendments

Early voting started slowly on Monday at the Reeves County Courthouse for the Nov. 6 constitutional amendment election, with only eight people casting ballots as of just prior to noon.

A total of 16 amendments passed by the Texas Legislature during their session earlier this year are on the ballot. Early voting for the election runs through Friday, Nov. 2 at the courthouse, while Barstow area voters can cast ballots early between now and Nov. 2 at the Ward County Courthouse in Monahans.

A number of the amendments on the ballot involve issues only affecting individual entities or local governments. But several would have statewide impact if approved.

Among those that could have an effect locally are Proposition 5, which involves the Texas Main Street Program, and Proposition 16, which would increase funding for the Texas Water Development Board’s programs in economically distressed areas. Both programs are either currently in operation, or have been used recently in the Pecos area.

Under Proposition 5, municipalities with under 10,000 in population would be authorized to enter into an agreement with an owner of real property in or adjacent to an area in the municipality that has been approved for funding under certain programs administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture. The agreement would allow all ad valorem taxes imposed on the owner's property may not be increased for the first five tax years after the tax year in which the agreement is entered into.

It would allow certain small communities participating in the Main Street or Downtown revitalization programs, which are administered through the Department of Agriculture, to conduct a vote of its residents to freeze property taxes in the downtown area for a period of five years or until the property is sold.

Proposition 16 would provide for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $250 million to provide assistance to economically distressed areas. Funds have bee used through the TDWB in the past to improve and extend water lines in unincorporated areas of the county. Other amendments authorizing the issuance of bonds include:

Proposition 2, which would allow for $500 million in general obligation bonds to finance educational loans to students;

Proposition 4, which would allow for up to $1 billion in general revenue bonds to be issued for state maintenance, improvement, repair and construction projects, along with the purchase of needed equipment. Projects on that list include Texas Youth Commission facilities, Texas National Guard facilities, state parks and the Battleship Texas;

Proposition 12, which would allow for the issuance of up to $5 billion in general obligation bonds by the Texas Transportation Commission for highway improvement projects.

Other ballot amendments involve new guidelines for determining homestead valuations and exemptions. Proposition 3 would cap any appraisal increased at 110 percent of the appraised value of the residence homestead for the preceding tax year, in order to avoid sudden sharp increases in valuations when several years have passed between reappraisals. Opponents say it would encourage more frequent reappraisals and resulting property tax increase, while increasing the cost to smaller districts due to more frequent reappraisals.

Proposition 13 would allow judges to deny bail to a person who violated certain court orders or conditions of release in a felony or family violence case. The law would permit bond to be denied to persons in misdemeanor Family Violence Act cases if a previous protective order had been issued.

Hospital taking applications for board’s open Pct. 3 seat

The Reeves County Hospital is accepting applications for the vacant position of Precinct 3 member on the hospital district board, but has no set plans to appoint an official between now and the end of the current term in May.

Nadine Smith, secretary to the hospital’s CEO Al LaRochelle, said the district is seeking applications for the position left vacant by last month’s resignation of board member Terry Honacker. He stepped down after serving for the past two years as Precinct 3 representative on the board.

That seat is scheduled to come up for election in May, and Smith said, “We may not fill the position before then.”

Applications for the open seat are limited to persons living in Precinct 3, which covers the south-central side of Pecos and stretches down to the Balmorhea and Saragosa areas. Application forms are available from Smith’s office at the hospital.

Hospital board members are scheduled to hold their regular monthly meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in the hospital’s classroom. Among the items scheduled for discussion is the possible move of the hospital’s ambulance transfer serving to control by the Town of Pecos City.

TWC says jobs, jobless rate, both show drop

The unemployment numbers were down again in Reeves County last month, but the total number of jobs within the country also continued their decline despite the area’s ongoing economic boom, according to figures released Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission.

The TWC’s September unemployment figures showed Reeves County’s jobless rate fell one-tenth of a percent from August, dropping from 5.7 to 5.6 percent. But the figures also showed a loss of 16 jobs from August, while the total number of people in the county’s workforce dropped by 21.

Compared with September from a year ago, the county’s jobless rate dropped two tenths of a percent, but the number of jobs in the county slipped from 3,783 to 3,678 in the past year, a drop of 105, while the number of workers is down 120, dropping from 4,018 to 3,898 in the past year.

The TWC job numbers for the county come while sales tax receipts in Reeves County for the year are up by more than 50 percent from a year ago. The boom in energy drilling has led to the sharp increase in sales tax collections, but many of the local jobs are not being credited to Reeves County under the TWC’s formula for calculating county-by-county employment levels, and are instead going to the counties where payrolls and employment are recorded.

The disparity has continued for the past four years. TWC figures since 2003 show a drop of 15 percent in the total number of jobs in Reeves County, at the same time as tax collections based on sales within the county have increased by over100 percent.

Reeves was one of the few counties to report a jobless rate drop in September among counties in the Permian Basin and Trans-Pecos regions. But most counties also reported increases in their workforces and the total number of jobs last month.

Midland County was an exception. Its unemployment rate increased from 2.8 to 3.0 percent last month, as the county lost 305 workers last month and 431 jobs. But Ector County’s unemployment rate was also up two-tenths of a percent, to 3.3 to 3.5 percent, while the county added 202 workers, while the number of jobs rose by 97.

Andrews County’s rate rose from 2.9 percent in August to 3.1 percent last month, but the number of workers increased by 98 and the job total was up by 83. Brewster County’s rate went from 2.9 to 3.0 percent, as the county had one fewer worker and four fewer jobs than in August.

Crane County’s rate increased from 3.9 to 4.1 percent in September, but the county added 22 workers and 18 jobs from August. Culberson County saw its rate hold at 2.6 percent last month, with ad addition of 34 workers and 33 jobs. The Dawson County (Lamesa) unemployment rate increased from 5.6 to 5.8 percent, as the county added 90 workers and 64 jobs. Howard County’s unemployment rate increased from 4.3 percent to 4.5 percent last month. The county added 148 workers and 110 jobs. Pecos County’s rate went from 4.4 to 4.5 percent, as the county’s workforce was up by 90 workers while the job total increased by 76.

In Ward County, unemployment increased from 3.8 to 4.1 percent, with the number of jobs down by six while the workforce was up by eight. Winkler County’s unemployment rate declined from 3.5 to 3.4 percent. The county’s workforce in August was up by three workers from August while the number of jobs was up by five.

Presidio County saw its jobless rate increase from 9.9 to 10.8 percent. The county’s workforce increased by 77, while the number of jobs grew by 38 in September.

The jobless rate for Loving County, the smallest county in the nation, fell back to 11.1 percent after a jump to 12.9 percent in August. The TWC said Loving had the same number of unemployed, four, as the previous month, but added four workers and four jobs, going to 35 workers and 27 employed.

New band director seeks future improvement

The new director of the Pecos Eagle Band was satisfied with the group’s performance on Saturday, despite a low score at the UIL area marching competition at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa.

“Change is hard, but I’m very proud of all our band students,” said Pecos Eagle Band Director Juan Rodriguez, who became director of the PHS band earlier this year, after a series of low scores over the past several years.

Pecos’ band was one of seven Class 3A bands to perform on Saturday in Odessa, and received a Division III rating. Lamesa received a Division II from the judges, while the other five participating Class 3A bands all earned Division I ratings. Pecos’ band last received a Division I ranking in the area marching contest six years ago.

Rodriguez said that Saturday was the culmination of the entire band season, but that they are already preparing for the Spring.

“I feel like they did really well, change isn’t easy, but they did show improvement,” said Rodriguez.

He said that he knew the rating was low, but that the band did show improvement.

“I’m hoping we can work on improving what we already have going,” said Rodriguez.

Pecos’ band performed Saturday in Odessa after playing the previous night in the El Paso area, at halftime of the Eagles’ football game against Clint.

Overall, Rodriguez said it’s been tough, with a new entire staff and with a smaller number of band members than in recent years.

“It is a smaller band. We took 48 out to Odessa on Saturday, but they all worked hard and did well,” he said.

Rodriguez said that the band is smaller this year because a lot of the students chose to drop out of the program because they did not want to maintain the work schedule.

“I’m proud of the ones that chose to remain in the program, because I would rather have students that really want to be here,” said Rodriguez.

“Change is tough and some of these students didn’t feel they could work up to the challenge,” he said. “But overall, they are all improving.”

Rodriguez said that within the next two years the band program will grow.

“The seventh graders are doing really well and the sixth graders are too,” said Rodriguez. “We’re also working really hard with the eighth graders, so that when they join us, we’ll all be prepared.

“But change is hard and we’re all adjusting and we know that we can bring the band program back up,” said Rodriguez.

Modern Study Club holds home life department program

The Modern Study Club of Pecos met Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 3:30 p.m., in the fellowship hall of the First Christian Church, 423 S. Elm, for a Home Life Department Program with Joyce Morton, Chairman of the department, in charge of the program.

President Margie Williamson pesided. During opening ceremonies the collect was led by Lena Harpham and Paula Fuller led the Pledges of Allegiance to the United States of America and Texas Flags, as all members joined in unison.

Joyce Morton, for her Home Life Department Program, planned interesting and informative Bible quizzes some which included word finds and matching names of Biblical people to the name that their name was changed to in scriptures.

Catherine Travland read a delightful poem entitled, “The Computer’s Swallowed Grandma.” The program was concluded by singing a different version of “Jesus Loves Me.”

During the business session, secretary Catherine Travland read the minutes of the previous meeting and treasurer Betty Lee presented a statement of club finances, including the results of the fundraiser bake sale held at Trans-Pecos Bank recently.

The official call from Western District President, Sherry Phillips, to the TFWC Western District Fall Board Meeting and “Country Store Bake Sale,” scheduled Oct. 17, at Coahoma, was read. Members were encouraged to attend.

President Williamson thanked Joyce Morton, Catherine Travland, Betty Lee, Lena Harpham and Vera Sellers for their efforts making ribbons and in helping judge and hanging the Children’s Art at the 2007 Reeves County Fall Fair held Oct. 5-6.

Federation Chairman, Paula Fuller, reported that October Calendar of Events are: National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Learning Disabilities Month, National Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 7-13), World Food Day (Oct. 16) and National Mammography Day (Oct. 19).

Ms. Fuller also called attention to these Program Updates:

Reaching Out Internationally: Heifer International has started empowering women with their new program “Women in Livestock Development,” or WiLD.

Literacy: “Reading is Fundamental” has started a Multicultural Literacy Campaign to promote and support early childhood literacy in African-American, Hispanic and Native American communities where reading scores are the lowest.

Women’s Health: The FDA has launched a new web page to help consumers get the most up to date health information.

Dollars and Sense: If you are looking for help planning your retirement, check out HYPERLINK ""

Citizenship: You have the opportunity to make life more comfortable for our service men and women. The program “Any Soldier” was started as an effort to help care for soldiers. You may send packages addressed to “Any Soldier” and it will be delivered to those soldiers who did not receive mail.

Roll call was answered by naming one’s favorite hymn.

The bi-monthly project for this meeting was to sponsor the Reeves County Fall Fair Youth Art Show.

Hostesses Joyce Morton and Paula Fuller served delicious refreshments to those in attendance.

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.


Camilo Martinez Salcido, 63, 515 S. Almond St., was arrested by police on Oct. 11 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest was made in the 200 block of South Pecan Street, and Salcido was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Michael Castillo Herrera, 20, 1221 S. Plum St., Jaime Tarango Muela, 21, 2329 Sandia Rd., were arrested by police on Oct. 10 on charges of furnishing/purchasing alcohol to a minor and possession of marijuana. Police said the arrest was made at Third and Mesquite streets, and Herrera and Muela were then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Willie Mae Simmons, 53, 902 E. Ninth St., was arrested by police on Oct. 11 on a charge of theft (enhanced State Jail Felony). Police said the arrest was made after Simmons reportedly was caught trying to take four packages of steaks, valued at $42.08, from La Tienda Thriftway, 810 S. Eddy St. She was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Daniel Paul Johnson, 44, of Rockford, Ill., was arrested by police on Oct. 11 on a charge of public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest took place in the 100 block of East Walthall Street, and Johnson was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Jimmy Ray Vasquez, 22, 1614 Johnson St., was arrested by police on Oct. 11 on a warrant charging him with assault under the Family Violence Act, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made in the 500 block of South Oak Street, and Vasquez was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Thomas Victor Owens, 17, 301 W. Daggett St., and a second juvenile were arrested by police on Oct. 11 on charges of possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) within 1000 feet of a school a Third Degree Felony. Police the arrest was made after the two were found at Pecos High School by officer Jerry Mata in possession of the drug. Owens was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center, while the juvenile was transported to the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center.


Patricio Barrera, 18, 324 N. Walnut St., Aaron Hernandez, 17, 318 E. Seventh St., Abran Sandoval Jr., 17, 1013 Martinez St., and Michele Montoya, 21, also of 1013 Martinez St., were arrested by police on Oct. 12 on charges of burglary of a building. Police said they went to the Kwik Stop store, 915 W. Third St., following an alarm activation, and discovered a vehicle in the area driving without headlights that was later linked to the break-in. All four were transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center, and Barrera was also charged on a warrant for assault causing bodily injury, a Class A misdemeanor.


Manuel Navette Rayos, 38, 2002 W. Fourth St., was arrested by police on Oct. 8 on a charge of possession of a controlled substance (cocaine). Police said the arrest was made after a search warrant was executed by police and officers from the 143rd District Attorney’s office at Rayos’ home, and cocaine and materials for packaging the drug were reportedly discovered. He was then charged with the Third Degree Felony, and was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Nolberto Matta, 55, 613 S. Pecan St., was arrested by police on Oct. 13 on a charge of failure to signal a turn a Class C misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made at Eighth and Mesquite streets, and Matta was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Rogelio Villa, 23, 1111 W. Second St., was arrested by police on Oct. 13 on a charge of driving while intoxicated, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made following an incident in the 1200 block of South Eddy Street, and Villa was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Iran Estrada, 18, 801 S. Oleander St., was arrested by police on Oct. 14 on a charge of driving while intoxicated, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made following an incident at Washington and Park streets, and Estrada was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.


Eric Filomenio Baeza, 24, of Odessa, was arrested by police on Oct. 15 on a warrant for assault under the Family Violence Act, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said the arrest was made after a traffic stop in the 1600 block of South Plum Street, and Baeza was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.

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Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321

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