Sunday, May 11, 1997

New Braunfels Herald Zeitung

Location: New Braunfels, Texas

Page: 4

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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 11, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas 4A O HeraldZeitung o Sunday May Opinion HTo talk with Managing Editor Micah Boyd about the Opinion page call 6259144 Ext 220 i t u n g QUOTABLE The only side that journalists should take is the side ot Razia Bhatti Pakistani journalist 1994 EDITORIAL Labor of love Celebration of motherhood should be continuous If youre reading this then you have a mother None of us would be here without one Mothers are those wonderful women that carried us for nine months gave birth to us and then spent the better part of the next two decades raising and loving us as only they could Mothers made sure we were fed and clothed They took us to school and helped with our home work They baked cookies for our bake sales and brought sodas to our sporting events They con soled us when we cried and celebrated our victo ries as no one else could They most difficult job in the artist there is no monetary compensation for what they do Theirs is a labor of love So take the time this Mothers Day to do some thing for that special woman in your life If your not close enough for a visit call And if she is no longer with you offer a prayer and remember the times the two of you cherished together The calendar designates one day each year as Mothers Day but maybe we should consider mak ing it more of a daily celebration Todays editorial was written by HeraldZeitung Managing Editor Micah Write us The New Braunfels HeraldZeitung welcomes letters on any public issue The editor reserves the right to correct spelling style punctuation and known factual errors Letters should be kept to 250 words We publish only original mail addressed to the New Braunfels Herald Zeitung bearing the writers signature Also an address and a telephone number which are not for publication must be included Please cite the page number and date of any article that is mentioned Preference is given to writers who have not been published in the pre vious 30 days Mai letters to Letters to the Editor the New Braunfels HeraldZeitung Drawer 311328 New Braunfels Texas 781311328 Fax 210 6251224 New Braunfels HeraldZeitung Editor and Publisher Ext Doug Toney Managing Editor Ext Boyd Marketing Director Ext Borchardt Classified Advertising Manager Ext Reininger Business Manager Ext Lee Hall Circulation Director Ext Ann Avery Pressroom Foreman Ext Parnell Published on Sunday mornings and weekday mornings Tuesday through Friday by the New Braunfels HeraldZeitwig USPS 377880 707 Landa or Drawer 311328 New Braunfeis Comal County Tx 78131 i 328 Periodical postage paid by the New Braunfels HeraldZeitung in New Braunfels Texas Carrier delivered in Comal and Guadalupe counties three months six months one year Senior Citizen Discounts by carrier delivery only six months one year Mail delivery outside Comal County in Texas three months six months one year Mail outside Texas six monlhs one year Subscribers who have not received a newspaper by Tuesday through Friday or by on Sunday may call 210 6259144 or by 7 weekdays or by 11 on Sunday POSTMASTER Send address changes to the New Braunfels fferaldZeitung Draw er 311 328 New Braunfels Tx 78131 1328 mion Online contact To submit letters and guest columns electronically by way of online services or Internet or to simply contact staff members the newspapers address Is Nothing wrong with current NBU payment rate Recent issues of the HeraldZeitung have advised that New Braunfels offi cials desire more financial transfer from the New Braunfels Utility System This request is similar to those made every two or three years by the city govern ment and I believe it is time to give the utility rate payers a bit more informa tion on this matter According to the laws of the state under which municipal utilities operate they may transfer funds to the general funds of the municipality after all oth er financial obligations of the utility have been met In a utility system oper ated by a board of trustees as New Braunfels is the amount transferred is determined by the board This transfer from 1943 to 1996 has amounted to about million The basis of transfer has changed through the years and is in accordance with a formula now that results in a Morhinweg transfer of 10 per cent of the adjust ed operating rev enues In 1996 this amounted to million The City Council however requested an addi tional from NBU to help pay for a new police station and to purchase a new fire truck The POINT Point board of trustees agreed to this and took over a small water permit from the city This permit has doubtful value on the Comal 1 voted no to this trans fer In previous times during my 12 years on this board nine years as pres ident I have voted against many of these added requests Such added requests paid for by the utility cus tomers in the form of rates amounts to a hidden tax and I believe such money should instead continue to be used to expand and improve our utility sys tem so that it may continue to be one of the most dependable growing and eco nomical systems in this area of the state City officials generally compare NBUs contribution percentage to that of San Antonio which is not fair and is unreasonable Our conditions and prob lems are certainly not the same as those encountered in a large metropolitan area It is generally not proper to com pare only one item of an entity opera tion to that of another regardless of size There will be more discussions on this subject by members of the city and the members of the utility board of trustees and the matter will not be solved in letters and editorials to the media but I believe the citizens of New Braunfels should be informed that a considerable portion of their pay ment for water sewer and electricity is sent to the city general fund and that requests are often made by the city to increase this portion I believe the formula presently being used is adequate and should be retained Mornhinweg is vice president of the New Braunfels Utilities board of City entitled to share profits from municipally owned utility Each year New Braunfels Utilities transfers money from its profits to the City of New Braunfels general fund budget The payment from NBU to the city is not a donation or a hidden tax it is an obligation of an agency owned by the city and is intended to benefit the taxpayers of our city who are the ulti mate owners and shareholders of the utility company There seems to be no disagreement between the city and NBU about the fact that payments should be made and have been made for years The debate is how much has long held a favored status because NBUs payment to the city has been well below the national and state average NBU acknowledges that the payment to the city from 1992 through 1996 varied between per cent to percent of NBU operating revenues while the national average was percent of gross Other cities in this area receive sub stantially more than the national aver age Lockhart receives 17 percent from its utility company San Antonio receives 14 percent from City Public Service and Hondo receives more than 50 percent of the city budget from its utility company What all of this tells us is that it is a Mike Shands duty of the utility to provide sub stantial funding to the city Cities opt to buy a utility company because they want to pro vide reliable and quality service and also derive a significant source of income from a broad base with out having to resort to increas ing taxes That is why the citizens of New Braunfels would decide to invest in a utility system and we continue to invest every time we pay a utility bill How many of us consider per cent to percent a good return on any investment much less one that is supposed to help support us Last year NBU made more than million in profit yet a proponent for municipally ownedutilities rate in the March 1997 issue of International Insti tute of Municipal Clerks that there are no profits with a municipal utili ty All monies are public and surplus is transferred into the general operating budget of the Similarly the Texas POINT Public Power Association of which NBU is a member prominently includes in its mission statement that revenues from a city owned utility are supposed to help keep sales and prop erty taxes low and fund basic local services like public safety parks and By not paying its fair share to the city NBU is being subsidized by the taxpayers of New Braunfels NBU does not want to provide an equitable rate of return to our citizens and seems proud that the City of New Braunfels has one of the lowest returns in the State of Texas from its utility NBU argues it should not be com pared to other utilities How else then are we to judge per formance If I tell you that we have the best system and the lowest rates have 1 not already compared our system and rates to others In fact arent compar isons precisely how we judge our per formance We either fail meet or exceed some standard measurement If we have no comparative data to support our claims then our argument is no stronger than the unsupported counter argument In short if I tell you New Braunfels is one of the safest cities in America dont you expect me to sup port that with evidence showing we have fewer crimes against persons and properties than other comparable cities We should expect no less form our utility company NBU contends the payment is a hid den tax and the city should raise prop erty taxes No matter what they call the transfer payment in lieu of taxes return on investment franchise fee or contractu al obligation the payment is pro vided for by state law and is a reason able expectation on the part of any city that owns its utility system It is neither hidden nor a tax However NBU is correct in that the city needs to find additional sources of revenue I believe however that we should look in bur own back yard for funds before we look to our citizens Since we are talk ing about sharing profits there should be no decrease in the level of service and no increase in utility rates Mike Shands is New Braunfels city Today in History The Associated Press Today is Sunday May 11 the 131st day of 1997 There are 234 days left in the year This is Mothers Day Todays Highlight in History On May 11 1946 the first packages from the relief agency CARE Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe arrived in Europe at Le Havre France On this date In 1647 Peter Stuyvesant arrived in New Ams terdam to become governor In 1858 Minnesota became the 32nd state of the Union In 1888 songwriter Irving Berlin was born Israel Baline in Temun Russia In 1894 workers at the Pullman Palace Car Com pany in Illinois went on strike The American Rail way Union led by Eugene Debs subsequently began a boycott of Pullman that blocked freight traffic in and out of Jn 19ULfilacier tyatjpnal Park in Montana was established In 1943 during World War II American forces landed on Japaneseheld Attu island in the Aleu tians The territory was retaken in three In 1944 Allied forces launched a major offensive in central Italy In 1947 the Goodrich Company of Akron Ohio announced the development of a tubeless tire In 1949 Israel was admitted to the United Nations as the world bodys 59th member In 1949 Siam changed its named to Thailand In 1973 charges against Daniel Ellsberg for his role in the Pentagon Papers case were dismissed by Judge William M Byrne who cited government misconduct In 1981 reggae artist Bob Marley 36 died in a Miami hospital In 1985 more than 50 people died when a flash fire swept a jampacked soccer stadium in Bradford England Ten years ago In a medical first doctors in Bal timore transplanted the heart and lungs of an auto accident victim to a patient who gave up his own heart to a second recipient Clinton House the nations first living heart donor died 14 months lat Former National Security Adviser Robert C McFarlane began testifying at the IranContra hear ings The trial of former Gestapo official Klaus Bar bie began in Lyons France Five years ago 12 European countries recalled their ambassadors from Serbdominated Yugoslavia to protest Serb involvement in Bosnias ethnic war One year ago An Atlantabound ValtiJet DC9 caught fire shortly after takeoff from Miami and crashed into the Florida Everglades killing all 110 people on board Todays Birthdays Actorcomedian Foster Brooks is 85 Actor Denver Pyle is 77 Comedian Mort Sahl is 70 Rock singer Eric Burdon The Ani mals War is 56 Actor Boyd Gaines is 44 Country musician Mark llerndon Alabama is 42 Video DJ Martha Quinn is 38 Actress Natasha Richardson is 34 Actor Austin OBrien is 17 Thought for Today Whether women are better than men I cannot say but 1 can say they are certainly no Golda Meir Israeli prime minister vi