New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, February 24, 1999

New Braunfels Herald Zeitung

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Location: New Braunfels, Texas

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 24, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas Eckerd plan rejected by city councilCompany officials left ‘disappointed;’ idea now dead for a year By Bill O’Connell Staff Writer New Braunfels City Council on Monday rejected a proposal to build an Eckerd drug store at a busy intersection. Eckerd officials said they were “very disappointed” Tuesday upon hearing that New Braunfels City Council torpedoed a plan to build a modem store at South Walnut Avenue and Business 35. Council voted 4-3 in favor of the project, but city policy required a 6-1 vote or better because of public opposition to the proposal. If 20 percent or more of residents in the immediate area object to the proposal, the 6-1 vote is required. ’‘It was a very tough decision,” said Mayor Jan Kennady, who voted against granting a special use permit. “I believed Eckerd did a lot of homework and made an excellent presentation.” Neighborhood residents who complained about the plan convinced more than enough council members to deny the request. Council members Cathy Talcott and Juliet Watson joined Kennady in voting against the proposal. The special use permit would have allowed for an expansion of commercial property at South Walnut and Business 35. Eckerd proposed to consolidate three businesses and about five private homes into a nearly 1.7-acre tract of land at the proposed site. A Houston-area developer, Shelby Estus Realty Group, designed two plans for the project in an attempt to placate res idents concerned with excess noise, traffic and litter. ‘They really bent over backward trying to accommodate everybody,” Eckerd district manager Jeff Neason said. New Braunfels city manager Mike Shands said council’s vote Monday prevented Eckerd from proposing another project at the South Walnut and Business 35 site for one year without a redesign that was significant^ different than the one denied by city officials. “It* finished for a year,” Shands said. “It can’t come back.”How They Voted How New Braunfels City Council members voted Monday on a controversial request to build an Eckerd drug store at a busy city intersection; Jan Kennady Juan Luis Martinez Larry T. Alexander Randy Vanstory Jan Kotyio Cathy Talcott Juliet Watson returning to tax exemption issue Thursday By Heather Tooo Staff Writer Comal Independent School District board of trustees will enter into a second round of open discussion over elimination of a significant tax break for district patrons at a board meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday. The meeting has been moved to Smithson Valley High School, 14001 W Texas Highway 46, in order to accommodate a larger demographic area of the district. C1SD officials said discussion on the proposed elimination of the district’s 20 percent homestead exemption would not begin until about 7:30 p.m. to allow more patrons to attend the meeting after work. During a crowded board meeting on Jan. 28, C1SD trustees broached the subject of eliminating the exemption in order to maintain the same amount of funding for maintenance and operations. Trustee Scott Watson is scheduled to present two alternative proposals — a homestead exemption grandfather clause and an impact fee — for discussion and .possible action Thursday. “There is the concept of an impact fee where people who build new homes, who are a large part of the problem, have to pay a fee that goes to help build schools,” Watson said. “We could also establish a grandfather clause, that allows people who received the homestead exemption before a certain year to keep it while new people would not be eligible.” Watson said both concepts would require a resolution from the board and authorization from the legislature. Meeting WHAT: Comal Independent School District trustees WHEN: 7.30 p.m. Thursday WHERE: Smithson Valley High School. 14001 W. Texas Highway 46 WHY: Second round of open discussion of elimination of 20 percent homestead exemption Trustees are exploring ways to generate additional funding for the 1999-2000 school year in the face of growing fiscal problems: • The district is sitting at the state-imposed SI.50 maintenance and operations tax cap — which pays for teacher salaries and school supplies. The total rate, including the interest and sinking fund rate, is $1.76 per $100 valuation. • CISD qualifies as a “property rich” school district — according to its total taxable property value divided by the number of students — and loses a significant amount of state funding. • Under Senate Bill 7, as CISD property values continue to increase, the state cuts CISD student aid. • CISD teacher salaries are well below surrounding school districts and a pay raise would be necessary to retain quality teachers. • CISD is expecting 600 more students next year and needs about 70 more teachers. “Even with eliminating the exemption, we’ll still have to cut the budget somewhere. It won’t solve all the district’s financial problems,” CISD business manager Abel Campos said. However, the idea of eliminat- See CISD/5A'50332 no 09 10/22/99    /*> T||T    so-UFST nIC RO PUBLISH I NGNew iSMesmNfels 262 ? E YnNBE:i 1DR -------------------------—11    EL pnsO , TX 79903-Herald-Zeitung Vol, 148, No. 68 20 pages in 2 sections February 24, 1999 xx T TX-^ A w 7 Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents Wednesday CISD trustees RONN CORNETT/HeraW-Zaiung Rev. Chuck DeHaven (left), director of New Braunfels Rebounds, listens as Larry Phelps chats with R. A. “Barf Bartholomew of the New Braunfels Habitat for Humanity group during a tour Wednesday of homes receiving flood repairs. NB Rebounds extends helping hands Interfaith group gives aid to 61 families affected by the October 1998 flood By Chris Crews Staff Writer Comal County has been blessed with springlike weather most of the winter and summer, and good times are ahead. The disastrous flood of Oct. 17,1998 is just a distant memory for most. But hundreds of local residents face the harsh realities of homelessness and want every day, said officials with New Braunfels Rebounds. “Some of the people will not be back in their homes for three years,” said Larry Phelps, volunteer coordinator for the group. Phelps said Rebounds volunteers identified 61 families with homes badly damaged by the flood and estimated the number could reach 300 before the group’s work was done. New Braunfels Rebounds is an interfaith organization created to coordinate the long-range needs of flood victims in New Braunfels and Comal County. The group’s primary purpose is to maximize resources and minimize duplication of efforts, officials said. Even four months after the flood, some families have not applied for aid and “don’t even know what to do” to get help, Phelps said. “I know of two people who haven’t registered or filed for anything and are waiting for the government to come up and hand them a check,” Phelps said. “They just don’t know.” Phelps cited a group of flood-damaged homes near Rusch Lane as an example. “Unless you came down here to help these people, I doubt that most people in New Braunfels know this area exists,” Phelps said. Phelps estimated as much as $42,000 in materials would be needed restore the homes to close to their original condition, but it would take more volunteer labor to get the job done. Funding sources through federal agencies and private charities had been identified for some of the rebuilding projects, but with Winter Texan volunteers leaving soon, Rebounds was more in need of volunteers, Phelps said. ROBIN CORNETT/Herakl-Zertuno Volunteers carry in plywood to reconstruct the walls inside a flood damaged home near Common Street. “If you can help by sending a check, by all means send a check,” Phelps said “But if you are physically able to work, we need you to come down here and volunteer to work.” Officials said the work was difficult but rewarding. “Some people just don’t want to get in the dirt, and this is very dirty work,” said R.A. “Bart” Bartholomew, a board member of the See REBOUNDS/5A Restaurant owner files for District 5 city council seat Bv Bill O’Connell Staff Writer Local restaurant owner Lee M. Rodriguez kicked off the May city elections race Monday by announcing his candidacy for the District 5 city council seat. Current District 5 council member Cathy Talcott has said publicly that she would not run for re-election because site was moving out of the district. * Rodriguez, 39, owns and manages Libra-do’s Mexican Restaurant at 585 Business 35 returned to his hometown in 1973 as a teenager and graduated from New Braunfels High School in 1977. Rodriguez received degrees from Southwest Texas State University and San Antonio College. Rodriguez said he and his brother, Mike, had owned and managed Librado’s for about 17 years. A number of civic duties have kept the new District 5 council candidate busy the past few years. He has participated in Hospice New Braunfels, the city’s Economic Devel opment Corporation and United Way of Comal County. Other civic duties include involvement in Communities in Schools, Gruene Music Fest and the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Inc. Landa Park and East Torrey Street border District 5 to the west, and from there the district runs east across Interstate 35 to as far as Alves Lane just beyond Farm-to-Market HOI. Rodriguez said he believed several issues See SEAT/5A Inside Abby.......................... ......7A Business...................... ......SA Classifieds..............s..... ...5-68 Comics........................ ......8A Crossword................... ......7A Forum.......................... ......CA Local............................ ......4A Obituaries.................... ......3A Sports.......................... .9-12A Today ......2A Television..................... SA West. An active member of several local civic organizations, Rodriguez said Tuesday he wanted to devote more of his time to the city. “I feel a certain need to give back to the community,” he said. RODRIGUEZ Rodriguez was bom in New Braunfels in 1959 and lived in San Antonio as a youth. He ;