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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung: Friday, August 27, 1999 - Page 1

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   New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 27, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas                                NEW RALD i i UNO Vol 148 No 201 22 pages in 2 sections August 27 1999 FRIDAY Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents Police school Comal County Sheriffs Capt Wayne Lehman reviews DWI tech niques with police officers on Thursday Similar training sessions are offered once per month to police officers throughout Texas Group derails transportation study BY PERI STONEPALMQUIST Staff Writer AUSTIN A new luxury car could be provided to each new rider of the proposed AustinSan Antonio commuter rail and cities pockets wouldnt feel the difference So said Texas Public Policy Foundation president Jeff Judson when he addressed the Texas Department of Transportation com missioners on Thursday Judson presented a formal response to the TxDOTfunded CarterBurgess study which concluded that a 110mile commuter rail between Austin and San Antonio through New Braunfels was feasible TPPF a nonprofit nonpartisan research institute based in San Antonio conducted a comprehensive analysis of the feasibility study which was released to the public in March I couldnt disagree more with the finding of CarterBurgess that commuter rail is in any way Judson said For one it would be costly to operate he said The annual cost per new daily commuter would be Leasing each new rider a luxury auto mobile in perpetuity would be less expen Judson said The overall startup cost would be about million in 1998 dollars which could be financed with 50 percent federal funds or funds from a subsequent transportation act A regional sales tax of about cents also could help fund the rail Judson said CarterBurgess million estimate was low and would be closer to million if not more In comparison one freeway lane running each direction could be added to Interstate 35 from San Antonio to Georgetown for an estimated Judson said He said the major flaw in the commuter line proposal was that it would have no real effect on traffic congestion on Interstate 35 See Business is healthy at rural clinic WAI David Patten a physician assistant at the New Braunfels Rural Health Clinic 189 E Austin examines a patients leg BY HEATHER TODD StaftWriter A new rural health clinic in New Braunfels could provide more efficient primary care in a community with growing health care needs The clinic opened its doors as a primary care provider a little more than two months ago but physicians have seen a steady stream of patients Clinic administrator Sarah Torres said the clin ic saw an average of 20 to 25 patients a day since opening June 15 at Dr Stan Handshys old office at 189 E Austin Street Suite 106 Physician Rosemary Stogre and physician assis tant David Patten examine clinic patients but local family practitioners Dr Carlos Campos and Dr James Bartay are medical directors for the clinic Campos said the clinic was created to alleviate a shortage of local primary care providers The problem is that 67 percent of doctors in the state are not primarycare providers which means they are specialists That means twothirdsof all doctors do not take care of primary care he said Onethird of family doctors are over the age of Campos said in 10 years the majority of fami ly doctors would retire New people moving in to the city have a hard time getting into a family doctors office because there are not enough to go he said Veronica Carte chief executive officer of Health Systems which owns the clinic said rural health clinics were set up to ensure enough physi cians were available Carte said one primary care provider should be available for every residents In New Braunfels there are a lot of specialists in town but not that many primary care she said Torres said the clinic originally was supposed to be located in Garden Ridge We didnt have the patient volume so we trans WAI Physician assistant David Patten left and Dr Carlos Campos help run the New Braunfels Rural Health Clinic established to fill the gap between primary care providers and patients ferred the designation to New she said The clinic took over Handshys patient which 80 percent was Medicare and Medicaid patients when he closed his practice Campos said many physicians were unable to take on more Medicare or Medicaid patients The Medicare and Medicaid population are really in need of physicians to see he said Campos said he believed more rural health clin ics would open in the future I think were going to see more and more to meet the need for primary care of patients as the town continues to he said Patten said the clinic did not have a cap on its patient load and accepted most insurance com panies and workers compensation The clinic offers five exam rooms and one pedi atric room Patton also said the clinic treated minor emergencies Torres said the clinic saw a variety of patients from infants to the elderly but more serious problems would be referred to spe cialists The clinic also provides some lab testing and offers onsite visits at some local nursing homes She also said the clinic was looking at increas ing the number of patient visits to 30 a day As a rural health clinic the clinic receives a higher reimbursement per Medicaid and Medicare patient clinic visit County approves 2000 budget Plan criticized by rural fire prevention district leaders BY HEATHER TODD Staff Writer Comal County Commissioners approved the 2000 bud get Thursday despite protests from several rural fire pre vention district officials Commissioners adopted a million budget in a 4 1 vote The plan called for a 5 percent pay raise for elect ed officials including commissioners To support the budget which reflects more than more in total expenditures Comal County Judge Danny Scheel proposed a tax rate increase of sixtenths of a cent The proposed 2000 tax rate is up from the tax rate in 1999 Commissioners will not set the tax rate until sometime in September During a public hearing Thursday morning members of volunteer fire departments asked commissioners to provide more funding for emergency services Funding for the four rural fire districts was cut in the from in 1999 to next year Rural Fire Pre vention District No 1 will receive a stipend from the county a drop from last year Fire districts official said they needed more funding to handle a growing demand for emergency services in the county The districts funded in part by taxpayers and coun ty funds have a maximum tax rate of per 100 val uation Keith Lewis treasurer of Rural Fire District No 4 said There are many groups demanding funding and they are all very justified but the heart of the county is the essential services You are providing funding for non essential services but reducing funding for essential ser The fire districts were among 40 local organizations ask ing for contract services from the county including pub lic libraries and charitable organizations Budget requests for contract services in the 2000 bud get totaled more than The county gave to organizations for contract services this past year The 2000 budget cut funding in half to During the budget adoption session Scheel said he wanted to look at combing the fire and emergency services in the county Within the next two weeks well call a meeting with all the fire districts and fire chiefs and have a presentation on See Drainage committee continues fee discussion BY PERI STQNEPAUMQUIST Staff Writer Those attending Thursdays Drainage Advisory Committee meeting agreed the burden of drainage improvements shouldnt fall solely on businesses but be spread equi tably throughout the city But bow it would translate into a drainage fee structure was not as certain Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Com merce Inc president Michael Meek said he wanted to see a fair method for fees devel oped Rain does not discriminate when it falls on impervious he said It doesnt know the difference between a business and a Under a proposed drainage ordinance being reviewed by the committee the month ly drainage fee for commercial industrial and retail uses of land would be a month But the monthly fee for residential units would be although the committee already has said would be more rea sonable These utility fees along with proposed development fees would go into a Water shed Management used to fund con struction and maintenance of drainage facil ities Freese Nichols engineering company of Dallas and Austin dratted the ordinance The sixmember committee has not accepted any proposed fees and plans to continue discussion at future meetings City council will give final approval to the ordi nance the committee is charged with mak ing recommendations to council Meek said the fees should be based on the amount of impervious cover on a lot not on whether it was residential or com mercial A lot of us conjure up a WalMart Dis tribution he said but thats one business out of Committee president Hal Herbelin said the most important goal was to be fair to both residents and businesses Herbelin said he liked die way San Marcos was planning utility fee structures San Marcos homeowners might pay between and per month depending on the size of the lot and commercial prop erty owners would be levied fees according to the amount of land covered by structures and parking lots INSIDE OB 11A Key cote 76   

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