Wednesday, May 7, 2003

New Braunfels Herald Zeitung

Location: New Braunfels, Texas

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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 7, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas NEW BRAUNFELS WEDNESDAY May 7 2003 jg pages jn 3 sections HERALDZEITUNG Vol 152 No 149 ServingNew Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents CISD officials Loans made good sense Ifappropriate peo ple knew about the plan how come school board members were shocked to learn about What are the schools getting tor their halfamllllon dol lars worth of field work FRIDAY BY SEAN BOWUN Staff Writer The plan to loan athletic booster clubs to pay for artificial turf projects was a moneymaking opportunity for the county school district officials said Comal Independent School Dis trict Business Manager Abel Cam pos who came up with the idea said he and Jim Grunert superin tendent thought the plan was a winwin funding option for the school district and the booster clubs Our job is to solve Grunert said We wanted this as a backup to present to the boosters if the bank loan cant be worked out a second option for them to con Undef an agreement reached in March Smithson Valley and Canyon booster clubs were to pay nearly half of the estimated mil lion it would cost to install artificial turf at their football stadiums Banks asked the school district to cosign for the loans which Campos has said the district cannot do bans were a plan B kind of a deal if financing from the banks fell the business manag er said And from an investment per spective the bans made good busi ness sense Grunert said It was a way to take money that we invest and obtain a higher per cent of our investment which could have made the taxpayers some additional he said The money for the loans would come from mold litigation settle ment funds which are currently drawing 1 percent to percent in interest Campos said And banks were going to charge See GRUNERT A taxing situation State bill could mean more local funding for poor VFDs BY RON MALONEY Staff Writer Officials in cashstrapped volunteer departments are watching the progress of leg islation that would eliminate rural fire protection districts and replace them with Emergency Service Districts The bills are Senate Bill 1021 introduced by Sen Frank Madia DSan Anto nio and its companion House Bill 3427 introduced by Rep Gbnn Lewis DFort Worth If approved the bills would take effect Sept 1 Neither bill would provide state funding but would allow the ESDs to raise property taxes with voter approval The ad valorem property tax cap would be six cents per of assessed valua tion The bills would not affect existing ESDs like the ones at Canyon Lake and Bui verde because they do not permit a new BSD to pro vide services already offered in an existing one In January 2002 three of the countys four Rural Fire Protection Districts con ducted elections to be con verted into ESDs under the Texas Health and Safety Code Voters approved the change for only one district RFPD 2 That district now called Comal County ESD 5 serves the Bulverde area and is contracted with the Bulverde Volunteer Fire Department The difference Emergency Service Districts have broader pow ers than Rural Fire Protection Districts They can provide fire or emer gency medical services They can be supported by a local sales tax or by a property tax rate of up to 6 cents per of assessed value vRFPDs to 3 cents per Voters must approve any change In tax rate In ah ESD It is supported by a tax rate of cents per Voters turned down ESDs for Spring Branch and Canyon Lake Canyon Lake Chief Shawn Wherry thinks the legislation would help his department The rapid growth of the Canyon Lake service area is outpacing the available tax revenues If s through the state sen ate and were Wherry said of the legisla tion The Spring Branch Vol unteer Fire Department in RFPD1 serves the largest geographical area in Comal County Nathan Oxhandbr who is a volunteer fireman and a member of the governing board isnt sure how the Spring Branch department would be affected Its a tossup There are K JESSIE Spring Branch Volunteer Firefighter Nathan Oxhandler works on the rear flashing lights on a truck the department bought from the military several years ago He says he does nt know exactly how state legislation that would convert his rural fire protection district into an emergency services district would affect his department Making a mess for mom Nicholas decides its easier to use his hand than the icing dispenser to decorate a cake ferhtemom In honor of Mothers Day Students at Rahe Primary and Bulverde Elementary participated in the annual event Construction to slow traffic at FROM STAFF REPORTS Traffic on Walnut Avenue at Interstate 35 will be slowed today as it is reduced to one lane in each direction for construction work The change will be in effect about a month while workers reconstruct the street under the interstate We highly recommend Business 35 to Seguin Avenue or Spur Texas Depart ment of Transportation project supervisor Lorri Whitehead said This will be the tiein under Interstate 35 Were hoping the first phase will take approximately two weeks and then two weeks fog the second Whitehead said That would be the bestcase scenario depending upon the weather she noted The frontage roads in both directions will remain two lanes We dont expect them to be hampered all that Whitehead said INSIDE TV Key Code 76 Council approves election outcome BY DYLAN Staff Writer New Braunfels District 3 City Councilwoman Debbie Flume was absent Tuesday when council reviewed and approved the May 3 municipal election results Mayor Adam Cork read the final outcomes of the election and council declared Gale Pospisil defeated District 3 incumbent Flume 914 to 530 votes and that Valerie Hull defeated District 4 Council man Robert Kendrick 485 to 411 votes Council also approved the results of the special election Proposition 1 which allowed the city to use hotel occupancy tax funds to construct a new civic center in the downtown area passed to votes Proposition 2 which would have reduced sales tax earmarked for economic devel opment by twothirds failed to votes Proposi tion 3 which would have cre ated a street maintenance tax failed to votes After reviewing the results council issued certificates to the two councilwomenelect Something else to frame on your Cork told Pospisil Councilmembers Kendrick and Flume will be in office until Monday when they will approve the minutes from the last meeting and formally step down from office Id like to congratulate the new council members and well see you in here for work next Cork said Pospisil and Hull will be sworn in May 12 and get severely in the middle of our Cork said The councilwomen take office in the middle of a crunch to balance the budget before the end of June Man who burned home under guard FROM STAFF REPORTS The 69yearold New Braunfels man who allegedly burned down his home in a standoff with police last week has been transferred to McKenna Memorial Hospital Berni Mikkelsen was moved Monday from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio to McKenna Memorial Hospital He remains under the guard of New Braun fels police McKenna officials did not return three calls Tuesday for information on his condition Mikkelsen was treated at BAMC for smoke inhalation suffered in the fire that destroyed hia Sable Circle home Friday morning Brandishing a rifle and other weapons he held New Braunfels police at bay tor nearly 12 hours beginning late Thursday night He allegedly brandished at least one firearm in the incident which stemmed from a domes tic disturbance call