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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung: Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - Page 1

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   New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 23, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas                                TUESDAY MARCH 23 2004 ERALD SPORTS Ohv brothers Two sets of twins help power the SVHJ Rangers soccer team Pageft 5A FORUM AWESOME OZ Three letter writers say the local production of The Wizard of Oz is worth the support of the community Pago 4A 10 pages 1 section CK WWW Chance of storms High Low 77 61 Details6A DEAR A6BY CLASSIFIEDS COMICS CROSSWORD FORUM OBITUARIES SPORTS TV GRIDS 8A 7A 7A 4A 3A SA 8A FRONT and CENTER Blocked Bob Pullin waits to return to his Rose Lane home while a Union Pacific train blocks the crossing in or put of his neighborhood DAVID on Bunker Street the only public road Local residents blowing whistle on train problems The Union Pacific Rail road has its own police force For crossing prob lems includ ing crossings blocked by trains call Union Pacific police dis patch at 888 8777267 I The Texas Transportation Code calls for a Class C mis demeanor cita tion if a train blocks a cross ing for more than 10 min utes in cases other than when the train suffers a mechanical breakdown or other Act of By Ron IVIaloney Staff Writer Imagine explaining this one to the boss Every once in a while youre late for work Some times youre really really late for two hours Car break down No bus to catch Dont suggest to anyone living off Bunker Street south of New Braun fels that they catch a train The trains the problem Just off Bunker Street is a Union Pacific switching yard Residents of the street and the Deer Park subdivi sion sometimes find them selves stuck behind trains that block the way out the only way out Most times the delays arent unreasonable When one fectors in living next to a railroad yard delays can be expected But resi dents say they seem to be coming more often and seem to be getting worse Bob Pullin and his family moved to Rose Lane off Bunker Street about 15 years ago It wasnt as bad then as it is Pullin said Its a has Somettnes Pullin saidr the train obstructing Bunker Street will be parked and theres no Union Pacific employee in the area to seek out for help You get out and look and its so long you cant see which end of the train has the Pullin said Youll sit there for awhile A couple weeks ago my wife sat there for nearly two hours She got there at 7 and she didnt get to pass until A sheriffs deputy told Pullin there was nothing he could do Comal County Sheriffs Office Cpl Tim Kolbe said his agency gets a lot of calls about trains blocking Bunker Street The calls are a real concern he said because the road isnt just blocked to residents Its also blocked to patrol cars and emergency vehicles Reviewing dispatch logs Kolbe found nine recent incidents in which the crossing was blocked for 425 average of minutes each That doesnt mean there Bunker Street UNION PACIFIC TRACKS 135 were only nine Kolbe said They happen quite often Sometimes they block it 15 or 20 minutes One time they blocked it two hours Of course there could have been a good reason for Kolbe said the Texas Transportation Code calls for a Class C misdemeanor citation if a train blocks a crossing for more than 10 minutes in cases other than when the train suffers a mechanical breakdown or other Act of Deputies regularly cite Union Pacific crews between and Kolbe said The situation is a diffi cult one because of the length of time the subdivi sion has been Kolbe said But the railroad has been there since when The 1800s You have to under stand thats a switching yard out there Im sure theres a solution but it hasnt been found Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said railroad policy is to break cars if theres a problem uncouple the train at the See TRAINS Page 3A County officials Union Pacific to discuss possible solutions By Ron Maloney Staff Comal County Commissioners Thursday will ask the Union Pacif ic Railroad to be a littieinorei harry in its operation of the ing yard off Bunker Street Comniissioners will consider a resolution calling on the railroad to break trains or da whatever needs to be dona so neighbor hood residents will not experi ence excessive delays caused by trains blocking the street Court meets at 8 15 in the courtroom at 199 Main Plaza Precinct 2 Coowiissioner Jay Mil Ijkjn said he and County Engineer Tom Hornsethwent opt to Bunker Street Monday aftenioon to discuss are sometimes trapped behind trains Bunker Street and the Peer Park subdivision are sometimes cut oft from FarmtoMarket Road 482 the only access when trains block the street wJiUe taking on cars or engines This is a problem thai goes back years and probably longer than MilUldn said County officials have identified options fcat wouJd incWe building abridge over the tracks digging an underpass thai would be flooded during rainy times or building a road around the crossing Coyote Run parallels Bunker Street a slipri distance to the south but its a private road MJlUan said Those folks dont want it to become a county he said Almost all of the solutions would cost several hundred thousand dollars and involve condemnation of property and excessive taxpayer Ukjn said the real answer and the most saleable one seems to be having the railroad stop sit ting at the Milltoi said the county has a number of concerns not the least of which is the possibility of legal action We run the risk of lawsuits if someone needs medical atten tion and cant get help or needs emergency assistance and we cant get an ambulance MU tikjunsaid Citys tax year to change By Scott Mahon Staff Writer With a unanimous vote the New Braunfels City Council approved Monday changing the citys tax year which will give taxpayers a sixmonth reprieve from property taxes Officials said the city also will change its fiscal year to be in accord with other municipalities Some council members initially hesitated saying the change would cost the city million in lost tax revenues however City Manager Chuck Pinto and Mayor Adam Cork eventually convinced council the change would save the city money in the long run The city sets its tax rate against a certified tax roll that is 18 months old and theoretically loses tax revenues against appreciated property values within the current year Pinto said The county however establishes its tax roll in January of each year and begins collecting its property tax revenues in November The city currently contracts with the New Braun fels Independent School District to prepare and mail its tax statements but will contract with Comal County which will save the city about a year The way you do it now youre trying to fund your 2005 fiscal year budget with 2003 tax said Comal County TaxAssessor Collector Sher man Krause who attended Mondays meeting Youre losing out on new property See TAX YEAR Page 2A Council votes 43 to draft ordinance for permitonly parking By Scott Mahon Staff Writer The New Braunfels City Council voted 43 Mon day to draft an ordinance for permitonly parking in an area bounded by Peace Avenue Mather Street Union Street and Common Street Council sent the issue to the Transportation and Traffic Advisory Board for consideration last October The Traffic Advisory Board voted 42 March 11 to keep permitonly parking along East Lincoln Washington Avenue and Cross River Street It also recommended extending the zone to the adja cent neighborhood bounded by Peace Avenue Mather Street Union Avenue and Common Street City Engineer Mike Short advised council that Mondays agenda item involved only the neigh borhood bounded by Peace Avenue Mather Street Union Avenue and Common Street District 6 Councilman Ken Valentine said riv erside neighborhoods deserved protection The city hasnt invested in infrastructure like shuttle he said Thats why these neighborhoods are under siege We need to find a way to protect these people and parking restrictions are a way to do Mayor Pro Tern Lee Rodriguez advised caution and compromise Short said city staff feels the Peace Avenue neigh borhood is too large for permitonly parking The majority of the Traffic Advisory Board felt we should do this but staff feels the area is too he said NBPD Lt John Wommack said the area bound ed by Common Street and Peace Avenue was too large to enforce perrmonly parking Pospisil Alexander Valentine and Rodriguez voted to have city staff draft an ordinance for permitonly parking in the area bounded by Peace Avenue Mather Street Union Avenue and Common Street Cork Hull and District 1 Councilwoman Sonia Munoz voted against the idea MILLER MILLER Cheek us out on the web at 6253000 186 CastellAve Downtown New Brauntols   

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