New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 5, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
WEDNESDAYA sneak preview of Retama Park. See Sports Day, Page 10
The Plaza bandstand
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16 pages in one section ■ Wednesday, April 5,1995
Serving Comal County for more than 143 years ■ Home of DONNA ALLEN
Vol. 143, No. 103
Birthday wishes from tho Herald-Zoitung!
The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung extends birthday wishes to; Mary Elaine Faltnar, Donna Allan, Angol Diana Ortaga (18), Adolfo Ortaga (18), Slovan Gomez, Qlngar Roaalos, Michelle Qon-salos, Beatrice Qomez and Daniel V. Lagunas.
Thunderstorms likely, high 68, low 54.
McNeill still critical after car accident
Robert Ryan McNeill of New Braunfels was still in critical condition at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio as of press time. He was critically injured in last Thursday night’s wreck that left three others dead.
McNeill was a passenger in a car driven by Kory Hudgins when it crossed the median of IH-35 near Ruekle Road and struck a car driven by Gracie Villarreal.
The Villarreal car was then struck by an 18-wheel tractor trailer.
Hudgins, Villarreal and Margarita Espinoza, a passenger in the Villarreal car, were all killed. All are of New Braunfels.
Memorials to Gracie Villarreal, wife of New Braunfels Police Detective Sergeant John Villarreal, may be given to Eden Home.
Memorials to Margarita Espinoza^nay be given to Hospice New Braunfels.
Lwitwi community lunch
The guest speaker for the final Lenten community lunch at First United Methodist Church will be Rev. Charles DeHaven of St. Paul Lutheran Church, on Friday, April 7, from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.
This is an ecumenical service sponsored by First United Methodist Church, and will be held in Wesley Hall, located on the Mill Street side of the church. Soloist will be soprano Cathy Talcott.
Everyone is asked to bring a sack lunch, and beverages will be provided by the church. For information, call 625-4513.
Adobe Caf# to help ACS
Adobe Cafe has added its name to the list of sponsors for the 1995 American Cancer Society Starlight Gala and will donate a portion of all sales this weekend, April 7-9,
The last three words of an article about the condition of victims in a Friday night accident in Clear Springs were inadvertently omitted from a Page 1 story in yesterday's Herald-Zeitung.
The story should have ended: '(Christopher) Williams was taken by AirLife to Brooke Army Medical Center. He died Saturday at about 9:30 p.m. (Alfred) Boeck was uninjured.*
This newspaper is primed on recycled newsprint
Proposed city budget would drop tax rate
Plan would increase spending almost $700,000, but increased property values will allow a lower tax rate
By 8U8AN FLYNT ENGLAND
Less will buy more in the coming city budget. “We dropped about a penny this year in property taxes,” City Manager Mike Shands said. That’s about a penny per hundred dollars valuation of a home.
On a home valued at $50,000, a New Braunfels resident would have paid $205 in taxes in 1994/95. In the proposed budget a New Braunfels homeowner would pay $200.40 on a home appraised at $50,000.
This decrease is partly due to growth in the city. That translates to new additions to the tax rolls - more houses and businesses in the city to share the same sized property tax pie, Shands said. And the decrease is partly due to increased home valuations. So some home owners may actually pay more in city property tax, if the appraised value of their home was increased.
The city could have taken the option to put a 0-3 percent raise in the property taxes just by putting it in die budget and having a public hearing, Shands said. But city officials decided to hold the line on taxes instead. “We wanted to turn it all back to the taxpayers,” he said.
In fact city officials have managed to hold down the tax rate since 1988/89.
The rate that year was 40.9 cents for each $100 of home valuation. This year the rate is 40.08 cents. The highest rate since then has been 41 cents per $100 valuation.
Here are the raw numbers. The city plans to spend a total of $ 13,101,347 in the proposed budget. That’s up from $12,414,116, a 5.5 percent spending increase.
What will residents get for that increase? “The biggest changes from last year are the area of equipment and facilities,” Shands said.
Most of the equipment and facilities in the budget are: an ambulance, upgrading electricity in the police station and the library, upgrading electricity and the kitchen in the Civic Center, repairing the pool bath house, a right of way tractor mower, an asphalt patching truck, two pickup trucks and a dump truck, and more dumpsters for trash pickup, Shands said.
“Equipment is a one-time purchase and it lasts for years,” Shands said.
The main items on the personnel shopping list, Shands said, are: three more fire fighters, another equipment operator, one building inspector and a
3.2 percent salary increase for city employees.
The news is also good about New Braunfels reserve fund balance or “savings account.” “The fund balance is going to increase about $700,000, Shands said. It will be at $2,720,136. That’s money the city can spend if an emergency need comes up, he said.
How can all this be done with a decrease in property taxes? The short answer is that the New Braunfels economy is healthy. “We collected a little more in sales tax than projected,” Shands said. Other sources of revenues add up too, he said, like the agreement with Wal-Mart which gives the city a certain amount of revenue each year.
“We just got really serious about watching the budget very closely as we should do,” he said.
“I think that there’s been an incredibly good cooperation between the staff and the city council,” Mayor Paul Fraser said. He credits Finance Director Sharon Day with producing a budget that was thorough and easy for the city council to use.
If the proposed half-cent sales tax increase is approved next month, the
city's spending and tax plans will change.
“The budget assumes that we don’t have the half cent sales tax increase,” Shands said, “lf the half cent sales tax fails, this budget stands on its own.”
The May 6 ballot will include two propsosals, each of which would raise the city sales tax one-quarter of one percent.
If both propositions of the sales tax pass, Shands said, the city council can spend even more money on street repairs, drainage, facilities and economic development. “And you would see the property tax rate drop another nickel,” Shands said.
Shands cautions that if the sales tax increase passes, the money won’t actually be there to spend until December or January.
There are a few “big ticket items” New Braunfels will have to plan for in the coming years. “The two issues we ought to address some time in the near future are the police station and the library,” Shands said.
“We need a larger police facility," he said. “There is hardly any space you can interview a victim. That building
‘The two issues we ought to address some time in the near future are the police staton and the library.’
— City Manager Mike Shands
was built a long time ago when we were a much smaller city.”
A new library is another major expense many in New Braunfels think the city needs to take on. “For both of them, it would come to about $4 million,” Shands said.
City employees and city council members have been working on the budget since early February. Residents will have a chance to have their say on the budget May 8 when the city council holds a public heanng.
New Braunfels owes a debt of gratitude to the city staff for keeping taxes low and the quality of city services high, Fraser said. He quoted Shands -“I’d like to take them up to New York City and see what they could do to fix things up there for a month.”
County looks into need for a Housing Authority
By CRAIG HAMMETT
Does Comal County need a housing authority?
That’s what Commissioner’s Court is scheduled to discuss in its weekly meeting Thursday, among several agenda items.
Nadine Mardock, Executive Director of the Housing Authority for the City of New Braunfels, thinks there is a need. Currently, she said 400 families are on the waiting list for financial assistance in housing. With the New Braunfels city limits located in a rather confined area, she said, many are looking at county areas.
And with the increased growth of the county’s population, available living quarters are hard to find, be it in New Braunfels or the county.
“We’re getting a lot more requests for this area as far as housing assistance,” she said. “...That’s a lot what is happening, people are going into the county area "
The housing authority has merely a political agreement with the city. The funding comes through the federal Housing and Uiban Development (HUD). Most people recognize the program in the city through apartments such as the “high-rise” Laurel Apts, on Landa St.
Since 1969, the city has had a housing authority. Just last month, about $80,000 was paid out to 300 units.
The government pays owners of rental units all or part of the rent for those on assistance. While many may think most of these people are homeless or on welfare, that happens in under a third of the cases. Rather, most people who qualify are either elderly, or have jobs.
Mardock said a family of four can qualify if its income is about $17,450 a year, $13,950 for two. Assistance is available in vanous forms. Some may have to pay a substantial part of their rent, based on their income. Also, a family with large medical bills may qualify even if its income is higher than the guidelines, as an example.
“There are probably many people out there who qualify and don’t know it,” she said.
Mardock said this area has to compete with San Antonio for federal dollars.
Having a separate entity such as the county involved, the chances for obtaining grants and additional funds doubles, she said.
Photos by Marie Offerman
Above, totted: Row 1—Ctrl Wohlbitr and Key Wohlble.r Seated: Row 2—Donald Pitar, Betty Plaar, Frances Allwardt, Martin Allwardt, Elaine Lane and Gertrude Campbell. Standing: Peg Ball, Gene Bauer, Ruth Bauer, Richard McFarland, Ramona McFarland, Elizabeth Elkins, Zora Rice and Betty Swindell.
Above, right, Row 1—Betty Shroads, Theresa Pattow, Moille Whitlock. Seated: Row 2—Helmut Schmidt, John Pattow and Ed Reidling. Standing: Gloria Boger, Sam Boger, Marie Schnurr, Opal Brown, Marie Baldling and Shirley Schmidt.
Right, seated: John Laughlin, Margaret Laughlin, Lolo Booth and Barbara Roilier. Standing: Mary Anne Hollmig (Program Co-ordinator), Bob Booth, Jeanne Sloan, Jeanne Conine, Betty Haselwood, Scott Haseiwood and Clyde Blackman (Program Co-ordinator).
Elderhostelers enjoy the good life in New Braunfels
By Marie Offerman
Special to the Heald-Zeitung
Visitors from all over the United States are enjoying the Elderhostel Program, this week, which is spon
sored by the Historic Museums Association.
Mary Anne Hollmig and Clyde Blackman are co-ordinators for the program. The group is staying at the Faust Hotel. The program schedule
includes visits to all the museums and many historic places of interest, as well as a sampling of German foods and music.
Local volunteers have proudly assisted in showing the visitors our
New Braunfels Rentage and Culture and why we think “In Neu Braunfels ist Das Leben Schoen.”
Yesterday the visitors enjoyed lunch at the Forke Store in Conservation Plaza.
At right, violinist Heather Zimmerman came back to play with the Mid-Texas Symphony for nearly 2,000 children yesterday at the Civic Center. Zlmmrman played with the symphony when she was 12 years old. She now attends the University of Michigan where she studies music.
Below, guest conductor Yoichi Udagawa conducts the symphony.Call 625-9144 for information about subscriptions to the Herald-Zeitung