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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 9, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas New (BraunfelsHerald-Zeitung Vol. 149, No. IQI    46    pages    in    4    sections    April    9,    2000    Ot    tx    ax/    Serving    Comal    County    since    1852    $1.00 Sunday Funding for second outdoor mural questioned By Heather Todd Staff Writer Index Abby.............................................2C Business................................5B Classified................................MOD Crossword....................................2C Forum...........................................6A Local/Metro...................................4A    * Movies..........................................2C Obituaries.................................3A Sports....................................1-3B Today............................................2A Television...........................TV    Week Key code 77 New Braunfels City Council could decide Monday whether to use bed tax money to fund a second outdoor mural in downtown New Braunfels. But some city leaders questioned the legality of using hotel/motel tax money — a dedicated tax reserved for projects to enhance and promote tourism. The city’s arts commission is recommending allocating about $3,000, or 3.27 percent of the expected $103,920 the com mission will get in hotel/motel tax money for 2000, to the Historic Outdoor Art Gallery. On March 23, six members of the commission voted unanimously to recommend giving nine organizations the same percentage of funding as last year and allocate funding previously set aside for the New Braunfels German Folkdancers to the Historic Outdoor Art Gallery. Council will consider funding requests from 15 arts and heritage groups on Monday. Money currently brought in by the city’s 7 percent hotel/motel tax is divvied up between the arts and heritage organizations (14.286 percent), Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce (55 percent) and upkeep of the New Braunfels Civic Center (11.428 percent). Out of the funds given for arts and heritage groups, 53 percent goes to arts organizations and 47 percent is allocated to heritage organizations. Mural request This was the first year the Historic Out door Art Gallery requested funding from the arts commission. Wayne Rahe, president of the Historic Outdoor Art Gallery board, said the money would be used to fund part of an $18*000 artist fee to create a Ferdinand Lindheimer mural, tentatively planned for the wall of Comal Flower Shop, 337 Main Plaza. Rahe said it would cost about $45,000 to complete the second mural, including preparing the exterior wall and supplies. See MURAL/5 A Two injured in fire RON MALONEY/Herald-Zeitung Rescue workers lift Jeannine Keenan into an ambulance Saturday afternoon. Keenan and a firefighter suffered smoke inhalation injuries in a fire that burned about 50 acres in Fischer Saturday. Windblown blaze burns 50 acres By Ron Maloney Staff writer FISCHER — A fire fanned by 35 mph wind gusts sent two people to the hospital and blackened about 50 acres of brush Saturday before 50 Comal and Hays county firefighters brought it under control. One of the injured was Jeannine Keenan, who owns the burned property with her husband, Roy. Her injuries were described as “smoke inhalation.” A Wimberley fire fighter, who had not been identified by press time, suffered injuries characterized by officials as “heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.” Both had been examined at Central Texas Medical Center in San Marcos and released from the hospital by Saturday night. Canyon Lake Fire and Rescue Lt. Shane Jones said firefighters were called to the Keenan place at 7502 Farm-to-Market Road 32 shortly after 2 pm for a fire in rocky, brushy terrain on the 67-acre property. Canyon Lake firefighters arrived to find about IO acres heavily in flames and “pretty hot,” Jones said. Initially, firefighters chose to con centrate on protecting the threatened Keenan family residence and outbuildings, and while they did, the fire was fanned to about 30 acres around them, Jones said. Jones, scene commander, declined to comment on how the fire started, noting that off icials were looking into the cause. Roy Keenan said the fire was started by his tractor’s exhaust. “It was a little fire,” he said. “On a regular day, that little fire wouldn’t have gone anywhere. This wasn’t a regular day, though.” Fire officials said that a burn ban had been lifted, so Keenan legally could have burned brush.Inside ► Sports Voters will head to polls Tuesday for runoff By Heather Todd Staff Writer Comal County election officials reported light voter turnout during early voting this week in runoff elections for one local race and four statewide contests. Early voting ran 8 arn. to 4:30 p.m. through Friday at the Comal County Courthouse Annex, but residents can still cast their votes on election day Tuesday at locations throughout the county from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Runoff election polling places/8A As of Friday, 13 local Democrats have gone to the polls to vote in the U.S. Senate runoff race between former state Rep. Charles Gandy of Austin and retired Air Force lawyer Gene Kelly of Universal City. The winner will face incumbent Kay Bailey Hutchison in the November general elections. In the Republican runoff races, 153 local voters cast their ballots in the Comal County Pct. 4 constable race and three races for the Court of Criminal Appeals. In county precincts 3,4, 5, 18, 19 and 24, Comal County voters will decide whether constable candidate J. Ronald “Star” Carey, a former military police officer, or Ben Scroggin, a retired senior Army officer, will face Democratic opponent Jim Sutton in the Nov. 7 general election. Scroggin and Carey were the top vote-getters in a five-way primary race March 14. Pct. 4 constable Ed Mullins did not file for re-election. The Pct. 4 constable position represents the Canyon Lake area. In a five-way primary election March 14, Scroggin garnered 964 votes, or 32 percent, and Carey got 897 votes, or 30 percent. Candidate Jim Higdon came in third with 599 votes, or 20 percent. Candidates Lee Hernan dez and Wylie I. Queen picked up the remaining votes. Comal County constables are county peace officers elected by the precincts in which they reside, but their jurisdiction extends throughout the county. They are not full-time law officers but are on-call 24 hours a day. Constables in Comal County are paid a yearly salary of $20,396. County constables are the offi-See ELECTION/4A Unicorns varsity baseball team blows lead against Austin Westlake, losing 7-5./1B ► Income tax City seeks public input on budget By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff writer Who to call for help with those taxing problems and other tips for tax preparation.UC ► Women on patrol Local women are holding their own in a field once dominated by men ./IC ^ Spurs win Monday will be the public’s first chance to give input on the 2001 budget and tell New Braunfels City Council whether it should spend more or less on police, fire, streets, parks, downtown and other departments. Council will approve the first reading of the budget Monday and also decide whether it should raise the tax rate. The proposed $20 million budget is based on a lower tax rate than the current one — $.30783 per $100 valuation instead of the current $.31312. But at a workshop in March, council discussed the possibility of keeping the tax rate the same or raising it. “Before we brush it off as a political hot button, we should at least discuss it,” District 3 councilman Randy Vanstory said Friday. The $.30783 tax rate would cost the average household with taxable value of $80,000 about $196, while the current $.31312 tax rate costs about $199. The maximum allowable tax rate possible without requiring a rollback election is $.33125 per $ HK) valuation — a rate that would cost the average household about $211. If council votes to mak£ the tax rate higher than $.30783 rate, the city will conduct a public hearing April 24. Both the tax rate and the budget will go before council for final approval May 8. Staff' started working on the budget in January. During workshops in March, department heads pared down each other’s budgets. At council’s March workshop. District 2 councilman Larry Alexander said he was particularly concerned with cuts in budgets for the police and fire departments. He questioned spending $50,000 on media equipment and improvements for the council chambers and $50,000 on downtown improvements, while cutting those budgets. “To me, these are frills,” he said, “lf this is keeping one policeman or one fireman off the street, I don’t support it.” Staff actually cut requests for two police officers and seven firefighters. The police department requested eight officers and got six, and the fire department requested seven fire- See COUNCIL/5A Meeting WHAT: New Braunfels City Council WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Monday WHERE: New Braunfels Municipal Building, 424 S. Casten Ave. San Antonio Spurs, 98 L.A. Lakers, 90 ;