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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 17, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels TUESDAY April 17, 2001 12 pages in 2 sections mW/rm -V-    12    pages    in    2    sectuHerald-Zeitung Vol. 150, No. 134Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents Pay day Many residents have lighter pocketbooks after paying taxes CHRIS PACE/Herald-Zeitung Bertha Chapa drops off her tax return with her granddaughter Sasha Breda after 5 p.m. Monday at the New Braunfels Post Office. By Martin Malacara Staff Writer The most popular place in New Braufels Monday wasn’t Landa Park, Schlitterbahn or the Comal River. It was the New Braunfels Post Office. Residents made a last minute scramble to the Post Office to mail off their 2000 income tax returns. Cars formed a line around the building on Seguin Avenue as drivers either stopped off to get stamps or use the drive-through mailbox. Some people even went inside to work on their tax returns. Elizabeth Martinez said procrastination was the reason she waited until the last day to send in her taxes. “No refund,” she said. “I’m paying them.” Martinez said she owed more than $500 this year. “It’s not too bad— I didn’t have to pay last year,” she added. Bertha Chapa had a more unique reason for waiting to send in her return. ‘Tou might as well keep it in the bank until the last minute,” she said, “and earn interest on it.” Chapa also had to pay taxes this year. Charles McWilliams said he waited because he arrived back in New Braunfels about two weeks ago from overseas. “I asked for a two-month extension,” he said. McWilliams said he needed more time to collect all his tax information to send in an accurate return. Kenny Saur said he procrastinated because he owed money. “I’ve always had to pay,” he said. “It’s no better or worse than last year.” Anita Hernandez also procrastinated. “I kept saying ‘I’m going to do it,’” she said. Hernandez then admitted delaying her tax return because she also owed the IRS. Mike Pharo waited until Monday because he had to re-calculate his tax return. “I had to redo it because I made a mistake,” he said. He wasn’t too pleased with the final result. “For the first time in 25 years, I don’t get a return — I had to pay,” he said. For those who didn’t get their returns off in time Monday and file late, the Internal Revenue Service can charge five percent of the amount due for each month the return is late. If payment is late, the penalty is usually one-half of one percent of the unpaid amount from April 16 until the full amount is paid. For those who filed a complete and accurate tax return and expect a refund, it should be issued in about six to eight weeks from the date the IRS receives the return. Refunds should be issued in less than three weeks for those who filed electronically. Forgetting to sign the tax return, math errors or not including all proper forms might cause delays. New subdivision mles adopted Commissioners lift small lot moratorium By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Comal County commissioners adopted new subdivision rules Monday that will force developers to increase setbacks to protect drainage and ensure that their projects have no adverse downstream flooding impacts. Immediately afterwards commissioners voted to lift a nine-month moratorium on construc tion projects that would place homes on less than one-acre lots. County Judge Danny Scheel, who came under fire this past year for seeking the moratorium and trying to force greater consideration of water and environmental impacts as part of subdivision plat approval, was gratified Monday at the outcome of the process. “I feel like we’ve taken great steps for the citizens of Comal County toward maintaining the quality of lifestyle that I would want my grandchildren to be raised in,” Scheel said. Monday’s votes come at the end of months of work by a special committee appointed by the county to examine water and infrastructure-related issues and develop strategies and regulations for dealing with them. This past summer, citing an emergency created by growth impacts on water supply, the environment and county infrastructure, Scheel called for a moratorium on small lot construction — platted subdivisions See RULES/3A New Rules - Comal County’s new subdivision rules will require developers to: • Set construction setbacks around drainage areas in the 100-year floodplain; • Keep drainage areas open; • Ensure that new development doesn’t adversely affect downstream properties. Not affected by the new subdivision rules: • Property located within a master plan that has already received final approval by Commissioners’ Court. City continues wristband talks Council to meet with river committee, outfitters By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer On Thursday night, river outfitters have a final opportunity to convince the New Braunfels City Council to come up with another plan to fund the river management plan. The river management plan includes a program to require wristbands for people using a shuttle What’s Up- Who: River Activities Committee, City Council and river outfitters What: A special workshop to discuss wristband program alternatives When: 6 p.m. Thursday Where: Municipal Building, Conference Room A, 424 S. Casten Ave. or the public exits downstream of the Gruene Street Bridge. Outfitters will be required to have a form with names, addresses and ages fisted. Under the threat of legal action against the wristband ordinance, the council decided to postpone setting a price for the wristbands and instead voted to meet one last time with the River Activities Committee and the outfitters to reach a final solution. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Municipal Building, 424 S. Castell Ave. Outfitter Mel Polk, owner of Texas River Trails and an outspoken opponent of the wristband programs, says the meeting will do little good. “I think its obvious why they had the meeting,” he said. “I think they ran it by an attorney who told them it was illegal.” Although Polk is pessimistic about the chances of coming to an agreement with the city, he said he would attend Thursday’s meeting. “I think they’ll try to come up with a half solution to try to make people happy,” he said. “To try to save face. But it won’t work. They’ve had a detailed plan that did not involve wristbands from Kevin Webb. And See WRISTBANDS/5A * rw fiji CHRIS PACE/Herald-Zeitung Josh Gladhill, front, and James Perry, of Shadesports in San Antonio, remove concrete Monday around newly installed poles that will support canopies at the last public Comal River exit at Union and Lincoln streets. The canopies are being installed as part of the river management plan. New river committee members meet for first time I 3    "7    « I    m    tv,if* CHRIS PACE/Herald-Zeitung Josh Gladhill and James Perry, with Shadesports in San Antonio, load broken concrete into their trailer. Shadesports workers will return to the last public exit Wednesday to finish installing shade canopies. By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer City workers are busily cutting branches, trimming bushes and building colorful canopies to control shuttle traffic along the rivers — all part of the river management plan passed by New Braunfels during the winter months. As the summer tourist season nears, the city is preparing for crowds to descend on the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers. And as the tourist businesses head toward a new season, the River Activities Committee is scheduled to start meeting with its newest members. The committee meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Municipal Building, 424 S. Castell Ave., to organize and discuss the issues. The committee will meet again Thursday night with City Council and river outfitters to discuss the highly controversial wristband program. “It’s like a floating rock band,” said Ken Valentine, vice chairman of the River Activities Committee who also owns a home along one of the local rivers. “It gets pretty crazy. That’s why we decided to pass something. Hopefully, the recommendations will discourage people from some of the behavior.” Rowdy, lewd behavior on the river led the city to form the committee and to pass the recommendations — which include increased law enforcement presence on the river, efforts to clean up the rivers and efforts to control traffic at the shuttle dropoff and pick-up points. “We wanted to try to con-See COMMITTEE/5A Fee promotes water conservation By Martin Malacara Staff Writer Water conservation now comes with a price tag from the county’s groundwater conservation district. The Southeast Trinity Groundwater Conservation District will charge permitted well owners a conservation fee for pumping water out of the Trinity Aquifer. “Historically, water has been free,” said District President Dr. Stovy Bowlin. “It’s intended to encourage conservation. Any charge will make people realize how much they’ve been using.” The fee will be 17 cents per 1,000 gallons, Bowlin said. The district approved the fee in March. The fee will only apply to permitted wells. Such wells are capable of pumping more than 25,000 gallons a day. About 61 permitted wells exist in Comal County, District Manager Ray Laxson said. The combined wells pump about 298 million gallons a year out of the Trinity, he added. “I think the money is sorely needed,” Bowlin said. “It will be well spent in solutions See FEE/3A Inside Abby.......................... ......4B Classifieds................... ...4-6B Comics....................... ......3B Crossword.................. ......5A Forum.......................... ......6A Local/Metro................. ......4A Movies.......................... ......5A Obituaries.................... ......3A Sports............................ ...1-2B Today........................... ......2A Key Code 76 .....wjiui wrwmbmup Early voting starts this week From Staff Reports With the May election nearing, early voting starts Wednesday and ends May I for local elections. Following is a fist of candidates and places that are accepting early votes: New Braunfels In New Braunfels, only one district seat is up for election on the May 5 City Council ballot. Councilman Larry Alexander is running against newcomer Walter Sears ii District Two. Registered voters in Dis trict Two can go to the Coma County Courthouse fron Wednesday to May I to vot< in the election. The deadline to reques mail ballots is April 27 according to the Veronict Sarkozi, elections chairmai and city secretary for Nev Braunfels.See VOTING/5A ss I ;