New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 22, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas
Officials decry Perry’s tax appraisal cap
By Scott Mahon
AUSTIN — County and city officials told state Rep. Carter Casteel Wednesday that Gov. Rick Perry’s proposal to overhaul the state’s school finance system wasn’t fair.
Casteel, who represents Bandera, Gillespie, Kendall and Comal counties, invited city and
county officials to Austin to discuss Perry’s proposal, which includes lowering the cap on property tax appraisals to 3 percent from IO percent per year and limiting the amount of revenue a city or county can raise without voter approval.
State legislators convened in special session Tuesday to reform the state’s school finance system.
Attending the meeting were Comal County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jan Kennady, Precinct 2 Commissioner Jay Minikin, Precinct 3 Commissioner Cristina Zamora, County Judge Danny Scheel, New Braunfels City Manager Chuck Pinto and Mayor Adam Cork.
County officials from Bandera, Gillespie and Kendall
counties also attended.
Casteel said although legislators haven’t reached a consensus about how to replace the current school finance system, Perry’s plan to lower the cap on property tax appraisals “wasn’t going to get very far.”
“It shifts the burden to lower-and middle-income families,” she said. “Besides, people I talk
to are more interested in property tax relief.”
Perry’s proposal to lower the cap on property tax appraisals drew strong criticism from Comal County and New Braunfels officials.
“If they’re worried about schools, then they need to
See TAXES. Page 3
THURSDAY, APRIL 22, 2004
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Baseball, softball teams look ahead to playoffs. Rangers an Unicorns in good shape; Cougars control their own destiny. Page 5
PRH 22, 2004
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
Vol. 153. No. 140 10 pages, 1 section
A&E Air Conditioning offers specials. Page 3
Rain chance IO percent
DEAR ABBY 8
CLASSIFIEDS 8-10 COMICS 7
TV GRIDS 8
By Ron Maloney
Investigators are looking for someone — possibly a former Comal County Jail inmate — who might be playing his own version of “Dialing for Dollars.”
County Treasurer Susan Patterson said over the Easter holiday weekend an unknown person tried to bilk Comal County - ctboui $7,OOO by repeatedly attempting to use the Wells Fargo Internet banking system to either pay bills or collect cash.
Most interesting, Patterson said, is that the would-be “payee” was attempting to steal money from a county account most people have never heard of — unless they’ve been a guest of the county jail.
The account, called the “commissary" account, is the one where money taken from inmates is kept while they’re in jail. When a prisoner is processed into the jail, his or her cash is taken and deposited in the account.
Inmates can then access their funds for purchases of toiletries, snacks or other items at the jail commissary—without any cash changing hands inside the jail.
When an inmate gets out of jail, the county cuts a check for any funds remaining in the account.
That, Patterson believes, was the basis for the Internet-based theft attempts.
“The checks carry both the account number and the bank routing number," Patterson said.
Someone, she said, created a bogus company and started try-• ing to tap the jail account just at closing time the afternoon before Good Friday. Patterson said she believed the effort was computergenerated.
“They had drafts hitting like little torpedoes,” she said. "Monday morning, we saw it, stopped it and there was no cost to the county.”
See THEFT, Page 3
DAVID INGRAM/Her lid Zeitung
Pete Escamilla, left, and Hanson Aggregates Servtex Plant Manager John Faust watch from a safe distance as a blast takes place around noon Wednesday. Faust says the company blasts during the middle of the day to minimize complaints from the public.
ROCKS ARE ROLLIN’
But blasts aren’t music to Garden Ridge residents’ ears
By Leigh Jones
GARDEN RIDGE — Every day at noon Jerry Warden expects an explosion outside his living room windows.
The dust and flying rock are signs of progress for Manson Aggregates Servtex, which owns the quarry that ends just 3,000 feet from Warden’s home in the Trophy Oaks subdivision of Garden Ridge.
With each blast, Hanson gamers more central Texas limestone for sale around the world. The blasts mean money to Hanson, but to
Garden Ridge citizens, they conjure fears of potential damage to expensive houses.
Today, Warden considers the explosions a minor nuisance, but when he moved to Garden Ridge in 1999, he was much more concerned.
“Technically speaking, my house is probably one of the closest to where they are doing active blasting,” Warden said. "We can see about 70 percent of the quarry pit.”
Three years ago, Warden and oilier residents of Trophy Oaks and Garden Ridge Estates met to discuss concerns about the potential
impact the blasts were having on their homes.
City council recommended forming a quarry commission to interact with I ianson and educate citizens about quarry operations.
“None of us are geologists, so our first task was to become knowledgeable about blasting and quarries,” said committee chairman Bob Gunnarson.
The commission immediately perceived a need to gauge the impact of the blasts to determine whether they were as bad as they
See BLASTS. Page 3
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• Blasts recorded at Jerry Warden's residence
Information courtesy Vibra Tech
Seismographic chart shows March 2004 blasts at the Hanson-Ser vt ex quarry st Garden Ridge Tile force of the blasting was below the levels consul ared to cause any significant damage to nearby structures. The aggregate company measures alt its blasts to ensure they won t trouble homeowners m neighboring subdivisions
Green line indicates blast particle velocity that can cause dam I aye to drywall (0 75 : inches/second)
shows blast particle velocity ttvit can cause damage to plaster (0 5 inches/sei ond)
B’s that Pl time again
Early voting begin* soon rn municipal and school board races. Find out who’s running and what their stances on the issues are in the voter guide.
DID YOU KNOW?
■ 8 a rn to 1 p.m. Saturday
■ Comal County Landfill, off Freiheit Road (Farm-to-Market 1101)
■ Bring your: furniture wood tree limbs bulky items
■ Don t bring: tires
■ Dumping is for residents only; no commercial dumping.
■ Bring a driver s license or utility bill.
Down in the dumps about cleanup
By Dylan Jimenez
So that couch on the front porch seemed like a good idea until it grew moldy.
The City of New Braunfels is providing a wayout.
New Braunfels residents have the chance to get rid of that bulky trash festering in the garage or in the backyard.
Saturday, locals can bring as much as one 17-feet-long trailer load of trash to the Comal County landfill to dump for free.
“It’s an opportunity for residents to really
clean up (heir yards and clean up their neighborhoods,” said Don Ferguson, assis-' taut city manager.
Throughout the year the city gives citations to residents with unsightly trash or brush piles.
The piles accumulate because the city sanitation crews don’t pick up bulky items ort the curb. This is the one time a year residents will be able to dump for free.
“You’ll see everything from old furniture to computer parts to playground equipment and Christmas decorations,” I^erguson said.
■ . t. W. Vt , \ *•