New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 28, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
......City people won't be able to watch the Spurs game tonight. Page 8
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Church News.........................1B, 2B
Marketplace ............ 3B-7BStammtischBirthday wishes from the Herald-Zettung!
The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung extends birthday wishes to; Charles Reviea, Julian and Cindy Gomez, Agnes Hubertus (92 years), and Carmen Torres.
Sales tax hike seen shifting burden off home owners, onto tourists
Tax revenue would be split for streets, facilities, economic development and property tax reduction
The proposed half cent sales tax looks complicated at first glance. Creaking it down into sections can help understand the numbers.
The tax is broken into two propositions. Each of the two will be voted on separately on the ballot.
• 1/8 cent for property tax reduction
• 1/8 cent for economic development
• 1/8 cent for streets and drainage
• 1/8 cent for city facilities and equipment.
The city estimates that each one-eighth cent will produce $425,000 a year in revenue.
A home currently valued at $50,000 is taxed $205. Under the proposed tax, the same home would be taxed at $180.45. That’s a savings of $24.55.
The economic development portion would be used for I) attracting new businesses, 2) assisting expanding businesses and 3) creating job opportunities.
Under Proposition 2 a projected $425,000 a year would be added to improve streets and drainage.
Possible uses of the $425,000 per year for city facilities and equipment would be libraries, parks, public safety, municipal buildings, the Civic Center, and more streets and drainage.
Sales tax in New Braunfels is currently 7.75 percent. A $500 lawn mower at the current rate has $38.75 added in sales tax, a total cost of $538.75. The proposed sales tax would bring the sales tax rate to 8.25 percent. That same $500 lawn mower would have $41.25 in sales tax, making the total cost $541.25. The sales tax increase makes the lawmower cost increase $2.50.
Sales tax is NOT collected on vehicles, gasoline, most groceries, prescriptions, medical and legal fees.
those with lower incomes. Property tax is
By SUSAN FLYNT ENGLAND
No one likes to pay taxes. But New Braunfels has to pay for needed city services somehow — and, with city services, like most commodities, we get what we pay for. So, what is the fairest way to fund the projects many think New Braunfels needs ?
Many think the half cent sales tax up for approval on the May 6 ballot is the best answer.
‘The sales tax is going to affect any large ticket items. I don’t think we need a tax increase.’
— Rennie Lux, Lux Appliances
The sales tax could work particularly well for New Braunfels because such a large portion of our business is tourism. People come to New Braunfels to spend money. They also use our services: parks, roads, police protection etc.
“It’s a win-win for almost everybody,” City Manager Mike Shantis said. “It makes so much sense for New Braunfels because some of the costs can be taken from the homeowners and spread to the tourists.” The idea of a local sales tax with property tax relief attached is not a new one. “This is not something the city has made up,” chamber of commerce Executive Vice President Michael Meek said. “They’ve been studying this; there are 200 cities that have passed it.”
New Braunfels’ total sales tax now stands at 7.75 percent. The increase would bring it up to 8.25 percent. That cbmpares with 7.75 in San Antonio, 8.25 in San Marcos, 8.25 in Seguin and 8.0 in Austin.
A few local business owners fear the higher sales tax will drive some of their business to San Antonio, with its lower tax rate. “The sales tax is going to affect any large ticket items," Rennie Lux of Lux Appliances said. “I don’t think we need a tax increase,” he said. “We’ll make do with what we have, just like I do in my business.” The San Antonio VIA tax did drive some appliance shoppers to New Braunfels, Lux said. A $500 ticket item would cost $2.50 more with the sales tax increase.
Rhoads Interiors sells interior design jobs for prices as high as $8,000, owner Dennis Rhoads said. “With 8.25 percent sales tax that’s $60 less that someone has to spend elsewhere than in New Braunfels,” Rhoads
it’s a win-win situation for almost everybody.’
— City Manager Mike Shands
said. The government should be limited to police, fire, roads, and health, “and the rest is extra,” he said.
“Having to choose between a sales tax and a property tax, I would definitely pick the sales tax," Rhoads said. “It is the more fair tax because those who have more to spend are taxed more.”
Other local entrepreneurs favor the tax. Letting visitors share the cost of the city services they use is a good idea, said Marian Benson, owner of Collections on Landmark Square.
“Sales tax has always been known to be the most equitable tax there is,” she said. “People pay on the level they can afford to spend.”
New Braunfels definitely has needs, and the sales tax is a good way to approach paying for those needs, Benson said.
Some critics could say that a sales tax is regressive, that it puts a greater burden on
more regressive than sales tax, argues Shands, because if you own property, you have no control — you must pay property tax. “At least on the sales tax, if you don’t want to pay the tax, you can adjust the money you spend on taxable discretionary items,” Shands said.
Most necessities aren’t subject to city sales tax, Shands said. “If you pay your rent, buy your car, buy gasoline, go to the grocery, go to the doctor, you won’t pay city sales tax on those items,” he said.
The only people who might present an argument against the sales tax, Shands said, are renters. “If you’re a renter, the owner of your property has probably put the property tax into the amount of the rent,” Meek said.
If New Braunfels has a bad year for tourism, due to drought or some other cause, the sales tax would still work, Shands said. “If we could just get every four out of five years good years, it would be well worth putting all your eggs in die sales tax basket,” he said. A key to the sales tax’s success is New Braunfels’ tourism industry, that 60 to 65 percent of the sales tax revenues could come from visitors, Meek said. “I think an educated voter will give the nod on this,” he said.
The Landa Park train
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16 Pages in two sections M Friday. April 28. 19Q£_Serving Comal County for more than 143 years Z Home of AGhco nuocn • wa •_ BVol. 143, No. 120St. Jude’s Ranch for Children hosts yard sale Saturday
St. Jude’s Ranch for Children will host its second annual yard sale this Saturday, April 29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the corner of Union and Common streets in New Braunfels. Rain date is May 6. Proceeds from the event will help to provide a summer trip for the residents.New Braunfels Fire Department Auxiliary meets Monday
The New Braunfels Fire Department Auxiliary will hold its regular business and social meeting at Fire Station #2 on Loop 337 at 7 p.m. Monday, May 1.Garage sale at Wal-Mart
The seventh annual Children’s Miracle Network garage sale will be held at the New Braunfels Wal-Mart store April 29 from 7:30 a m. to 4 p.m.
Free bag of soil with every purchase of $3 or more, limit one free, or 50 cents a bag while ^supply lasts.
;• • Barbecue, bake sale and sno Cups will be fa sale also. Twenty-five cent shoes, clothing, belts and more.American Legion hosts barbecue
American Legion Post and Unit 35 fund-raiser for 1995 will be a barbecue served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 29
Auction at 2 p.m., Rep. Edmund Kuempel, auctioneer. Raffle drawing at 4 p.m. At the National Guard Armory.Order of the Eastern Star to meet
The Order of the Eastern Star, Chapter 771 will have its regular stated meeting May 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Masonic Hall, 1157 W San Antonio St.
Betty Friend will give the Memorial Services.Project K.I.S.S. carnival
The second annual Project
! -K I S S, carnival will be held af Mountain Valley Elementary School Saturday, May 6 from 10
* a m. to 6 p.m.• Eat at the Plaza Diner, help ACS
The Plaza Diner is helping the American Cancer Society this week The promotion ends
; lf you order dessert at the Plaza Diner today or tomorrow, the resaurant will donate the price of the dessert to the Cancer Society.Mission Vallay Community Cantor to hold annual moating
The Mission Valley Community Center will hold its annua meeting Tuesday, May 2 at 7 p.m. at the Mission Valley Community Center.
All members are invited.
NSU endorses plan to send Lake Dunlap water to SA
By CRAIG HAMMETT
New Braunfels Utilities joined what NBU General Manager Paula DiFonzo called a “positive effort” to form an area plan for bringing surface water to San Antonio.
NBU joins the Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority, San Antonio Water System, San Antonio River Authority, Bexar Metropolitan Water District, and the Canyon Regional Water Authority in developing a plan to reduce pumping reliance on the Edwards Aquifer, particularly south toward San Antonio.
“This is a very small step toward a plan that will lead to some type of infrastructure,” said OBRA General Manager Bill West. “(But) it is a giant step from a perception standpoint.”
The first step calls for transfer of water from Lake Dunlap to the suburbs of the northern San Antonio metropolitan area via the Canyon Lake Regional Water Authority. Federal Water Monitor Joe G. Moore, Jr. told the NBU board relieving the demand of military bases was one consideration, especially since the base-closure commission considers future water-source availability.
Long-range plans call for as much as 150,000 acre-feet of water to be delivered to the region through basin transfers and conservation.
“The purpose (of the immediate plan) is to supply not only the needs of San Antonio but also intervening cities...and include any entities with the capability of providing treated water,” Moore said.
Local and area residents will have a chance to review details of the plan and ask questions next Tuesday, May 2, in a 6 p.m. meeting at the New Braunfels Civic Center.
NBU Board Member Robert Orr voiced concern that NBU might be limited from expanding its water treatment facility, not necessary for regional transfer purposes, but to provide service for closer neighbors. NBU built a surface water system and treatment planr several years ago, the only city on the aquifer thus far with such a system.
“Our citizens are paying the price for a much more expensive water supply than our neighbors,” he said.
Moore was quick to praise the city’s efforts.
“I’ve held the city up as a good example of what cities on the aquifer ought to do,” he said.
West said he hoped NBU and the Canyon Regional Water Authonty would expand and that the city of San Marcos would develop a surface treatment facility. But he and Moore cautioned that everything depends on the State Legislature’s actions.
“We are praying that the Legislature will provide some type of entity for regulation of the Edwards,” West said.
A federal judge in Midland appointed Moore as water monitor in an ongoing four-year case in which New Braunfels is involved. The case involves protecting endangered species in Comal and San Marcos springs, which ultimately means protecting the spring flow.
“Unless there is a resolution in the Legislature this year, the case will not go away,” Moore told the NBU board.
Local water negotiator Doug Miller said several bills have been flowing through the halls of the Capitol with one in particular, HB 3189 sponsored by Reps. Ron Lewis and Robert Puente gaining much attention. That bill would call for an elected, not appointed board, to govern the aquifer and is likely to be debated within the next two weeks, Miller said, adding many legislators wanted to see some kind of solution quickly.
Herald-Zeitung photo by MICHAEL DARNALL
Barron Schlameus does the honors at the unveiling of a historical marker dedicated by members of the Comal Springs Chapter of Colonial Dames of XVII Century yesterday at the Sophienburg Museum.
Tribute to Annette Hanley
and faculty at Smithson Valley High School dedicated a plaque to the memory of Annette Hanley yesterday as part of the school's Earth Week celebration. Hanley was a biology teacher at the school, and was heavily involved in ecology. She was killed in a car accident March 10. Yesterday was her birthday.
At left, the Shotwel! sisters sing Amazing Grace at the ceremony. At top, the plaque. Above, Hanley's daughters at the ceremony.
in Memory Of
Anisette M. Hanley
Educator, Ecologist, Friend
Apili 27, 1937 March IO, 1995Surgeon General nominee takes a pounding from the right See Page 4