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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 29, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels TUESDAY April 29, 2003 12 pages in 2 sections ■■■■■■»*    pages    in    ^7    sectsHerald-Zeitung Vol. 152, No. 142Serving New Biaunfels and Comal County since 1852 i    * ’'    *. SO centsParing down the employee ranks ■ ADMINISTRATION: 1 administrative secretary in the city manager’s office ■ FIRE: 3 firemen, 1 administrative secretary, 1 deputy fire chief ■ POLICE: 4 police officers, 1 assistant police chief ■ PLANNING: 1 code enforcement officer ■ ACCOUNTING: 1 municipal court cleric ■ PUBLIC WORKS: 2 light equipment operators ■ LIBRARY: 1 library secretary, 4 library aides, 1 library circulation position, ■ PARKS: 1 temporary labor position, 1 aide, 1 assistant manager, 1 park ranger, 2 labor positions and 1 part-time trails worker City layoffs effective Thursday By Dylan JimEnez Staff Writer Thirteen city employees will lose their jobs Thursday in a budget cutting decision that would save the city of New Braunfels $800,000 in the fiscal year that begins July I. New Braunfels City Council voted unanimously Monday to eliminate a total of 28 city staff positions — including 15 slots that are currently vacant. Twelve of the positions are full-time jobs. Though the staff cuts are strategic, they only solve part of city’s budget woes. City Manager Chuck Pinto assured council more tough decisions lay ahead. Before voting, council members asked for points of clarification on the matter and were relatively quiet except for a few almost somber words. District 6 Councilman Ken Valentine urged council members and staff to continue to explore ways to increase revenue, such as fees. The city needs to maintain the “core” of services, he said.See CITY COUNCIL/3A PINTO Burned by bad luck Early voting ends today Early voting in the New Braunfels municipal election and the Comal Independent School District election ends tori ay. Residents can cast ballots for both elections from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today in Room 104 of the Comal County Courthouse on Main Plaza. The elections are Saturday with polls opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 7 p.m. In the New Braunfels election, Gale O’Hara Pospisil is challenging Incumbent District 3 council member Debbie Flume. Valerie Hull opposes District 4 council member Robert Kendrick. Three propositions are also on the ballot. In CISD District 5, which represents Spring Branch, four candidates are seeking to replace Deraid l^aRue, who chose not to seek re-election. They are Rose Cervin, Ix*e Iredale, John Zimmerman and write-in candidate Randy Shelton. In District 7, which encompasses Garden Ridge and Solms, incumbent Randy Pawelek is being challenged by Bill Swint and lies Sutton. NBISD trustees begin prioritizing budgetary needs NOTES VjJjir TOWN HALL MEETING ■ New Braunfels Mayor Adam Cork will host a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Conference Room A of the Municipal Building, 424 S. Casten Ave. BULVERDE ELECTION ■ Early voting ends today at city hail, located in the Bulverde Marketplace at FM 1863 and U S. 281. Hours are 8 a m lo 5 p.m. Four candidates are seeking 2 at-large seats on the Bulverde City Council — incumbent Charlie Bael/. Elliott Franklin, Cindy Cross and Sarah Stevick By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer New Braunfels Independent School District trustees began prioritizing expenditures Monday night as they reviewed ways to overcome an expected $1.5 million budget shortfall. Schrxri district spokesperson Stephanie Ferguson said the district expects to lose almost $1.5 million in state funding for next school year. Although increased property valuations would cover part. of those lost funds, the district is still facing a deficit. “We were trying to show the Ik mi d we were starting off in nearly a half-a-million dollar deficit — at $445,839,” Superintendent Ron Reaves said. That deficit is mainly caused by reduced interest income, the inception and creation of the New Braunfels High School’s Ninth Grade Academy program, plus a fuel storage leak detection system thats a mandated requirement, Ferguson said. To cover the deficit, staff members searched through the budget to find possible cuts. Suggestions were made to cut $425,(XKJ from supplies, travel costs and salaries by realigning a few positions and taking advantage of some staff attrition — not replacing some retirees or employees who resign. But Reaves was adamant about ensuring classroom See NBISD BUDGET/3A Inside Abby...... ..............5A Classifieds.............. 4-6B Comics ..............7A Crossword........... ..............7A Forum... SA Movies. ..............SA Obituaries............. ..............3A Sports. ..........1-2B Today .... ..............2A TV Grid ..............3B Key Code 76 a >6825 OO DOI i Bracken fire chief understands response decision By Ron Maloney Staff Writer BRACKEN — Bracken Volunteer Fire Department Chief Donald Zipp said Monday he can understand the pressures that have forced New Braunfels Fire Chief John Herber to cut its initial fire response outside the New Braunfels city limits. That's because they are the same pressures county fire departments have faced for years. Zipp also said his department would do what it could to help the NBFD — just as the city has done for years for the BVFD. “We’ve never had a problem with New Braunfels,” Zipp said Monday. On Friday, Herber announced that his department would be reducing its initial fire response outside New Braunfels to six men on one engine and one tanker. Thats a reduction from the 14 men, thnx* trucks, an ambulance and command vehicle now sent to county fires. The move could delay “interior attack” — sending firefighters into a burning building — because federal safety standards require that a crew of 14 he on hand to support sending firefighters inside a burning structure. The standard is one that volunteer firefighters in unincorporated areas of Comal and Guadalupe counties often turn their backs on. ■ Manpower issues have long forctxl volunteer departments follow a “two plus two” scenario where two firefighters go inside to do a sweep for victims while two support them from outside ready to try to rescue them if something goes wrong. Herber said the city would look to the county and to volunteer fire departments for mutual aid help in outlying areas and where jurisdictions overlap. “I think this response is more typical of the fire response in unincorporated areas,” Herber said. “I’d like to do more. I just don’t have the luxury any more” Bracken, which depends on volunteers, revenues from Rural Fin* Prelection District 3’s three cents per $ IOO prep-erty tax rate and its annual spring and fall fund-raisers, sold its substation in 2<X)1. “He hasn’t contacted me yet, hut I was fixing to talk to him and get the whole scoop,” Zipp said of Herber. "Basically, they’re cutting their response. It’s definitely going to hinder firefighting — it’s going to hurt, manpower-wise,” Zipp said. The coverage areas of the NBFD and BVFD overlap in parts of Solms and up on FM 1863 west of New Braunfels — a long haul for Bracken from its station on FM 3(X)9 just up the road from the Garden Ridge Municipal Complex. "For us, I guess, especially in the past, the response we’ve got when we called for help was an engine or a tanker,” Zipp said. He said he hoped, like in the past and like in his current relationship with Schertz, where former New Braunfels Fire Marshal Elroy Friesen-hahn is now fire chief, the two departments would he able to get the firefighting job done by working together. “We don’t know how it will come until it all gets here,” Zipp saki. “We’ve always known we would have to call for more help when we knew we had a big fire. We’re willing to do whatever we need to — wiiatiMTwe can supply — to help them out.” MMI ---------------------- ■ Canyon Lake Fire Department Shift Captain Rick Hazel, above, mans the pumper truck while Kyle Powell, right, and members of his department and the Spring Branch Fire Department fight a house fire at 730 Hillcrest Forest near Canyon Lake Sunday morning. The house was destroyed in the blaze. Separate fires leave 2 families homeless By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A pair of apparently accidental fires left New Braunfels and Canyon I^ake residents homeless Sunday. Canyon I^ake and Spring Branch firefighters fought a fire that heavily damaged a Hillcrest Forest home at about IO a.m. Sunday. Canyon I^ake firefighters arrived at the scene with flames visible from the carport area beneath the two-story home owned by the Ryan Dunbar family. New Braunfels Fire Marshal Darren Brinkkoeter assisted in the firefighting effort. “The fire had traveled up through the walls into an upstairs bath and the attic area,” Brinkkoeter said. “Canyon Lake firefighters attacked aggressively,” he said. In spite of heavy smoke and flames, firemen went into the home. “High winds pushed the fire from one end to the other,” Brinkkoeter said. “The firemen were hampered by the building's features.” Comal County Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Anz said decks and construction additions hampered firefighting. “It was really tough,” Anz See HOUSE FI RES/3 A DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zertung ;