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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 13, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels WEDNESDAY August 13, 2003 14 pages in 2 sections "rnmmmm    jMHMp    14    pages    in    £.    SCCtKHerald-Zeitung Vol, 152, No, 233Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 centsSenators vote to fine Democrat quorum busters X SPECIAL ■P SESSION fHM&t On the Web Texas Legislative Council: By April Castro Associated Press Writer AUSTIN — Republican senators remaining in Texas voted Tuesday to fine the ll self-exiled Democrats holed up in a New Mexico hotel for each day they are absent from a second special ses sion on redistricting. Without objection, the Republicans and one Democratic senator approved a resolution to fine the lawmakers, starting at $1,000 a day, and the fine would double for each day they miss the session. The fine is not to exceed $5,000 a day. Senators took the vote as the Democrats mark their 16th day in Albuquerque in protest over congressional redistricting. The senators in Austin voted on the resolution after spending several hours behind closed doors in a meeting. At a news conference in Albuquerque on Tuesday morning, Senate Democrats said they hoped their colleagues would not try to levy fines. They contend such fines are illegal because Senate rules for sanctions call for nothing more than arrest by the sergeant-at-arms. Several also said they would not pay any fines. Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, called the proposed fine a poll tax. “I won’t pay it,” he said. See REDISTRICTING^ ELLIS Windy weather woes Photos by DAVID NGRAM/Herald-Zertung (Above) George and Jan Smith survey damage to a metal patio cover behind their Colleen Drive home near Canyon Lake. (Below) Darrel Jones, center, a local roofer, gives the Smiths an estimate for repairing the roof over their hot tub. The roof was damaged during storms with high winds and heavy rainfall that blew through the area Monday. County tax bills increase, but rate stays the same By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Comal County Commissioners Monday voted to pub-lish a state-required tax notice this week and set two public hearings on the proposed 2004 tax rate. A tax increase notice will appear in Sunday’s Herald-Zeitung — even though the tax rate is not increasing. County commissioners Monday set two public hearings on the tax rate for 9 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28. Under the county’s proposed $25 million general fund 2004 budget, the current tax rate of 33.37 cents per $100 of assessed value would not increase. The county tax on a home with a taxable value of $100,000 would still be $333.70 in 2004. However, that home might be worth more next year, so taxes on it would increase. Precinct I Commissioner Jack Dawson tried to explain the distinction during a discussion of the tax notice. “The way I put it is we’re planning not to have a tax rate increase, but you probably will pay more taxes because your taxable value went up just like mine went up,” Dawson said. Property values are set by the Comal Appraisal District , an arm of state government under the officer of the Comptroller of Accounts. It is not a county agency. County Judge Danny Scheei said commissioners See TAXES/3A TIP: City positioned well for new business By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer City officials will start developing a strategy to entice Toyota suppliers to New Braunfels after hearing a final report Thursday from consultants. TIP Strategies Inc., an Austin-based consultant, is developing a plan to attract offshoot business from the planned San Antonio Tbyota plant. Thursday it will present a final report to the Infrastructure and Improvement Corporation (4B) Board of Directors, the city’s economic development funding committee. TIP President Tom Stell-man said he would suggest an investment schedule and priorities for the city’s marketing strategy. TIP strategists studied the Toyota supplier and plant relationship to determine what New Braunfels has to offer suppliers seeking to locate near and serve the planned San Antonio plant. In its reports to 4B, TIP has suggested, among other things, promoting New Braunfels industrial amenities over tourism, developing an office in Japan and creating a team automotive experts to promote industry economic development locally. “The question of whether or not all of that is necessary is our estimation to make,” said 4B Board President Monroe Miller. Stellman also is expected to present details of the marketing strategy tailored for New Braunfels. No action will be taken Thursday. The 4B board will study the report and determine what funds and assets the See BUSINESS/4A Heavy rain, storms expected to continue until the weekend By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Look for possible severe thunderstorms tonight and Thursday and clearing skies this weekend. Vianney Lopez with the National Weather Service in New Braunfels said to expwt a 50-percent chance of rain or thunderstorms the rest of the week, decreasing by Friday. “We have an upper-level low-pressure system pushing through the area, allowing for showers, especially in the afternoon due to daytime heating,” Lopez said. “We’ll see a lot of shower activity Wednesday night and Thursday, with heavy rains possible Thursday. By Friday, it looks like it should be clearing up as the low moves out to the south.” Did you know? Utility companies trim branches I that could cause power outages, j To report possible problems, call I Pedernales Electric Cooperative's Canyon Lake office at (888) 554-4732 or (830) 964-3346 In the New Braunfels area, call New Braunfels Utilities at 608-8873. Some of the storms could be severe in isolated areas, causing large hail and damaging winds, Lopez said. George and Jan Smith, of Colleen Drive in Canyon Lake, experienced those damaging winds when a thunderstorm blew through their neighborhood at about 3 p.m. Monday. See WEATHER/3APractice is a breeze OAVtO INGRAM/HerakJ-Zeitung Canyon High School junior Melanie McDermott performs a cotorguard routine during band practice Tuesday morning. Cloudy skies and a strong breeze made for a pleasant practice. West End could get new walkways By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer Children in the West End might soon have a safer route home from school. New Braunfels City Council approved Monday a $5,000 engineering study to determine the cost of building or reconstructing sidewalks near Lone Star Elementary. Once a price is determined, officials hope to build the new sidewalks with state grant money. Dr. Carlos Campos, West Side Community Center board member, said he’s seen children walk in the middle of the street to get to the center at South Krueger Avenue and 1-35. Children walk about a half mile from Lone Star Elementary to attend afterschool programs at the center, Campos said. He said hundreds of children use the center’s tutoring and counseling services. During the school year parents and grandparents walk children to Lone Star or to area parks, creating increased pedestrian traffic, District I City Councilwoman Sonia Mufioz-Gill said. There is a cracked sidewalk along San Antonio Street from Spur to Krueger but few other walkways in the area. The state’s Safe Routes to Schools Program provides up to $500,000 for sidewalks within two miles of a school. The program requires local governments match 20 percent of the project’s cost in dollars or services. The engineering study will determine how many sidewalks the grant could help create, Campos said. Community center board member Paul Fraser discovered the grant while planning See WALKWAYS/3 AInside Classifieds.............46B Comics...............2B Crossword.............2B Forum................6A Obituaries.............3A Sports...............7-8A Today.................2A TV...............     3B ;