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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 14, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas BSSSSwftTf™ SSiffisSSSos »T ru nl 780 IE SUNDAY AUGUST 14,2005 nERALD-ZEITUNG LIFE COMMON GOAL Local family writes mission statement focusing on family values, beliefs. Page IC SPORTS CANYON SPLITS The Canyon volleyball team splits its final two games in the DuncanvilleTournament. Page IB Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 154, No. 229 28 pages, 5 sections CLICK $1.00 WWW i '56825 00002 r* pi Partly Cloudy High Low 95 76 Details .... 38 DEAR ABBY 3E CLASSIFIEDS ID COMICS 4C CROSSWORD 4C FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS IS TV GRIDS 2,3E Ilimitless colleagues ‘shocked, surprised’ Lynn Limmer By Ron Maloney Staff Writer One day after District Attorney Dib Waldrip named former City Councilwoman Lynn Limmer the sole suspect in a bank embezzlement investigation, colleagues expressed shock at the allegations. New Braunfels City Council members who commented Saturday cautioned against a rush to judgment against Limmer, saying it would be best to await the outcome of the legal process. Mayor Bruce Boyer returned a call Saturday from Nebraska. ‘Obviously, I was shocked and dismayed that this has come up,” Boyer said. “Of course, in our system, you’re innocent until proven guilty, and I think this investigation will have to play out before anyone knows for sure what has taken place. Our thoughts and prayers will be with the Limmer family as they struggle with this personal crisis, but the business of the city and city council will go forward." Limmer, who this past month resigned her post as manager of the New Braunfels branch of the Seguin-based First Commercial Bank, quit her position as District 6 City Councilwoman a week later, citing family health issues. First Commercial Bank President Mark Long told the Herald-Zeitung Thursday that money was missing from “less than IO accounts.” Long said the bank had met with the account holders and had returned the missing money. Long and other bank representatives met with Waldrip Friday and after the meeting the district attorney reported that Limmer was the See LIMMER, Page 3A By Leigh Jones and Ron Maloney Staff Writers In recent years, New Braunfels city council members and Comal County commissioners have repeatedly talked about keeping tax rates low. But you would have a hard time convincing Don Forres and Clarine Folmar the elected officials should he praised. Forres, a local business LEARN MORE To see how property values have increased in New Braunfels and Comal County, see graph on Page 6A. To look at tax rates since 1992, see Page 8A. How much money could New Braunfels, Comal County and the school districts raise? Find out on Page 8A owner, received an unwelcome shock when he opened his Comal Appraisal District tax notice earlier this summer. While not all of his seven commercial buildings increased in value, one of them jumped 36 percent. “The building’s value went up, but the prices we can charge for rent did not,” he said. “The ceiling on rent is fixed by demand, and right now, that’s about $1.25 per square foot.” Even if Forres wanted to raise rent, he could not — contracts with tenants lock him in to a set rate for at least three years. “Since I can’t recoup it right away, the additional tax mon ey would come right out of our pockets,” he said. Forres took his complaints to the Comal Appraisal District appeal board and found sympathetic listeners. The board appreciated his rent dilemma and agreed to lower the building’s valuation increase, making the tax bill much more palatable. Although Forres’ story had a happy ending, his experience with rising property values has been repeated in thousands of businesses and homes throughout Comal County for at least the last 13 years. Folmar has lived in her home in the Northridge Subdivision off Walnut Avenue since it was built. Since then, her husband and son passed away, leaving her alone to pay the bills. Almost every year, that task got harder when the property tax bill arrived. Since 1993, the assessed value of her house has jumped close to $60,000. “We bought the house and paid for it when we moved in it,” she said. “The taxes have gone up because of valuation, but I’m not surprised." Thanks to voters in New Braunfels who approved the senior tax freeze, Folmar will not face increased bills in the future. But she is in the minority. Tax rate vs. effective tax rate A neighbor in Northridge also lamented the increasing bills, but shrugged it off, saying there was nothing he Above, an illustration revealing how property taxes have gone up at a home in the Northridge Subdivision. Right, Don Forres stands in the yard of a commercial property that saw a 36 percent increase in assessed valuation this year. could do about it. Values have risen an average of 9 percent per year since 1993, making each year’s tax notice more difficult to accept than the last. In 1993, most homes in the Northridge Subdivision were appraised near SKK),(XX). With that appraisal, property tax bills with no exemptions would have averaged around $2,200. Today, most properties in the subdivision are valued between $150,000 and See TAX, Page 6ANBISD to consider pay raises By Ron Maloney Staff Writer New Braunfels Independent School District trustees will consider 4 percent pay raises for all district employees at their meeting Monday afternoon. The NBISD board meets at 5:30 p.m. in the board room located on the second floor of the Education Center located at 430 W. Mill. If approved, the raises would cost $1.1 million — $800,000 of which has already been included the district’s budget. Also on the table Monday night will be a $40 per month payment — $480 for the year — to employees to offset rising costs for health insurance coverage. Executive Director for Business and Support Services Sandy Hill said the raises would mean a starting teacher at the NBISD would see a salary of $33,500 this year, up from $32,000. The raise and the payments to cover rising insurance costs would result in a total 2005-06 budget amendment of about $700,000, Hill said. NBISD Superintendent of Schools Ron Reaves said the raises were being sought to try to bring district staff toward pay parity with those at other districts. “Even after giving 4 percent raises, we’re lagging behind our regional competitors, one of which is Comal Independent School District,” Reaves said. “We’re trying to provide salaries that are comparable so we don’t start losing DAVID INGRAM Herald-Zeitungleauiers go By Melissa Johnson and Leigh Jones Staff writers First-year teacher Edwin Glosson diligently took notes Friday during the Comal Independent School District new teacher orientation. With his head bent over a notebook and his pen moving rapidly across the page, he looked like a student himself, but Glosson is preparing to be a role model for impressionable seventh-graders. I Ie already has a good start. Glosson recently gave up his career as a pharmaceutical sales representative to become a teacher and coach. “I feel like it s my calling,'’ he said. “I’m looking forward to making a difference in children’s lives.” Glosson, who lives in the Spring Branch area and will he teaching Texas history at Spring Branch Middle School, said he chose C1SD because it was close to home. “My wife and I just bought a house, so we ll live in the same community our kids come from,” he said. “That’s important." Although he will be standing in front of a classroom for the first time on his own in a week, Glosson said he was not nervous. Neither is fellow First-year teacher Carrie Warzecha, who will tx* teaching family and consumer sciences at Smithson Valley I Ugh School. "I’m excited," she said with a big smile. “It s a hit overwhelming now, going to all these meetings. See TEACHERS, Page 3A WELCOME ABOARD ■ Comal ISO welcomed 128 new teachers during orientation Friday. The number was about average for the district. In a normal year, 125 new teachers are hired. ■ Neighboring New Braunfels ISD, which is experiencing an approximately 10-percent turnover rate per year, will hire 96 new professional employees by the start of the 2005-06 school year. Twenty-three of the positions are new and were created to reinstate positions that were cut back last year. The Sonier Group ERA-D. Lee Edwards Realty rfi ^Unmatched Attention For Your Red Estate Needs” wwwnewbfaonfeteproperttescom PROUDLY SERVING NEW BRAUNFELS & SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES Susan Sonier Qr Jerry Sonier 830.832.8815    210.885.6188 Email: TheSonieiGroupGomaiLcooi Mayor Bruce Boyer 1993 Appraised Value: $103,910 City $426.03 County $322.12 NBISD ... $1,527.48 Tax bills on the rise Tax Bill Difference $1,580.43 2004 Appraised Value: $148,310 City S667.40 County $489.42 NBISD ... $2,699.24 Total $3,856.06 Total $2,275.63 !** MU aaa* ***** O' turn pm Mttxn twn<pl»«Wti» MMI dm nm Ut mm iw«a<»»«tm#*mum Photo by MANDY REARY, illustration by MARK RODRIGUEZ Herald-Zeitung, A TAXING DILEMMA Rates may be low, but tax bills continue to climb DAVID INGRAM Herald Zeitung First-year teacher Edwin Glosson gave up his job as a pharmaceutical sales representative to become a teacher and coach at Spring Branch Middle School. ;