New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 23, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas
THURSDAY August 23, 2001
16 pages in 2 sections
16 pages in 2 sectiiHerald-Z eitung
Vol. 150, No. 244
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852
Water tapping out
Mayor imposes Stage I water use restrictions
By Ron Maloney Staff Writer
Recent rains that have raked areas of South Texas proved to be too little, too late.
New Braunfels will impose its Stage I water restrictions beginning today.
Mayor Stoney Williams announced the Stage I water conservation measures earler this week for New Braunfels and areas served by New Braunfels Utilities.
Water conservation tips/7A
The move came, he said, after Comal Springs’ flow dipped below 250 cubic feet per second (cfs) Saturday — and stayed there.
The mayor has the authority in New Braunfels to impose the restrictions if the flow drops below 250 cfs or if the level of the J-17 well at Fort Sam Houston falls below 650 feet above mean sea level, (msl)
Margaret Garcia, spokeswoman for the Edwards Aquifer Authority, said Wednesday that the J-17 well level was at 653.8 feet above msl.
Williams said he took the action to show that the city and its residents were-concemed about water conservation and quality — and to set a good example for the region.
“Every little bit helps,” Williams said. “We don’t use that much aquifer water already. If you compare us with San Antonio or the outlying areas, I would say it’s almost more of an example-setting than
K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung
Custom Auto Care’s Conrad Vallero rinses a truck late Wednesday afternoon. Owner Johnny Rodriguez has operated the car wash and lube business for seven years at 385 Landa Street. Car wash businesses are exempt from the Stage 1 water restrictions imposed this week by New Braunfels Mayor Stoney Williams.
‘We’ve always tried to set a higher standard with regards to water conservation and water quality in New Braunfels. NBU was very forward-thinking in creating that surface water treatment plant, which has the capacity to expand,” Williams said. “This has enabled us to reduce our demand on the aquifer by 80 to 90 percent year-round. But when drought conditions threaten...it is our responsibility to take additional action to alleviate any unnecessary strain on our water sources.” New Braunfels is very good about this, Williams said. People here are used to conserving water, he said. “That’s the way we do See WATER/7 AStage I restrictions
Stage 1 restrictions for New Braunfels Utilities customers:
■ No landscape watering between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. except with a hose, soaker hose, bucket or drip irrigation system. (This restriction does not apply to recycled, reused or reclaimed water.)
■ No use of water to clean impervious surfaces (driveways, sidewalks, etc.).
■ Restaurants serve water only on request.
■ Swimming pools must be covered when not in active use.
■ Vehicle washing at home only on Monday and Friday before 9 a.m. and after 7 p.m. using a handheld hose with an automatic shutoff nozzle and/or a bucket.
■ Charity car washes prohibited except at certified car wash facilities.
■ No wasting of water permitted at any time. Water should never pool or flow onto impervious surfaces, such as streets, driveways or sidewalks.Reported figures confuse councilmembers
By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer
Blame faulty memories, busy schedules or minds clouded by too many annexation figures, but council members Robert Kendrick and Debbie Flume couldn’t remember the council vote to add $250,000 to the 2002 fiscal budget for fire administration offices.
In response to a report in the Herald-Zeitung about fire costs associated with annexation, both council members called the newspaper to say they didn’t approve the money for the fire administration.
The minutes from the April 23 meeting show that the council unanimously approved the budget item during the first reading of the ordinance.
Kendrick himself made the motion to include funds to “put up to $250,000 in the budget for the Fire Administration Offices and to have a feasibility study done to determine whether remodel
ing the old Police Department building or expanding the Municipal Building was the most economical.”
Kendrick said he was concerned because his copy of the proposed budget didn’t have $250,000 for the fire administration. However, the figure was included in the final budget. He said his only recollection was that the city council voted on a feasibility study.
Kendrick ruefully acknowledged his mistake.
“How embarrassing,” chuckled the councilman. “I have no memory of that at all. I remembered the dis
cussion, but not the dollar figure.”
The figure came from former City Manager Mike Shands. It was the estimate for renovating the old police administration building across the street from the Municipal Building.
Councilwoman Debbie Flume also said she didn’t recall the vote or the dollar figure.
“I don’t think that’s what we voted on,” she said. “I think we decided to see which was better — the municipal building or the police building.” Chief Financial Officer See CONFUSED
Jobless rate jumps, still below averageSummer jobs, textile layoffs share blame
By Ron Maloney
The unemployment rate in Comal County rose seven-tenths of one percent in July — a significant bump, but still just below the average rate for the 12-county area that includes New Braunfels.
The rate for June 2001 was 3.4 percent.
The July 2001 rate of 4.1 percent outstripped the figure for July 2000 by more than a percentage point. Comal County’s unemployment rate then was 2.7 percent.
According to a press release from the Alamo Workforce Development, Inc., the average jobless rate for the 12-county Alamo area was 4.2 percent, almost half a point higher than the previous year.
The Alamo area includes Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Frio, Gillespie, Guadalupe, Kames, Kendall, Kerr, Medina and Wilson counties.
At 1.7 percent, Gillespie County had the lowest unemployment rate in the Alamo area in July.
In Texas, the unemployment rate for July was 4.7 percent, up slightly from 4.6 percent in June. In July 2000, Texas’ unemployment rate was 4.5 percent.
Alan Miller, interim executive director of AWD, said the unemployment increase was not expected because of the number of tourism-related jobs that exist in New Braunfels and Comal County.
“The increase in ComalBy the numbers
COMAL COUNTY UNEMPLOYMENT:
■ Up 0.7 percent in July to 4.1 percent.
■ June 2001: 3.4 percent.
■ July 2000: 2.7 percent.
ALAMO AREA UNEMPLOYMENT:
■ 4.2 percent.
■ July 2000: 3.8 percent.
■ July: 4.7 percent.
■ June: 4.6 percent.
■ July 2000: 4.5 percent
County’s unemployment rate is unusual because of the area’s typically high amount of summer job activity,” Miller said in the news release.
“Still, the increase is small and keeps Comal County well below state and national unemployment averages.”
In July, 40,042 county residents had jobs'and 1,694 were unemployed. The county’s available workforce increased slightly from 41,288 to 41,736.
Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce Inc. President Michael Meek said he thought the Mission Valley Textile layoffs — nearly 300 in July — affected the local unemployment rate.
‘With the rate as low as we have, when you put 200 to 300 people onto the unemployment rolls, that’s a big number,” Meek said.
Meek said Comal County has had a low unemployment rate for the past several years.
“Historically, the unemployment rate is still way below what it was for decades,” Meek explained. “When you’re below five
Giving the gift of life
K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung
Sgt. Brent Paullus of the Comal County Sheriff’s Office prepares for the needle as he and others donate blood at the sheriff’s office Wednesday afternoon.
Police seeking suspect in Peking Restaurant robbery
From Staff Reports
New Braunfels police are looking for a man who robbed a local restaurant Tuesday night.
New Braunfels police detective Bob Parchman said a man walked into Peking Restaurant at Business 35 and Seguin Avenue at 9:09 p.m., brandished a handgun and demanded money.
Parchman did not say how much money was taken.
Nobody was injured.
The suspect is a white male, 35 to 40, who weighs about 185 pounds, Parchman said.
Anybody with information can caU the Criminal Investigations Division of the New Braunfels Police Department at 608-2185.
Key Code 76
SAWS aims to help Bexar, not hurt Comal
By Martin Malacara
SAWS representatives presented the water supplier’s Trinity Aquifer policy to the water district directors and the public.
SAWS Chief Executive Officer General Gene Habiger said, “We understand water is an emotional issue in Tbxas. You view us as wanting to put a big straw into the Trinity, but (water) is
Directors postpone calling for election/7A
a South Central Texas problem,”
The policy, approved in February, states that SAWS wants to develop projects using water from the Trinity, establish a mitigation policy to help land owners affected by SAWS’s pumping efforts and support groundwater
conservation districts in Bexar and Comal Counties.
“There’s always a possibility that a neighbor may have a problem. We don’t want to be in there pumping just to be pumping,” SAWS spokesman Gary Guy said.
Guy said SAWS had no plans to operate in Comal County.
The water supplier has bought Trinity water from