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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 26, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas sW®- SPORTS GEARING UP Smithson Valley, Canyon, New Braunfels football teams prep for opening night. Page 5A PRIDAY, AUGUST 26,2005£rald-Zeitung COUNTY BUDGET SAYING NO Commissioners vote against a request to raise salaries for the sheriff's department. Page 3A Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 154, No. 238 16 pages, 2 sections soc www: j ’56825 oooor pMPartly Cloudy High Low 101 74 Details .... 16 DEAR ABBY 3B CLASSIFIEDS 48 COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 5A TV GRIDS 3BPay raises altered before budget approved By David Rupkalvis News Editor Comal County employees will get a smaller guaranteed pay raise, but will have the opportunity for a much greater increase in the 2006 budget passed Thursday by Commissioner’s Court. A budget amendment asked for by Commissioner Jay Minikin, who voted in favor of a yearly budget for the first time, set the County employees could make more money cost of living increase in the budget at 3 percent, less than the 5 percent increase County Judge Danny Scheel initially proposed. In addition to the COLA raise, employees will have an opportunity for a merit pay raise of up to 4 percent. That raise will be determined by department heads after commissioners approved the amendment by a 3-1 vote. Commissioner Greg Parker voted against Millikin’s amendment and Scheel abstained from all budget votes because he prepared and presented the proposed budget. Commissioners approved the 2006 budget by a 3-1 vote with Parker voting no. They are scheduled to set the 2006 tax rate Sept. 15, and will likely raise taxes 2 cents. “I don’t think this budget took care of our departments and took care of our employees,” Parker said. “I felt not only did our sheriff ’s department deserve a portion of the raises they asked for, I felt our employees deserved more.” Commissioners also decided all elected officials would get a 5 percent increase. In the initial budget Scheel proposed, commissioners were slated to receive See BUDGET, Page 3A Commissioner Greg Parker CISD budget will reduce tax rate briefly By Leigh Jones Staff Writer FOOTBALL FEVER Fans, coaches, players ready for season to kick off TEA chief predicts third special session for Legislature By Leigh Jones Staff Writer The Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce welcomed local educators back to school Thursday with a free lunch and encouragement from state education officials. Texas Education Agency Chief Deputy Commissioner Robert Scott, a Canyon High School graduate, told teachers and administrators from New Braunfels, Comal, Hays Consolidated, Marion, Navarro, San Marcos Consolidated, Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City and Seguin school districts every day was a good day to be in education. “Despite the current controversy over school finance," he added with a slight shake of his head. Although Roberts did not tell his audience anything they did not already know during his recap of the regular and special legislative sessions, he did leave them with the encouragement of expecting at least one more session before the year’s end. “We have an election cycle coming up, and none of the legislators want to go through that without LEARN MORE ■ Gov. Rick Perry recently mandated that 65 percent of all education funds be spent on classroom instruction. For a closer look, see Page 7A. getting anything else done,” he explained. Roberts, who serves as a senior adviser to Gov. Rick Perry on public education, also took some time to defend Perry’s recent mandate for districts to spend 65 percent of their budgets on classroom instruction. “I think its achievable by 2009," he said. “We have to figure out what constitutes classroom spending, but we should be able to do that in the coming weeks.” Roberts told superintendents they should look at the new mandate as protection against future mandates but did not explain what would prevent future legislators or governors from changing the rules again. I Ie did say the lawmakers needed to be careful not to unravel the entire system. See EDUCATION. Page 7A City grant to help elderly with home repairs By Leigh Jones Staff Writer Fhe city of New Braunfels soon will be able to assist 25 low-income and disabled elderly residents with much needed home repairs, thanks in part to a $317,909 state housing agency grant. The money, awarded by the Texas Department of I lousing and Community Affairs, will be added to hinds already received from the federal government and used for health and safety-related repairs for older homes within the city limits. Qty Community Development Block Grant Manager Nancy Davison said the funds were needed all over town. “ The need for this kind of help is huge here because we have an aging population on fixed incomes,” she said. “Many of the people we help live in 50-year-old homes that have been passed down for several generations. They really need fixing up." Projects will include expensive repairs the homeowners cannot afford themselv es — new roofs, window replacements and entire See GRANT, Page 3A By David Rupkalvis News Editor James Fran- i FRIDAY NIGHT klin is allergic j FEVER to grass but j ■ LaVernia at that won t j Canyon, 7:30 stop him from j Pm- today sidetracking I • Westwood at to the Smith- i Smithson Valley, * _ ^    *    7:30 p.m. today son Valley ; __ r- ,a i ■ New Braunfels practice field ; vs. Stephenv.lle, Friday night. j 7:30 p.m. Sat- To Franklin, I urday in Killeen football just isn t football without the smell of grass. Now that Smithson Valley plays its home games on artificial turf, Franklin puts his health at risk to truly embrace the game. When Smithson Valley kicks off the season Friday, it will end a nine-month wait for fans of the Rangers. It will also mark the beginning of a Texas ritual — thousands of fans gathering under the Friday night lights to watch boys working to become men. “If you’re an ex-football player, the opening game means an awful lot,” Franklin said. “When it comes around to the fall, it s the best time. It’s the smell of the grass, its the smell of football. It’s putting on the pads and hitting again.” Franklin played football at Alamo Heights and Baylor, dealing with his allergies each fall. The 2005 football season promises to be exciting with Smithson Valley looking to continue a run of excellence, Canyon seeking redemption and New Braunfels beginning a new chapter on the gridiron. Paul Finley never played foot- Comal Independent School District trustees approved an $87 million budget for the 2005-06 school year Thursday and set the tax rate at $1.80 per $100 valuation. No district patrons participated in the public hearing required by law before trustees took their vote. Trustee Rose Cervin was the only board member to vote against both the budget and the tax rate. Tile budget includes a $6.2 million recapture payment under the state’s current school finance plan, which calls for wealthier districts to give money for redistribution to poorer districts. Despite the “Robin Hood" payment and increases in staffing to accommodate roughly 800 more students than the district had in its classrooms last year, administrators also were able to increase the See REDUCE, Page 7A Volleyfest NB and Canyon volleyball teams host Fraulein Volleyfest this weekend. Four-year-old Cierra Martinez dances to the New Braunfels drumline during Meet the Unicorns night at the Civic Center Wednesday. With football opening tonight, the teams, cheerleaders, dancers and marching band are working to prepare. Below, Canyon High School Aristocat Kristen Welty performs during a scrimmage last Friday. ball, spending his Friday nights in high school in the marching band. But he, too, can’t wait for the season to kick off. As a New Braunfels fan, Finley will have to wait to see the Unicorns, they open the season on the road Saturday. But that doesn’t curtail his excitement about the start of a new season. “It s a culmination of planning and hard work," Finley said. “It’s great to see the kids back in school and doing what kids love to do, and that’s participate in athletics. I think this time of the year gets people excited with the anticipation of a new year.” As a high school student, Finley See FOOTBALL, Page 8A    david    Ingram    /Herald-Zeitung r\    i    r'    k~\    I    Downstairs    in    theii ii i ii 11 ii I ii 11 ii I ii I The uPtown Piano Bar is the Romantic place Pnnce SOims mn 11 II I ll MJI J:    1    JI    I    JI    I    for Birthday Parties and Anniversaries    2'Iso <S) :eoo’° ;