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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 13, 1996, New Braunfels, Texas TUESDAY 0m Rangers, Unicorns battle for final playoff spot tonight. See Page 5. 50 CENTSNew Braunfels Churchill School Herald 8 pages in one section ■ Tuesday, February 13,1996 / 9 9 r    MO I 6 ^    ,^7    TSHXHO 410    miCROPUBUI^ SO-WESI    F,    L    UR 2627 E 'rAM»El-u 0 TX 7 99 O'"1"" Serving Comal County and surrounding areas for more ET- * ^ ...MOI its SCHMIDT 17© ng Vol. 144, No. 66.       I..-. Inside Comics ...............................3 Editorial...........................................4 Sports..................................... 5 Market Place...............................6-8 StTmmMsch Birthday wishes from I the Herakl-Zeituvtg! The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung extends birthday wishes to: Maurice 'Tipper' Lewis 111, Merle Sarvey, Les Schmidt, Dee Ann Cornelius, Randi Hummed (belat-| ed), Stanley Hummel, Irma Arcile, Carold Cochran and Kevin Randle. Pollen Count Mold —810 Cedar—160 (Pollen measured in parts per cubic meter of air. Readings taken yesterday. Information provided by Dr. Frank Hampel.) River Information Comal River — 266 cubic feet per second, down 8 from yesterday. Edwards Aquifer Panther Canyon Well — 624.72 feet above sea level, down .04. Main Street puts on seminars The New Braunfels Main Street Design Committee will host a seminar on 'Advertising/Marketing Your Business' tonight. Other upcoming seminars include 'Signage in Keeping with Concept and Building' Feb. 27; and 'Good Merchandising - Great and Easy Window Displays' March 12. Each of the free seminars begin^at 6:J.5 p.m. at City Hall in the Municipal Courtroom, 424 S. Casten'Ave.' Bring a brown bag dinner. Beverages and dessert will be provided. Cinene FACE to meet The Gruene Family and . Community Education Club will meet Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. at the Extension Meeting Room for a Valentine program. For more information, call the Extension office at 620-3440. HOPE to hold workshop The Hispanic Organization for Public Education is sponsoring a workshop Monday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at the NBNB Building, 1000 N. Walnut. The topic will be: Everything You Wated To Know About The Gifted and Talented Program. Speaker will be Marilyn McFarland, gifted and talented consultant, Region XIII. Also available to answer ques tions, will be local school district officials. For information, call Sylvia at 625-9213. After hours mixer tonight Greater Hispanic Chamber of Commerce after hours mixer wiH £>e held at the Badian Tillage, Feb*"l3, 5:30 p.m. to I p.m. The cost is $5 Clarification The last line of type in the Sunday, Feb 12, page 1 article about Jan Kennady's announcement that she will run for mayor was inadvertantly omitted. The story should have read, “lf I am elected mayor, I promise to follow that plan precisely." Saturday night's Lotto Texas numbers The winning numbers Lotto Texas 13,18, 26,31, 34,45 Est $4 million jackpot —TEIRS— LOTTERY City approves higher water, sewer rates By SUSAN FLYNT ENGLAND Staff Writer The city council gave the nod last night for New Braunfels Utilities to increase water and sewer rates. Mayor Paul E. Fraser Jr. cast the only dissenting vote. NBU’s water and sewer services have been in the red for several years, said Guadalupe Castillo, NBU president. The electric service has in effect been subsidizing water and sewer. “I think it’s time that we corrected that,” he said. “We’re asking you now to help make the water and sewer a viable concern.” Under the plan approved last night, the rates would increase in two steps: step one — 5.75 percent water increase and 4.25 percent sewer increase on April 1, 1996; step two — 5 percent water increase and 4 percent sewer increase on Oct. 1, 1996. NBU trustees presented five alternate scenarios for five-year plan funding to the city council in November. The scenario most popular with council members combined $3.3 million in bonds with rate increases. “We should not subsidize a resource that is scarce,” said Councilman Ray Schoch, “and water is scare.” Fraser, who sits on the NBU Board of Trustees, has said that NBU’s five year plan for capital construction projects is more ambitious than it needs to be. “A utility cannot react,” said Paula DiFonzo, NBU general manager. “We must plan for growth — we cannot extend service to one customer at a time, or we would be building and tearing down constantly.” Fraser said he would like to see a “cost of service” analysis completed before the rates are restructured. “And we have the Canyon Dam power station that is losing money,” he said. “If anybody has any better idea of how to do it, I’d love to hear it,” said Councilwoman Jan Kennady. The city council will meet again Thursday at 6:15 p.m. to consider approving NBU to issue revenue bonds. Council members will also vote for the second of three times on the water and sewer rates. New Braunfels Utilities Proposed Increases Residential Water Rates Usage in Gallons Minimum Existing Rate Proposed Rate for April 1 - Oct 1, 1996 Proposed Rate after Oct 1, 1996 0 - 5,000 $ 7.50 $ .92 $ 1.02 $ 1.10 5,001 - 15,000 8.80 .95 1.05 1.13 15,001 - 25,000 9.75 .96 1.06 1.14 25,001 - 50,000 11.50 .98 1.08 1.16 50,001 - 100,000 13.00 1.00 1.10 1.18 Excess of 100,000 18.00 1.04 1.14 1.22 Residential Sewer Rates Existing Rate Proposed Rate for April 1 -Oct1, 1996 Proposed Rate after Oct 1, 1996 Minimum Monthly Charge $ 8.50 $ 8.50 $ 8.50 Rate per 1,000 gallons 1.87 2.01 2.14 Maximum Monthly Charge 30.00 30.00 30.00 Rates are per 1,000 yallons Sewer rates are based on the three months of the year with the lowest usage Rates must be voted on two more times at future city council meetings Next meeting is Thursday at 6:15 p.m. Herald-Zeitung graphic PEC customer base grew by six percent last year By DAVID DEKUNDER Staff Writer Herald-Zeitung photo by MICHAEL DARNALL Bam bums A barn at 550 N. Krueger went up like a torch late yesterday morning, but New Braunfels firefighters kept the blaze from spreading. Wind played a large part in the rapid spread of the fire, said Battalion Chief John Harbor. The bam itself was owned by Walter Sippet, but the 300 to 400 bales of hay belonged to Ronnie Schmidt, according to New Braunfels Fire Department records. The fire was under control within 20 to 30 minutes of the 11:12 a.m. call, but firefighters worked several more hours to put out every ember. Schmidt helped greatly, Berber said, by pulling apart smoldering hay bales with his tractor. Increased growth in the Austin and the Canyon Lake areas meant more customers for the Pedernales Electric Cooperative in 1995. a cooperative spokeswoman said. “People are coming to the Hill Country because it is an attractive place to live,” PEC spokeswoman Robbie Searcy said. The Johnson City-based cooperative covers a 13-county service area in the Hill Country and Central Texas, which includes Canyon Lake. PEC has KK).(KK) members, with 12,739 in Comal County. In 1995, nearly 6,300 members in the Hill Country were hooked up to PEC. PEC serves businesses and residential areas, w ith 85 percent of its business sen mg residential areas. Searcy said. Tile new 1995 customers represented a six percent increase from 1994 and an increase of more than 20 percent over three years. Over a two year penod from Jan. 94, the Canyon Lake area showed an increase of ‘People are coming to the Hill Country because it is an attractive place to live.’ — Robbie Searcy 14.7 percent compared to the rest of the PEC service area which increased by 13.5 percent. Searcy said. Searcy said PEC has been prepared to meet the growth by upgrading facilities. “For several years, we have been converting our transmission lines to higher voltages from 69 kilovolts to 138 kilovolts to meet the increase demands," Searcy said. “We have been looking at our transmission facilities and-seeing how we can hest get the power to our customers.” To meet the foreseen growth, PEC raised its rates in December 1994, w hich was the cooperative's first rate increase in 11 years, Searcy said. "We were not try ing to catch up but to he prepared to meet the anticipated growth to make our facilities ready.” Projections show springs in trouble if dry spell continues By SUSAN FLYNT ENGLAND Staff Writer The Comal Springs could dry up by August 1997 if drought conditions continue for the next two years. That’s the “worst case scenario” from the Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center (EARDC) at Southwest Texas State University. The regional supply could drop significantly in the near future even in less severe conditions, say study results released by the EARDC' Friday. Area residents should be concerned, said Glenn Longley, EARDC' director. “We’ve used pumping and recharge data from the penods of 1984-85, 1988-89 and 1955-56,” Longley said. “Of course, we have more people in the region and more pumping from the Edwards Aquifer than we had during any of those penods, so well levels and spnng flows eould diminish even more rapidly than the model indicates.” The EARDC model shows the Comal Spnngs could go dry by August 1997 if conditions in 1996-97 mimic those of 1955-56, the last two years of a severe 10-year drought. The Comal Springs did stop flowing for two months in the summer of 1956. Spnng flow at the headwaters of the San Marcos River could fall from the current rate of about 165 cubic feet per second to about 30 cfs by the end of 1997. Well levels around the region could fall from as much as 30 feet in Uvalde to nearly IOO feet in Sabinal. Low spring flow triggers Stage I of conservation plan By DENISE DZIUK Staff Writer San Antonio well levels would fall 60 feet, according to the model. If weather conditions are more like those in 1988-89, a less severe drought year, current levels still show the Comal Spnngs drying up by October 1997, the EARDC study shows. Started in 1979 at Southwest Texas State University, the EARDC' studies the Edwards Aquifer, which it call a “unique, world-renowned karst aquifer made up of porous, permeable limestone.” EARDC' scientist Misai Wanakule developed complex models for pre dicting aquifer and spring conditions that use the huge variety of conditions that contribute to aquifer levels. The LARIX collects and shares geographical, biological, weather, water resource, geological and socio-economic facts relating to the aquifer. The center offers a variety of services, including lab services for water analysis. NBU officials said Tuesday that they projected water usage at about 6 million gallons of water per day for February, but acutal usage is over 7 million gallons per day. People relying on water from the Edwards Aquifer are being asked to practice voluntary conservation already, and officials say this is the earliest the measure has been put into place since the inception of the plan seven years ago. The aquifer's recharge zone has not had measurable rain for more than 40 days. On Monday, the Edwards Underground Water District declared Stage I of its Demand Management Plan. This voluntary reduction stage is implemented when spring flow rates at Comal Springs reach 250 cubic feet per second. The reduction goal al this stage of the plan is IO percent. “I think that as we move through tune, (Comal Springs) is a more stable indicator,” said Rick lllgner, general manager for the District. “The plan is aimed at protecting spring flow. so it’s fitting to use spring flow as the trigger Rainfall for the Edwards Aquifer region was five inches below normal last year, lllgner said January is typically a dry month, bul Januar> 10% was the driest on record. These dry conditions have prompted the earliest declaration of the UMP by the District since the plan w as put into effect in 1989. lllgner said last year was the first time stage I of the DMP was declared, and that occurred in August. He said during that time, reduction actually surpassed the IO percent goal, and the second stage was not needed. However, he said there is no guarantee that the second stage, which is mandatory reduction. w ill not Iv needed this year. He said the area typically gets most of its rain from March to August, and only time will tell if further reductions w ill be needed. “We’re concerned, but we’re not in a panic,” said lllgner “We think people just need to be responsible, and people need to be careful.” It spring flow continues to drop and falls to 225 cfs, mandatory reductions will he put in place. Stage ll has a 15 percent reduction goal when the spring flow is 225 cfs. lllgner said this will directly effect th ose w ho supply or produce 18 million gallons of groundwater per year He said users will be given a “target base line” to meet during this stage, and must cut usage “We re going to give them a target base line. We’re not going to just tell them to reduce usage by IO percent. They’ll know how much they can use,” he said. lf spring flow drops to 175 cfs, stage III will be declared, with a 20 percent reduction goal Stage IV begins when spnng flow falls to 150 cfs, and has a 30 percent goal. lf water levels continue to drop, there is an extreme water emergency stage. This stage is declared if there is an "immediate threat” to water resources or human health.Cramm    would do well to focus on his senate race. See Opinion. Page 4A.   ....    .. . —  .  — - -   —      - —  - ;