New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 15, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas
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pf^O -Herald-ZeitungVol. 149 No. 63 14 pages in 2 sections February 15, 2000 rnp Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents
Two legends lost
Former Cowboys players and the City of Dallas will co-host a public tribute to former Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas./3B World mourns loss of “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz./3B
Council freezes bed tax funds for two years
By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff Writer
No project will get the city of New Braunfels’ share of bed tax money for at least two years — not the Holiday River of Lights, a convention center or historic downtown — unless a petition drive goes forward as planned.
New Braunfels City Council voted Monday to “freeze” about 20 percent of revenue made from its 7 percent hotel/motel tax for two years — a decision that could be changed by council at any time or nullified by a petition initiative.
According to the plan, presented by District 2 councilman Larry Alexander, council will save between $1 and $2 million, depending on the growth rate of the tax, and decide in 2002 how it should be spent.
“We don’t want to rush into anything,” Alexander said.
Instead, the city should appoint a task force to study the issue indepth, he said.
This freeze will give all interested groups time to come up with proposals on how to spend the money, District 5 councilman Lee Rodriguez said.
“But we need the money now,” District 6 councilwoman Juliet Watson said. “Have you been downtown?”
Downtown business owner Paul Martinka said downtown definitely needed help.
“But I don’t just want to see money thrown at downtown,” he said.
Jay Rogers, downtown association president, said the associa
tion was working on several proposals on how to use bed tax money.
“I’d rather see it spent wisely in two years, than all in a chunk right now,” he said. “We’d like a fair shot at it.”
Watson said she’d prefer to freeze the money for a year.
Tile vote is not binding, Mayor Stoney Williams said. If a “worthy project” came along, council could “unfreeze” the money, he said.
The vote also could be nullified if residents go forward with a petition initiative.
A petition now being circulated asks the city to spend a minimum of 30.714 percent of its bed tax revenue for maintenance and improvement of the civic center, historical restoration and preservation projects, arts and/or city-operated promotional programs allowed by state law.
The Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Inc. and others in the visitor industry have proposed saving a portion of that money for two years to help Hind a down payment for a $6 million convention center.
Petition oiganizer Betty Dunkin said petition supporters would go forward with the initiative.
“In two years, I’m afraid downtown will be dead,” she said. “We need the money now. We want it to be available for downtown in the next two years.”
Chamber president Michael Meek said Dunkin was tying the hands of future councils with the petition, which must be considered by council once 1,000 votes — or 30 percent of registered voters who voted in the last general election — are submitted.
If 1,000 signatures of registered voters are rounded up, council either could approve the
See BED TAX/5A
Resident reflects on black history in NB
By Christina Minor
New Braunfels resident Margaret Adams, 79, has lived through a world filled with love and hate.
As a child growing up in a small house on Austin Street in New Braunfels, Adams knew there were certain places she wasn’t allowed to
“My sister and I played with a Spanish girl and two German girls,” she said. “I remember they could always go to Landa Park, but my sister and I couldn’t. We never went to the (Dittlinger Memorial) library
because we weren’t allowed on that side of town. I used to play with friends but was never allowed to go to their house.
“I was always told not to go out at night. I didn’t know why, but I was always afraid to go out at night. I came to the conclusion that some people in the town were awful and mean I didn’t know why things were the way they were. I just thought that was the way it was supposed to be.”
Adams, who was raised by her grandparents Bob (Yell) and Texana Wilson, attended a small school near Seguin Avenue. After spending many
years studying from hand-me-down textbooks and teaching herself how to read, Adams graduated from a non-accredited school in the 11th grade.
While attending school, Adams would walk several miles to and from school every day. But along the way, she made some special friends.
“In those days blacks weren’t allowed on the Plaza,” she said. “But we used to sneak down there and use the only public bathroom in the ice cream store (at Seguin Avenue and Main Plaza). Mrs. Wiederman would See HISTORY/5AInside
Key Code 76
- v '• AMANDA BECK/Herald-Zeitung
New Braunfels city council chambers filled quickly Monday evening as council members were scheduled to address issues ranging from the May bond issue to the Holiday River of Lights.
Walnut expansion pulled out as separate issue on ballot
By Peri Stone-Palmquist
New Braunfels City Council agreed Monday to allow residents to vote on the Walnut Avenue expansion as a separate proposition on the bond ballot.
Whether council would test alternatives to this proposal before the May 6 election, as several residents suggested, is unclear.
Council also unanimously approved seven bond propositions, which total $34.4 million and could, if approved May 6, more than double the city tax rate.
District 3 councilman Randy Vanstory, who made the motion in January to lump Walnut with a general street and drainage proposition, was absent.
Resident Carolyn Burrow said, “I approve of the amendment (to keep Walnut a separate issue). But council also should take action on an alternative so people can make an informed vote in May.”
Burrow and others suggested council try making Walnut and Hickory
one-way going opposite directions.
The bond plan would have the city would buy 33 properties on the south side of Walnut for the expansion, allowing room for four lanes and one continuous turn lane.
“In order for people to really know what they want, they need to try the two one-way streets,” Burrow said.
Because the item was not on the agenda, council could take no action on the suggestion. No one asked at the meeting for the item to appear on the next meeting’s agenda.
Since January, a group of residents have been circulating a petition — presented to council Monday — asking the city to conduct a public forum and introduce three alternative plans for Walnut.
If the forum can’t be conducted, the petition asked council to separate the Walnut proposition from the $18.5 million proposition and let residents vote on it separately.
Critics argued Walnut would doom the rest of the proposition, or eat up money for the other much-needed See BALLOT/5A
On the Ballot
Proposition No. 1
‘The issuance of $11,000,000 of general obligation bonds to construct street improvements, including drainage incidental thereto, and the acquisition of land and rights-of-way.”
Proposition No. 2
‘The issuance of $700,000 of general obligation bonds for the acquisition and installation of a communication system for the police and fire department with the expansion capacity of serving all city communication needs.” Proposition No. 3 The issuance of $2,500,000 of general obligation bonds for the acquisition of real property and construction of a new fire station facility and the remodeling of existing fire stations, including the purchase of equipment therefore.” Proposition No. 4 The issuance of $1,140,000 of general obligation bonds for park improvements to include construction and renovations to restroom facilities and the purchase of playground equipment for existing city parks.”
Proposition No. 5 The issuance of $2,630,000 of general obligation bonds for a sports complex, to include the construction of athletic fields, the purchase of related equipment and for the acquisition and/or lease of real property for this sports complex.”
Proposition No. 6
The issuance of $7,250,000 of general obligation bonds for an activity center, to include the construction and the purchase of equipment related thereto and for the acquisition and/or lease of real property for this activity center." Proposition No. 7 Added Monday: $7.5 million for Walnut Avenue expansion
City voting on
$34.4 million issue on May 6
New Braunfels resident Margaret Adams remembers good times and bad growing up in New Braunfels.
K. JESSIE SLATEN/