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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 20, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas NEW PELS HER ALDZEl 10 NG Vol 149 No 35 14 pages in 2 sections January 20 2000 TQ npv A Serving Gomal County since 1852 50 cents Smith offers congressional sneak peek HEATHER Republican Congressman Lamar Smith addresses the New Braunfels Rotary Club on Wednesday BY HEATHER TODO Staff Writer Social Security and Medicare reform and tax relief including pos sible reduction of the marriage penal ty tax will be top issues facing the 106th Congress this year Republican Congressman Lamar Smith told mem bers of the New Braunfels Rotary Club Wednesday Smith who represents the 21st dis trict in the House of Representatives addressed upcoming legislative issues and the national political horizon at a Rotary Club meeting at the Comal County Senior Citizen Center Smith said the upcoming year would be colored by presidential politics and he left little doubt who he saw sitting in the White House after the Nov 2 elec tion I view in the horizon Gov George Bush will be the Republican fron trunner and Vice President Al Gore will be the Democratic frontrunner and I think Bush will he said Smith said the 106th Congress had several tough issues to tackle this year but he said the 2000 presidential race probably would stall action on some legislation until after the election The first major vote we will take in early February in a series of three votes will be tax Smith said Smith said tax relief legislation could include a reduction or even a repeal of the marriage penalty tax Its a tax that affects 26 million cou ples who pay an average more for filing a joint rather than a single he said Smiths said Republicans viewed the marriage penalty tax as a tax on fam ilies and family Its the wrong tax on the wrong people at the wrong he said Smith said although the national economy was strong Americans were paying 39 cents on the dollar in state local and federal taxes Thats a record Smith said Smith said he wanted to use part of the nations surplus to refund taxpayers who paid too much in taxes Smith also said the 106th Congress would need to address Social Security and Medicare reform To save Social Security for future generations is going to require real structural he said Contract process draws criticism BY HEATHER TODD Staff Writer Several Comal school district trustees said Wednesday their votes against extending Superin tendent Jerry Majors threeyear contract had more to do with the contract process rather than job performance Trustees vot ed 43 Tuesday night to extend Majors con tract through June Trustees Dora Gonzales Lester W Jonas and John Ber MAJOR telsen voted against extend ing Majors contract another year Trustees Dan Krueger John Clay Robert Loop and Nick Nichols approved the extension In a meeting Tuesday night New Braunfels Independent School District trustees approved extending Superintendent Ron Reaves contract through 2003 in a unanimous vote Trustee Don Bedford was absent The majority of school district superintendents in Texas including Major and Reaves are hired under threeyear contracts By state law school districts cannot exceed a fiveyear contract Trustees normally evaluate the superintendents contract each year to determine whether it should be extended another year If trustees voted down the one year extension both Major and Reaves would have current con tracts with their respective districts through 2002 Major was hired by CISD in July 1993 His annual salary is Reaves was hired by NBISD in May 1997 His annual salary is In January 1999 CISD trustees approved extending Majors con tract through June 2002 in a 312 vote Jonas voted against the extension and Gonzales and Loop abstained Trustee Doug Nail was absent Tuesday nights board vote came after a fourhour discussion in closed session Gonzales and Bertelsen said their votes were not an attack on but reflected some concerns they had with contracts 0onzaJes said My decision was not based on Majors perfor See Greased lightning Smithson Valley High School presents Grease at 7 today through Saturday and Jan 2729 Admission is for adults and for children 12 and younger Right The cast of presented by the Canyon High School Little Theatre Company rehearses for Fridays opening performance The performances are scheduled for 7 Friday and Saturday and 2 Sunday in Canyon High Schools new commons Tickets are for adults and for students children and senior citizens K JESSIE Fuel spill threatens water supply Chamber looks back on 99 FROM STAFF REPORTS Times running out for residents to buy tickets to the 81st Annual Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce Meeting and Banquet Friday at the New Braunfels Civic Center 390 Avenue The banquet which traditionally is a sellout event will begin at and promises to be an entertainmentpacked program chamber president Michael Meek said The video presentations will include the 1999 YearinReview and two other videos from Dell and the Texas Association of Business Meek said A highlight of the banquet will be the announce ment of the Besserung Award presented to an individual selected as the citizen of the year The banquet also a chamber mixer will include a buffet dinner that begins at and will be catered by local Clear Springs Catering Meek said Tickets to the banquet cost and can be bought at the chamber 390 S Seguin Avenue or by telephone at 6252385 BY ERIN MAGRUOER AND PERI STONEPALMQUIST Staff Writers A fuel spill reported Tuesday in the Solms area near Krueger Canyon and Comal Springs might have leaked as much as gallons of diesel fuel over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone Officials werent sure if the spill had been contained or had spread If it spreads the spill could cont aminate nearby wells and the Edwards Aquifer The aquifer sup plies water for cities including New Braunfels San Antonio and San Marcos The spill three and a half miles from Comal Springs and onehalf mile inside the recharge zone occurred sometime between Jan 14 and Tuesday at Dino Novel an explosives manufacturing company at 1758 Krueger Canyon Contractors for Dino Novel knocked open a valve on an to gallon aboveground diesel fuel tank causing the fuel to seep into the ground below officials said The valve was only partially open The incident was not part of our daily David Mims of Dino Novel said This occurred while we had contractors doing some concrete work when a valve was accidentally turned Mims said a preliminary estimate of the amount of fuel spilled was probably closer to 800 gallons but Edwards Aquifer Authority officials said the amount could be as much as gallons The spill is under investigation by the Texas Natural Resource Con servation Commission who arrived Tuesday afternoon after notification from Dino Novel Officials from Edwards Aquifer Authority also WHATS UP Residents experiencing unusual odors or odd tastes with their water can call EAA at 800 2991047 arrived Tuesday afternoon to offer technical support This is obviously something we are very interested in and we warit to do everything we can to EAA general manager Greg Ellis said A hydrologist with EAA is testing water at Comal Springs and New Braunfels Utilities crews are observ ing and testing the utilitys well near est the spill about three miles away If any diesel fuel is detected NBU would pump off the contaminants and begin testing other wells NBU spokeswoman Gretchen Reuwer said Diesel is lighter than she said so it floats on Reuwer said NBU was taking the spill seriously but would be more concerned if the spill had happened closer to any NBU well sites Ellis said the spill occurred in the aquifers recharge zone and had seeped into the aquifers rock But no fuel had been detected in the water as of press time Ellis said TNRCC is working with Dino Novel to determine whether the spill is contained and oversee a quick cleanup process EAA spokeswoman Margaret Garcia said crews could work on cleaning up the site well into the night Wednesday INSIDE Archives Key code 76 NBISD moves ahead with bond projects BY HEATHER TODD Staff Writer New Braunfels Independent School District trustees approved a resolution Tuesday calling for the sale of million Unlimited Tax School Building bonds to pave the way for the begin ning of work on a million bond project NBISD voters approved a bond referendum Oct 2 to fund among other things expansions and improvements at all 15 campuses in the dis trict Reaves said the first sale would be devoted to projects at New Braunfels High School Lamar Primary the Learning Center and the central kitchen and maintenance facilities The districts main concern was to stay within a debt service rate not to exceed cents which was the amount outlined in bond referendum presentations to the Ron Reaves superintendent David Rastellini business manager for NBISD said the district had expected to sell million in bonds but because of current market conditions the first sale would total million Reaves said The districts main concern was to stay within a debt service rate not to exceed cents which was the amount out lined in bond referendum presentations to the If NBISD had sold the bonds at mil lion the debt service rate would have increased three cents or a total of cents The district plans to sell the bonds in three rounds beginning in 2000 and ending in 2003 The million in bonds will be paid by 2023 Trustees also unanimously approved a rec ommendation from trustee Jim Callahan to change to a partially selfinsured employee insurance plan for the 20002001 school year ;