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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 23, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas New FELS ") o 2 3 2 M 0 0^ / ^''/ ^ p.. . p ":. V ir CT M T C RO PU BL I LH ING BO-WES I Hi 2b 21 YOH DP n P “W* T    F~~M    PRS0'TX 79903'Herald-Zeitung ■■■■■ Vol. 149, No. 47 40 pages in sS sections January 23, 2000 ^ UI^I3AY ^erv*n& Comal County since 1852 $1.00 To light or not to light: Council decides Monday night Debate over River of Lights comes down to vote By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff Writer New Braunfels has spent more than $600,000 in bed tax money in the past three years to fund the Holiday River of Lights — an expenditure some say violates state law. But city off icials maintain the 52-day light display is a perfect ly legitimate project for bed tax money to fund. City council will decide Monday whether to continue spending the dedicated tax on this project. The three-year contract approved by council in 1907 has expired. Council also will discuss whether to use hotel tax money to build and maintain a convention center — a proposal backed by the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Inc. Hotel/motel tax, by state law, is a dedicated tax that can be spent in limited ways. Scott Joslove, chief of municipal affairs for the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, said hotel tax revenue must “directly enhance and promote tourism and the convention and tourism industry” It must attract visitors from outside the city into the city or its vicinity, he said. The law does not require that those visitors spend the night. Expenditures funded through bed tax revenue must fit into five categories outlined in the state’s tax code. These include: • Funding the establishment, improvement or maintenance of a convention center or visitor information center; • Paying the administrative costs for facilitating convention registration; • Paying for tourism-related advertising and promotions of the city or its vicinity; • Funding programs that enhance the arts; andSee LIGHTS/5ACouncil Meeting ■ WHAT: New Braunfels City Council ■ WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Monday■ WHERE: city municipa building, 424 S. Casted Ave. Inside ► Anchors aweigh New Braunfels mayor Stoney Williams was on hand Friday to help open a Navy recruitment center./4B ► Next victim NBHS became the latest in 14-5A to fall to Austin Crockett./! C ► Tear-jerker ""Angela’s Ashes,” a new film •.based on a best-selling novel, fails to impress resident movie critic Roy Hargrove./5C Weather For the complete forecast, : see Page 2A. I *    fIndex t Abby.............................................2C I Business................................5B-6B I Classified................................1-1    OD j Crossword....................................2C \ Forum  .....................................6A ; Local/Metro...................................4A I Movies..........................................2C Obituaries.................................3A Sports....................................1-3B ► Today............................................2A; Television............................Montage Key cod* 77 K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Comal County engineer Tom Hornseth walks through the new jail. County penalizes jail contractor By Erin Magruder Staff Writer Weary from repeated delays on the Comal County Jail expansion, commissioners said Friday they would start penalizing contractor Stoddard Construction for missed deadlines. The county will impose a $1,000 per day charge for liquidation damages until two sections of the jail are completed and ready for occupancy, Comal County Judge Danny Scheel said. The penalty period began Friday, after the San Antonio-based Stod dard failed to meet the latest deadline for completion of the 30,000-square-foot housing addition. “I think (penalizing Stoddard) is the right thing to do,” Comal County Sheriff Bob Holder said. “I think we have been patient, and now it is time for accountability.” Stoddard Vice President Secretary R.K. Stoddard said to the best of his knowledge, the company had completed all of the requirements stated in the contract. “We had to get extensions on the contract for unforeseen reasons,” Stoddard said. “The county has been fair with us so far, and I am sure they will continue to be,” Stoddard said. County engineer Tom Hornseth said Stoddard had completed most of the contract requirements, except for a few small details and a deficiency with the smoke alarm system. The $4.5 million jail expansion and renovation initially was scheduled for completion Sept. 2, but the county extended the contract deadline by 102 days. Hornseth said that was more than See JAIL/5 A Council mulls bond numbers By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff writer New Braunfels City Council did a lot of listening Saturday. It met for more than three hours for yet another bond election discussion — this time to hear various cost estimates for an indoor pool, a gymnasium and athletic fields. Council hopes to have a bond issue before voters in May. The proposed bond list currently totals about $38.6 million and could more than double the tax rate, but several members of council have said they want to pare down that list. Council has until Feb. 14 to finalize the bond package in time for a May election. At Saturday’s meeting, the nonprofit New Braunfels Youth Sports, the driving force behind the sports complex bond issue, formally presented their cost estimates. For weeks, NBYS representatives have said council’s estimates were too high. The city has put the project at $ 12 million, which, if approved, would raise the 31 -cent per $ I OO valuation tax rate 7.79 cents in the next four years. NBYS officials said the project — including the pool, gymnasium and fields — would cost $9.7 million and raise the tax rate 6.29 cents. NBYS representative David Feltmann said this would raise taxes about $63 a year or about $5 a month for a resident owning a home with a taxable value of $100,000. “You want a kid to keep so busy he doesn’t have any time to get into trouble,” he told council. “You can get all of that (pool, gymnasium and fields) for $63 a year. Is that too much to ask'? That’s for the taxpayers to decide.” NBYS used O’Neill Conrad Oppelt Architects, Inc. and Rehler Vaughn & Koone, Inc. Architects to come up with their estimates. New Braunfels Parks and Recreation director Iris Neftendorf said that the city’s numbers were different because city staff made different assumptions. For instance, the city recommended an indoor recreation center be a minimum of 50,000 square feet. NBYS made estimates based on a 20,000 square foot gym. By press time, council had taken no action. But it plans to continue the bond discussion at Monday’s 6:30 p.m. meeting. All council members were present for the meeting, but Mayor Stoney Williams left in the middle because of a family emergency. Partnering Up By Christina Minor Staff writer The Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce wants “to be your partner in the new millennium” That was the theme of tile chamber s 81 st annual banquet and meeting that took place Friday night at the New Braunfels Civic Center. Out-going board of directors chair J. Lynn Davis said was an active year for the Chamber of Commerce. The 2000 board of directors chair said that the new millennium offers many opportunities for growth in New Braunfels. Attendees of the banquet were treated to food, music and a 1999 in review video presentation, as well as the presentation of awards to members of the community who have shown community spirit and a desire for betterment of New Braunfels. Six New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce Blue Coats who earned their individual life membership in die chamber were Marian Benson, Roger Biggers, Bobbie I Insert, Daryl I lig-gins, Pain Kraft and David Pfeuffer. The chamber also presented The Chair of the Board award to three community members w ho have made a significant contribution to the community through voluntary service. Susie Garcia and Larry Phelps were honored in die field of community service, and Rita Kaufmann was honored in tlx.* field of youth development. Rockin’ R River Rides owner Zero Rivers was awarded the Chair of the Board award for tourism development. K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Iris Schumann, far right, grasps the plaque she won Friday for the Besserung Award at the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Inc. Banquet and Annual Meeting. Below, 1999 chamber board chair, J. Lynn Davis, right, passes the gavel to 2000 chamber board chair, Dennis Heitkamp. Only five other community members have received an award for tourism development in the past 32 years. Recipients of the Hall of Honor award were Linden Andetson, Dennis Heitkamp and Mary Ann Hollmig. The recipients are all active members in the community, participating in several organizations, including the Wurstfest Association and Conservation Society. The coveted aw ard of the evening, the Besserung Award, was presented to Iris Schumann tor her dedicated work for the betterment of New Braunfels. Schumann was a 1994 Hall of Honor award winner and a 1985 Chair of the Board aw ard winner. Each award recipient was honored because of their ongoing efforts to support the community. “This is a fast-paced world of computers,” Heitkamp said. “We are going to need all the help we can get to maintain and improve our community. It takes you to do that.” ;