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View Sample Pages : New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, January 26, 2000

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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 26, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas r F YR HERALDZEi TUNG Vol 149 No 49 16 pgs in 2 sections January 26 2000 WEDNESDAY Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents Council renews chamber contract despite criticism BY PERI STONEPALMQUIST Staff Writer Not everyone was pleased Monday to see the city of New Braunfels extend its contract with the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce Inc for another three years The city contracts the chambers services for tourism promotion and in exchange gives the chamber a portion of the much soughtafter tax revenue At Mondays meet ing some said the chamber had run this city too long and other companies should be allowed to bid for the chance to promote this area Chamber officials WATSON MEEK argued they did the job the best The chambers previ ous contract would have expired Dec 31 2001 but was extended Mon day until Dec The new contract changes the percentage of bed tax money the chamber receives Instead of getting with a prede termined cap the chamber will get 55 per cent with no cap With the cap the chamber typically has gotten about 60 percent of revenue made from the citys 7 percent tax a protected tax with limited uses In 2000 it would have received no more than and in 2001 no more than Depending on the growth of the tax the chamber could lose between and in the next two years with its new contract If the bed tax grows at 13 percent the rate it averaged for the 1990s then the chamber would lose about the first year but receive more the second year The bed tax revenue freed up with the See Hotel deal moves forward LCRA Morgan Hill reach pact for destination hotel project BY PERI STONEPALMQUIST Staff Writer A million plan to turn the old Comal Pow er Plant into a destination hotel is moving full steam ahead The Lower Colorado River Authority board of directors recently approved an agreement with Morgan Hill Interests of Houston to redevelop the plant which closed in 1972 LCRA has owned the plant since 1947 and would lease the land in a longterm agreement getting a percentage of any revenue generated The boards Jan 19 decision allows LCRA and Morgan Hill to start working on several details necessary before a lease can be signed LCRA senior project manager Jeffrey Singleton said Morgan Hill must pursue and secure financing and work on the complex permitting process We LCRA need to get the plant listed on the national register of historic he said These types of tasks are defined in the pre development agreement and must be completed within 24 months It could take a year we dont Singleton said Once completed LCRA and Morgan Hill would finalize the lease he said And then a con tractor could move onto the site and start renova tion for the hotel The plant built in 1926 has been undergoing environmental cleanup and improvements since 1997 This cleanup work should be done by June Singleton said If the plan with Morgan Hill is successful the plant will be transformed into a hotel complex with restaurants and conference space at the 23 acre site Were quite optimistic it will get Sin gleton said LCRA is a conservation and reclamation dis trict that generates electricity manages the waters of the Colorado River operates parks and assists communities in economic development K JESSIE Contractors continue restoring the exterior of the old Comal Power Plant on Tuesday The facility has undergone cleanup and improvements since 1997 City balks on display decision Wildfire investigators seek publics help BY ERIN MAGRUDER Staff Writer Comal County Fire Marshal Lin Manford and the Texas Forest Service are asking residents for help in the investigation of a Jan 3 wildfire that scorched about 700 acres offFarmtoMarket Road 306 and endangered a nearby subdivision Officials have determined the area of origin of the fire but still do not know how the blaze ignited Manford said The wildfire started about in a field behind a residence at 8840 FarmtoMarket 306 near the Oak Valley Estates subdivision about one half mile southeast of Purgatory Road authorities said At the time of the fire investigators and fire fighters got several reports that the blaze might have been started by an unauthorized burn If a resident was burning brush that person would have been in violation of the outdoor burn ban that has been in place in the county since Aug 9 and could face up to a fine Manford said residents who were driving on FM 306 or Purgatory Road at the time the blaze began who witnessed something suspicious inthe vicinity should contact him at the Comal County Sheriffs Office at 6203400 Callers with tips will not be required to provide their names Manford said Tie vote sends issue to next council meeting BY PERI Staff Writer New Braunfels City Council has three weeks to determine whether the Holiday River of Lights and a convention center couidrand coex ist At Mon day meet ing city council heard it all some supported the 52day light dis VANSTORY play others didnt Some offered compromis es others suggested the project be slashed Ultimately council was unable to reach consensus on the Holiday River of Lights and never took a vote on the convention center Council tabled the issue until its next meeting at Feb 14 Supporters of both the light display and the convention center seek part of the citys 7 percent tax rev enue to fund their projects tax by state law is a dedicated tax Revenue from the tax must directly enhance and promote tourism and the convention and tourism industry The city has used more than of bed tax money to fund the Holiday River of Lights in the past three years Without the bed tax money the city would have lost more than out of the gen eral fund during those three years With the bed tax money the city was able to put about into the general fund in the past three years How ever state law prohibits using revenue for gen eral fund expenditures District 3 councilman Randy Vanstory said the goal of the project was to put money into the city coffers But quite frankly we havent met those he said The money could be used in a more efficient way he said Vanstory made the motion to discontinue the project but the motion died in a 33 vote District 1 councilman Juan Luis Martinez District 4 coun cilwoman Jan Kotylo and Vanstory voted to discontin ue the Holiday River of Lights District 5 councilman Lee Rodriguez District 6 council woman Juliet Watson and Dis trict 2 councilman Larry Alexander voted against the motion Mayor Stoney Williams was absent because of illness Instead Alexander suggest ed the city phase out bed tax spending on the display giving it in 2000 in 2001 and in 2002 This motion died as well only Watson joined Alexan der in support Volunteers with the Holiday River of Lights said they approved of the compromise Anna Lee Hicks cochair of the citys Lighted Display Park Advisory Committee told council the goal was to fund the project fully through gate admissions and other revenue The project hasnt been able See Living memorials Family and Mens Garden Club members planted four Mexican Sycamore trees Tuesday at Haymarket Park in the memory of James Allen Hatto Berg Herbert Doege and Or Dorris Brown From left are Betty Shaw Teresa Doege Ann Allen Bobbie Allen Charles Allen Christine Brown and Ethel Canton K JESSIE INSIDE CISD trustees take another stab at Borgfeld property BY HEATHER TODD Staff Writer A standoff between Comal school trustees on where to put a new elementary school might come down to another vote Thursday Comal Independent School District trustees could take action on buying prop erty on the west side of 281 for a new elementary school in the 281 and Cibolo Creek area after two previous attempt to buy property there failed Trustees will meet 6 Thursday at IN OTHER ACTION CISD trustees meet at 6 Thursday Bill Brown Elementary School 20410 Texas 46 West They also could approve the 20002001 calendar and hire a new athletic direc tor for Canyon High School Bill Brown Elementary School 20410 W Highway 46 ;