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View Sample Pages : New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, July 16, 1999

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 16, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas AN EW <JfcfcaiHKFELS 2627 E YANDELL DK EU POSO, TX 79903- IkHerald-Zeitung  —   —-— ................ Vol. 148, No. 171 24 pages in 2 sections July 16, 1999 F RIDAY Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents Trail supporters stress need for safety Others see drainage, street repairs as more important priorities for city By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff Writer Supporters of proposed hike-and-bike trails in New Braunfels say alternative routes would make streets safer for pedestrians and bikers, but others wonder whether drainage and street repairs should come first. New Braunfels City Council approved the proposed trails on Monday after debating priorities — trails or streets and drainage — but council hesitated to take a strong stance until after state grant money is awarded. With council’s blessing, Comal County Trails, Inc. now can apply for state grants to fund 80 percent of trail construction. The city likely will be asked to give $288,000 toward construction if the grants are awarded in November. Maintenance of the trails, estimated at $69,000 a year for four trails, probably would fall on the city’s shoulders. The city will have three years to decide whether to participate, but the debate already has begun. Bart Bartholomew, a member of Comal County Trails, Inc., reminded council of recent accidents on New Braunfels streets. ‘Two people have been killed on city streets in the last 90 days,” Bartholomew said. “Are you going to lose some more?” In March, pedestrian Yolanda See TR AIL/5 AResidents demand street work Infrastructure board OKs Krueger Avenue project By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff Writer A group of more than 20 West End residents demanded answers Thursday to their longlasting street problems — and they got some. After an hour of heated discussion, the city’s Infrastructure Improvement Corporation board of directors approved a $25,000 reconstruction project for Krueger Avenue between San Antonio and Katy streets. The seven-member board recommends how council should spend 1/4 of I percent of the I 1/2 percent sales tax. The board’s recommendation on Krueger will go before city council at the next meeting, scheduled for July 26. Council has the final say on the project. “We’ve been waiting 40 or 50 years for this,” Randy Galindo, organizer of the local chapter of Tejano Democrats, said. “How long have you lived here?” he asked board president Bruce Boyer. Galindo stood and paced animatedly as he addressed the board —just as he did in June at the first meeting of Tejano Democrats, a statewide organization with 6,000 members who try to promote political awareness among Hispanics. At that meeting, Galindo told attendees he would fight to get their roads fixed I IO percent and received cheers. But his approach wasn’t well received initially at Thursday’s meeting. “I don’t appreciate you coming in here and blaming us for 40 years of frustration,” Boyer said. “We aren’t the city. We are volunteers. We aren’t responsible for 40 years of inaction.” Boyer told the crowd that the projects they approved were spread throughout the city. “We don’t favor one area. We have limited resources,” he said. “We’re not trying to leave anyone out. It has to be in a managed plan. It has to fit in with city planning.” But no one listens, someone called out. “We get the runaround.” Boyer said the group’s three street project requests — Krueger, McGaugh and West End — had never been brought before their board previously. To request a project, citizens must fill out an application from the city detailing the location, See STREET/5A Budget hearing schedule — Page 12A LESLIE KRIEWALDT/Herald-Zeitung Supporters of proposed hike-and-bike trails gather Thursday at the H-E-B soccer fields, where one of the trails would begin.County expecting tax increase By Chris Crews Staff Writer Comal County residents likely will face a 4 percent increase in the tax rate year — even if commissioners balance the 2000 budget. County Judge Danny Scheel said Thursday he expected the tax rate to increase from $.317 per $ I OO property valuation to about $.33 per $100 valuation. With the 4 percent increase, the homeown- - er of a $100,000 home, who paid $317 in property taxes in 1999, would have to pay $330 in 2000. Commissioners will - conduct budget meetings on four days next week. Hearings will run from 8:15 a.m. through noon Monday, Tuesday and Friday and from 8:30 a.m. until noon and from 1:30 p.m. through 4 p.m. on Wednesday. Budget requests from the county’s elected officials and department heads came to $25,378,394, about $500,000 more than the $25,861,612 in projected revenue. The budget approved for 1999 was $24,852,394. Two citizens attended this past year’s budget hearings. Scheel said he wanted to make cuts in the requests to make revenues match expenditures. “I’m determined we will go into next year w ith a balanced budget,” Scheel said. County Auditor Dav id Renken said previous budgets included spending some of the county’s general fund reserv es to make up for budget shortfalls. An increase in sales tax collections and income from housing federal prisoners in the new jail expansion would bring in more revenue during the next budget year, Renken said. The increased income would cover personnel and capital expense growth for the next year, but the tax rate increase would pay debt service for recent building projects, he said. “The increase w ill not fund operations but cover the principle and interest for things like the courthouse annex, the jail and the new justice of the peace offices ” Renken said. Despite the tax rate increase, Scheel said, See TAX/12A RENKENBrakes fail on 18-wheeler; pair of accidents along 1-35 southbound access road are result By Heather Todd Staff Writer An employee with Johnson Oil Company got quite a scare Thursday when an 18-wheeler hit his office after veering off the Interstate 35 southbound access road. The 18-wheeler was exiting 1-35 south at Solms Road about 2:30 p.m. when the brakes reportedly failed and rear-ended another 18-wheeler on the access road, law enforcement officials said. The truck then veered off' the road, collided with a fuel truck and struck the front wall of Johnson Oil Company, 4332 West Interstate 35. The building is located behind an Exxon station. The truck did not crash through the building, but left a large dent on the wall - only several feet away from Mark Seaman, who was sitting in his front office. Johnson Oil Company operations manager Ryan Cummings said Seaman was talking on the telephone and sitting behind his desk when the truck hit the building. Cummings said Seaman was “shaken up” and met with paramedics at the scene, but he was not injured. “We heard the first crash when he hit the truck and then he hit one of our trucks before hitting the wall,” he said. New Braunfels Fire and Rescue battalion chief Elroy Friesenhahn said the driver of the 18-wheeler complained of chest pains from hitting the steering wheel and was transported by ambulance to McKenna See ENCOUNTER/5AClose encounter PERI STONE-PALMQUIST/Herald-Zeitung No one was injured at the Johnson Oil Company, 4332 West Interstate 35, when an 18-wheeler crashed into the building about 2:30 p.m. Thursday, leaving a pool of spilled diesel fuel. The truck driver was transported to McKenna Memorial Hospital after complaining of chest pains. Inside Abby................... Classifieds.......... ...............7A ..........6-12B Comics............... ...............8A Crossword.......... ...............7A Forum................. ...............6A Local/Metro........ ...............4A Movies................ ........7A, 5B Religion............... ..........9-10A Sports................ ............1-4B Today.................. ...............2A Television............ ...............8A Key code 76 Bulverde city council wrestling with budget issues By Christina Minor Staff Writer BULVERDE — Mayor Bob Barton, who has been in office about two months, is making his mark on city operations with the newly amended 1999 budget. On Tuesday, Bulverde city aldermen unanimously approved Barton’s plan to allocate more funds for roads and a $20,000 contingency plan for a volunteer program. However, they balked at his desire to donate city funds to orga nizations such as the public library, the senior center, the animal shelter, the United Way and the community center. “I thought we could help in some way,” Barton said. “But right now city council does not think it is important. Speaking as a citizen, I think the city should make contributions.” Alderman Ken Fiedler said he did not agree with donating funds to the organizations. “I think we need to hear from the community,” he said. “There should be no donations unless we recover benefit from it. What is the sales tax for?” Bulverde currently collects a one-cent sales tax. The city also is expected to collect $285,000 in property taxes this year from Bulverde South and Bulverde East. They consolidated with Bulverde West and Bulverde North in 1998. Barton’s amended budget increases the road work allocation from $20,000 to $74,000 for July through September. The October through December budget decreases to $65,000. The original budget called for 18.5 percent of expenditures to be dedicated for road work. In the proposed 2000 budget, Barton wants to allot 48.8 percent of funds to roads. “I want to maximize funds for road improvements,” Barton said. “I also want to start the volunteer program, which I campaigned to do.” Barton, who wants to use volunteer staff'to manage some of the duties at city hall, said the community would benefit from this program. “We have some community members w ho know more than we do,” he said “We have some very qualified citizens living out here ” The volunteer staff would help to support and supplement the paid city employees by answering phones, answering general ques- See BULVERDE/12A ;