New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 22, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas
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Housing credit decision delayed
TDHCA meeting now scheduled for July 30
By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff Writer
AUSTIN — New Braunfels residents and real estate developers will have to wait another week before finding out if a proposed low-income housing complex will receive tax credit.
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs rescheduled its July 23
board meeting to 1:30 p.m. on July 30. The meeting will be conducted at 507 Sabine in Austin in the fourth floor board room.
TDHCA spokeswoman Heather Tindall said the meeting was postponed due to scheduling conflicts and staff members “unexpectedly leaving.”
“Come early,” she said. “It’ll be packed.” The turnout was significant — especially locally — for a June public hearing in San Antonio.
About 45 New Braunfelsers stood to support the Evergreen Townhomes project at
the hearing — New Braunfels District 2 Councilman Larry Alexander, District 4 Councilwoman Jan Kotylo and Comal County Pct. 3 Commissioner Cristina Zamora among them.
Fifteen residents from New Braunfels stood in opposition to the project, including those who live close to the proposed 5-acre site on South Water Lane off Interstate 35.
People from Del Rio, Victoria, Seguin,
Unicom Football Camp participants practice agility drills Wednesday at New Braunfels High School.
See page 7 for more high school football news.
Catching some air
NBU board prepares for more growth
Bond issue, service upgrade could provide extra funds
By Peri Stone-Palmquist
New Braunfels Utilities might use a $5 million bond issue to fund projects associated with growth . — a solution that could be repeated in a few years unless NBU customers pay more in rates or developers pay more in fees.
Revenue from current water and sewer customers was not enough to fund projects needed for new customers, NBU financial systems manager Cheryl Land said at a board meeting on Tuesday.
NBU water connections have increased 17.36 percent in the past three years, general manager Paula DiFonzo said. Sewer connections have increased 15.81 percent and electric connections have increased 18.17 percent.
NBU must extend water and wastewater lines to new developments, which will cost an estimated $2.37 million over the next three years.
“Instead of having customers now pay for these projects, a bond would spread it out over the growth,” Land said.
The bond would be repaid over 20 years at an interest rate of 5 percent.
“This would allow the growing customer base to pay for those construction needs ” Lands said.
The $5 million bond also could fund enhancements to NBU’s current system.
“If we don’t enlarge some of the piping to keep up with the growth, we just can’t have any more customers,” water systems manager Wesley Hunt said on Wednesday.
Those enhancements would use about $ 1.56 million of the bond money. Another $1.07 million would be spent on electric system extensions.
The NBU board will decide whether a bond is the way to go in the coming months, possibly in August, rhat recommendation will be taken to New Braunfels City Council for final approval.
The issue would not be brought before voters, as it would not affect property tax rates.
Land said a bond issuance would not mean increased rates for NBU customers, although it will be paid back through revenue collected from customers.
But that does not mean increased rates aren’t on
. Sports..........................7-8, 10
Key cods 76
WORD board tables decision on its polystyrene ban
By Chris Crews
SATTLER — Water Oriented Recreation District board members tabled action Wednesday night on changing its ordinance regarding the prohibition of foam polystyrene on the Guadalupe River.
On the advice of attorney Holly Gillman, the board of directors will conduct a public hearing at its Aug. 18 meeting and approve changes to the ordinance, in place since 1994. They also will address an exception for the Waterwader, a polystyrene product.
The Waterwader is a high density foam
polystyrene ice chest that fits inside an inner tube and has a plastic encapsulated locking lid. It was designed to carry beverages on waterways such as the Guadalupe River.
Foam polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam, is a lightweight material used to make ice chests.
The Waterwader was given a trial exemption from the polystyrene law before the Memorial Day holiday, but reports of broken units and problems with the locking device gave the WORD board cause to reconsider their approval.
The sheriff’s office and district attorney’s
office also voiced objections. They said enforcing the ordinance was difficult when a foam polystyrene product was exempted from it.
Bill Lowman, representing the manufacturer, appeared at Wednesday’s meeting as an advocate for the device. He said here were about 600 units in use on the river since Memorial Day and only IO had been replaced.
Lowman demonstrated a rubberized coaling he said could improve the structural strength of the device.
Paul Rich, owner of Mountain Breeze out
fitters and a WORD board member, said the device did not spill its contents into the river as readily as conventional ice chests.
Charles Lackey, manager of Gruene River Company, said the locking dev ice needed to be improved for it to be effective. He said the lugs used to lock the lid onto the body were easily broken in the current design.
Board member Scott Watson said he had seen units that sustained significant damage in two months. He said the manufacturer claimed they would last tor three years.
“The Waterwader was not doing what it w as represented to do,” Watson said.
By Heather Todd
Faced with additional cuts in state funding and rising juvenile crime. Communities in Schools of Comal County is asking for community support in its efforts to keep area youth in school.
Statistics on high school dropouts paint a bleak picture, with 30 to 35 percent of Texas students dropping out before the 12th grade.
Ninety percent of inmates in the Texas prison system never graduated high school, and the state spends $17 billion on each class of dropouts throughout their lifetimes, state officials said.
Despite these figures, Communities in Schools staff say they are making a difference in the lives of Comal County students.
Last year, 99 percent of CIS students stayed in school, while IOO percent of eligible CIS students graduated. Also, 96 percent of students were promoted to the next grade level.
Communities in Schools, the nation’s largest stav-in-school network for at-risk students, served 8,508 students at 19 program sites here during the 1998-99 school year. Another 1,823 students received ongoing case-managed services.
Despite its continued success in six years, the CIS program in Comal County is expecting a IO percent cut in state funding after a 22 percent reduction in funding rn 1998.
CIS director Chris Douglas said state legislators recently increased funding to statewide programs by $2 million during the next two years.
But current allocation formulas decreased funding to Comal County’s CIS programs, she said.
“Because of the formulas they use, it actually hurt many programs last year, especially small, rural programs w ho had their funding taken away.” Douglas said.
The Texas Workforce Commission, which determines how much money each program receives, increased funding last year to larger CIS programs in urban areas, such as Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, Douglas said.
Local CIS president Ray Schoch met w ith state officials in June in an attempt to change the funding formulas.
How To Help
Anyone interested in donating time or money to Communities in Schools of Comal County is asked to call 620-4247.
Related story — Page 4
Communities in Schools seeking more support for programs, activities
Albaro Urbina, 13, makes repairs to a riding lawn mower on Tuesday at Andy’s Repair Shop, 303 Elm St. Urbina is learning mechanical skills this summer under the supervision of Sherman Stryker (left) through Communities in Schools’ “Learn to Earn” program.