New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 28, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas
Saturday, July 28, 2001 — Herald-Zeitung — Page 3A
BUDGET/From 1AWASTEWATER/From 1A
regulations regarding the ratio of prisoners to jailers. The county was forced to hire 18 new jailers.
The $250,000 expense for this year alone was pulled from the general fund reserves. Next year, a halfmillion dollars in salaries for the new jailers will be a regular budget item.
Despite all that, department heads tightened spending and kept costs down, Scheel said.
“In the past, the department heads always padded their budgets,” Scheel said.
That practice gives managers something to give up if they have to, but it isn’t good planning, Scheel said.
“In my administration, Ive asked them not to ask for anything more than they really need,” Scheel said. “I feel this is a more prudent way to do business.”
Employee pay, benefits
Also in the budget this year is a 3-percent cost-of-living increase for county employees and a merit pay raise.
With merit pay, some employees could get an additional 4-percent raise at mid-year.
Elected and appointedBudget glance
Preliminary 2002 budget
• Aug. 5 — The county will publish its proposed tax rate.
• Aug. 9 — The budget will be presented to commissioner’s court and filed with the county clerk. Copies will be available at the courthouse and at public libraries around the county
• Aug. 30 — A budget hearing and public hearing on the proposed county pay raises will take place.
• Sept. 20 — The new tax rate will be adopted.
Big-ticket items in 2002
• Health care for the indigent: $750,000
• 18 new jailers: $500,000.
• Cost-of-living raises: $450,000.
• Employee health insurance increase: $300,000 to $1.6 million.
Preliminary 2002 Comal County Tax Rate: 32.4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation — the same as 2001.
officials will get a flat 5-per-cent increase.
Including benefits, all raises could cost $450,000.
Scheel said the cost-of-liv-ing raise did not quite meet the inflation index of 3.8 percent. But he said that the county’s best employees could get a 5- or 7-percent raise, with merit increases.
Scheel also said he would be able to do more for the employees.
“In surveys, the Comal
County pay scale is lower than in comparable positions in the private sector. We feel it is very important to protect our taxpayers by retaining our employees,” he said.
“We do not want the county to become a training ground or revolving door for private industry. It’s important we pay a decent salary to the people who control our operations.”
water treatment plant at the lake.
The study will:
• Compile data on the reservoir and its tributaries;
• Catalog land use;
• Map the density and distribution of the population;
• Assess the impact of future growth;
• Define areas served by existing or planned plants or septic tanks;
• Investigate ways to protect and maintain water quality; and
• Investigate the possibility and funding for a regional treatment plant.
GBRA now operates a pair of regional plants near Victoria and four small plants in the New Braunfels-Seguin area, including the one at the North-cliffe subdivision.
A small plant is being explored for the Bulverde area. One also could be considered for the Wimberley area.
GBRA to conduct economic, environmental impact study
By Ron Maloney
A wastewater study is one of two being conducted of the lake region by the Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority.
GBRA is beginning the process of hiring a consultant to study the economic and environmental impacts of drawing more water out of the lake.
That study, for which GBRA has agreed to spend $100,000, is expected to take about a year to complete.
The economic and environmental study has been
undertaken in an atmosphere of local uncertainty over how the GBRA’s plans to increase the water it now draws from the lake to 90,000 acre-feet per year will affect residents.
GBRA officials said the water is needed to serve future water customers, including those in Bulverde. Bulverde currently relies on the Trinity Aquifer, which is not closely regulated.
Many lake area residents say taking more water from the lake will hurt the economy and lower property values.
Two border patrol agents injured in shooting
FALFURRIAS, Texas (AP) — A suspected immigrant smuggler shot after injuring two Border Patrol Agents remained in critical condition Friday, authorities said.
The agents were injured as
the man tried to flee a checkpoint. They were treated at a Kingsville hospital and released. One suffered a separated shoulder and severe bruising to the right arm. The other suffered cuts and severe
bruising to the ribs, said Harry Beall, assistant chief to the U.S. Border Patrol in McAllen.
Jesus Benitez Torres, 21, was being treated at Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial in Corpus Christi.
“The staff continues to recommend a veto to the president,” White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters, adding, “It’s important to maintain safety on our roads and not take any action that is unfair to our neighbors to the south.”
Bush prefers giving Mexican trucks access to U.S. roads, and then auditing Mexican trucking companies over the next 18 months. Under criticism for being too lenient, the administration has said it would also require periodic inspections of vehicles as they cross the border.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a chief author of the proposals, said her plan was aimed at letting Americans know “when they see a truck with a Mexican license plate, they’ll know the truck has been inspected, its driver has a good record, that it’s safe to be on our highways.”
Despite those arguments, there was more at stake than the requirements facing Mexican truck drivers.
Bush and his GOP supporters were using the drawn-out debate to make repeated references to the fairness with which the standards would treat Mexicans. Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., has called the Democratic position “anti-Mexican” and “anti-Hispan-ic.”
Murray and her supporters have justified their plan by saying Mexican trucks fail more safety inspections than U.S. or Canadian vehicles. Democrats and even some Republicans have criticized Lott’s remark.
“I would strongly suggest that those who are using the race card in this debate for personal or political gain, put
a lid on it,” Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., said Friday.
Even so, it seemed likely that the debate was attracting attention in border states with sizable Hispanic populations.
Bush got 35 percent of the Hispanic vote nationally last year, but six of IO Hispanics in a June Gallup poll said they approve of the job Bush is doing. Republicans would love to attract more support from Hispanics, 60 to 80 percent of whom identify with Democrats in most states.
Another subtext is the battle between business and
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Related to that is the ideological gulf between lawmakers who favor free trade and those who prefer restrictions.
The truck standards are part of a $60.1 billion transportation spending bill for next year, one of 13 annual spending measures for the fiscal year beginning Oct. I.
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