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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 31, 1980, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels, Texas ■ ■ —--■    -J nD|*nin eitune Vol. 89 - No. 31 July 31,1980 IOO Pages - 25 Cents (USPS 377-880)Ranchers' persuasion saves trappers Convinced by the testimony of area goat and sheep ranchers, Commissioners Court voted Monday to retain the county’s coyote trapping program and to raise trappers’ salaries $50 a month. The commissioners were leaning toward scrapping the program in favor of a bounty, but delayed a decision on the matter until feedback from county residents could be heard. Under the program, the county pays $900 a month for two trappers, while the U.S. Interior Department puts up matching funds, supplies equipment and training, and pays for gasoline expenses. A federal request for the $50 monthly raise, which will put the county’s yearly outlay for coyote control at $12,000, prompted discussion of the bounty alternative at last week’s meeting. “We’re in agreement to spend it. We just have to decide which is the best way,’’ Comm. Monroe Wetz told the ranchers. Trappers have killed 27 coyotes through June this year at a cost to the county of $180 each. Gary Simmons of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service described personnel turnover problems that have hampered trapping here. Roger Lawson, also present at the meeting, is currently the only trapper in the county, but he is aided by a "troubleshooter” until Siminons can find a second hunter. Despite low salaries and new trappers not yet familiar with the county, the program has been a moderate success, Simmons said. “Some have had no losses, but you can’t say that for every producer,” he said. “We do our dead level best, but you just don’t find that many top-notch people willing to hunt coyotes for $3.85 an hour. It takes unique people, and it takes time for them to learn the county and get the ranchers to trust them.” Simmons added. The pay raise will make recruitment easier, he said. As for the seemingly low number of actual kills, Simmons said the trappers go after older, experienced coyotes that regularly prey on sheep and goats.See RANCHERS, Page 2A Workers shovel sand to soak up oil from minisubstation Rate boost eyed Water and sewer are currently losing propositions at New Braunfels Utilities, and a rate increase is needed to correct the situation. Manager Bob Sohn indicated last Thursday. Except for one month (May), the water department has been in the red since last December, according to figures in the June operating report, w hich Sohn outlined for Utilities trustees ut their regular board meeting. Water expenses topped revenue by $2,753 in June. Sewer has been in the hole since March, and sewer expenditures were $12,131 higher than revenue last month, the figures show. The budget called for water to produce $11,239 in revenue and sewer to generate $3,675. A rate increase is the answer, Sohn said. "I don’t think there’s any way out of it.” Indicating electric revenues were helping to bridge the gap, he added, “The water and sewer department should stand on their own.” Existing rates are relatively low, Sohn said. Under the current rate structure, which makes water less expensive with increased usage, the more water the Utilities sells, the worse the situation becomes, he ex* plained. Residential customers now pay a $2 minimum bill, which covers up to 2,000 gallons of water. Additional gallons are billed at a rate of 37 cents per thousand. Commercial water users also pay less the more they use The minimum commercial bill is $5, which also covers the first 2,000 gallons. From 2.000 to one million gallons the charge is 34 cents per thousand; from one million and up, the charge is 21 cents per thousand The minimum residential sewer bill is $3 per month plus 21 cents per each 1.000 gallons of all water use. That water use is determined by taking the average of the lowest three months ofSee RATE, Page 2A Utilities has two more Minisub falls off truck By Robert Johnson It survived trips to two cement plants, but it couldn’t survive the trip home. “It” is a minisubstation owned by New Braunfels Utilities, and it wound up in the middle of l.oop 337 near the Highway 46 North overpass shortly after noon Tuesday. The minisub, which had been the source of electrical power for the General Portland Inc. cement plant on Wald Road until a transmission line to that plant was energized recently, was being carried on a trailer en route to the Utilities warehouse at the intersection of Klingemann and Central when the mishap occurred. As the truck pulling the trailer crossed the overpass while travelling at around 20 miles per hour, the trailer began fishtailing for no apparent reason, electric superintendent Bill Printy said. The trailer pulled the trailer hitch off the truck and then turned on its side, dumping the minisub in the eastbound lane, where it gouged the pavement and leaked a great deal of oil. Traffic was rerouted along entrance and exit ramps until a crane was located and the nnnisub lifted back onto the trailer (which was not damaged) around 3 p.m. Both Printy and Manager Bob Sohn were at a loss to explain why it hap pened. “We took all the necessary precautions,” Printy said. “It’s just one of those things.” The minisub had made the trip to the Texas Industries Inc. cement plant near Hunter I where it provided temporary power to the plant while permanent service was being extended) without incident before being taken to the GPI plant, he indicated. “They’ve been towing it like that for years without any problems,” Sohn pointed out. Indicating the Utilities had two other uunisubs at the warehouse, Sohn said he would await damage figures before deciding whether or not to liave it repaired. Staff photos Highway department workers tidy up around a fallen Utilities minisubstation on Loop 337Water: Chamber urges conservation Stringent water conservation measures were called for by the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce Monday. The chamber’s board of directors voted to ask Commissioners Court to consider closing the portholes on the side of the spillways of county dams. County Judge Max Wommack said Tuesday the item would be on Monday’s court agenda. They may not be exactly what the chamber’s Natural Resources Committee has in mind, but Utilities Manager Bob Sohn Monday outlined water conservation measures which he hoped local residents would obey voluntarily. The chamber committee urged implementation of “stringent water conservation measures until marked improvement is noted” in the Edwards Aquifer. Sohn suggested four measures: 1. No lawn watering from IO a.m. until 5 p.m. 2. Even-odd watering. Under that plan, residents whose addresses end in even numbers can water on even-numbered days of the month and odd numbers on odd-numbered days. 3. Avoidance of overspray onto streets and sidewalks. The resolution included a call for conservation measures in the form of an open letter to the Edwards Underground Water District and “all users” of Edwards Acquifer water. The letter recommended the EUWD “take immediate affirmative action to advise and encourage all city councils, utilities, water districts, and major industries to initiate stringent water conservation measures until 4. A general awareness of water misuse. Sohn said he didn’t think these suggestions qualified as “stringent” measures. He equated stringent measures with mandatory conservation, which could be enacted by an emergency city ordinance. He said the city’s immediate water needs are in no danger despite the dry weather, but added the Comal Springs may be living on borrowed time. Estimating the level in the Edwards Underground Water District check well (in Panther Canyon) at 622 feet above sea level, Sohn said Comal Springs will cease if that level drops to 620 or 619. The all-time low in that well is 613.3, which was recorded during the drought of 1956. If the level drops marked improvement is noted in the Edwards underground water table.” The Natural Resources Committee drafted the letter after learning that the Panther Canyon test well in New Braunfels showed a water level one and two-thirds feet above the elevation of Comal Springs, conuiiittee chairman Herb Schneider told the boarduse given that low this year, it might be time to start thinking about mandatory measures, Sohn indicated. The chamber report also reconuitended sources of surface water be explored For New Braunfels, the likeliest candidates are Canyon l^ake and the Guadalupe River. But the river is undependable, and surface water from Canyon l,ake is a costly proposition, Sohn indicated. He estimated a 24-inch water main to the lake would cost at least $4 5 million, not including easements, labor or the required surface water treatment plant. However, he agreed the possibility needs to be explored. “We’ve got to look at everything we can,’ Sohn said. “If it drops another two feet, the springs will run dry,” he said. The closing of spillway portholes would “obtain a significant increase in the recharge ability of the dams constructed under the Comal County small dam program,” Schneider wrote iii a letter to Woimnack. The letter suggested the Soil Conservation Service study each dam project “to deternune if closing any portholes will lessen the flood control storage capability of each dam.” Schneider said water levels behind the dams would have to rise several feet before entering the draw-down tubes, or spillways, if the portholes are closed. The extra volume of water buildup would allow more water to enter the recharge zone, he said Original construction plans for the dams called for storage of less than 200 acre feet of water, and the portholes were installed to achieve this luiut, according to a committee report to the board prepared by Sctuieider. “However, it appears that adequate easements have been obtained to allow for temporary storage of more than 200 acre feet,” the report continued. A study by the Soil Conservation Service “would provide the necessary information on which to base a permit application giving permission to close the portholes,” it concluded Voluntary guidelines on water ;