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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 5, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels THURSDAY June 5, 2003 11 pages in I sect ions MHH HMM    I    £    pagCS    III    £    SCLHerald-Zeitung Vol. 152, No. 174BEllOE&iaiServing New Braunfels and Comal County since 1H52 50 centsCISD workshops hammer out budget woes By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer A series of workshops will focus on how Comal Independent School District will address its budget shortfall and its potential to become a “Robin Hood” district. CISD trustees learned last week the “property rich” district might have to pay the state about $832,000 to be redistributed to poorer districts. Trustees don’t know where that money will come from. “That’s a good question,” CISD Board of Trustees President Dora GONZALES Gonzales said. “We’re already $2 million over budget.” Trustees will discuss the budget, the Robin Hood payment, and course offerings for 2003-04 at a workshop 6 p.m. Thursday. Gonzales said trustees want to meet weekly to hammer out the issues. She said increased enrollment might be enough to keep the district out of Robin Hood status, but enrollment num bers won’t be known until mid-June. “As a school district, we need to work on the assumption we are (a Robin Hood district),” Gonzales said. “I want to prepare for a worst-caso scenario.” Trustees said coming up with Robin Hood money in the midst of a budget shortfall could force them to make some unpopular decisions. Trustee Charles Burt said the district should consider eliminating the homestead tax exemption, which exempts 20 percent of a home’s value from taxation, before taking any dramatic staffing cuts. “I know that’s not a popular decision, but it’s not a insular decision to cut all the quality of our schtxil district,” Burt, said. “At least, I think there should bo some discussion going on." He said layoffs would be one way to cut back expenses, — HO percent of the budget is dedicated to salaries — but students’ education would be detrimentally affected. Gonzales said eliminating a part-time agriculture teacher and a cheerleading coach, both at Canyon High School, was recommended tx) save money. Police identify man killed Tuesday in high-speed accident By Ron Maloney Staff Writer SCHERTZ — Police identified the man killed Tuesday afternoon in a collision as a 19-year-old Universal City man. Comal County Judge Danny Sc hee I pronounced Juan “Johnny” Magana dead at the scene of the accident, which occurred at 4:40 p.m. when Magana drove his Mustang into three vehicles. A man whose pick-up Magana hit head on, Robert Rios, was listed in stable condition Wednesday at University Hospital in San Antonio. The accident occurred on Red Iron Road, about three-quarters of a mile from where pursuing Schertz police officers broke off a high-speed chase. Police Lit. Steve Starr said in a news release Wednesday the? incident lx*gan with a 9-1-1 call from a woman who reported she was being harasser! by an ex-boyfriend. "The caller stated that the male had followed her home* from school and had blocked her driveway and (was) trying to gain entry into her house?,” Starr said. While officers were en route to the home, Magana left in his Mustang. Officers saw the vehicle on (’rest Oak and attempted to pull Magana over for questioning, but he sped on to EM 3009, where the speed of chase increased further. To cross the interstate, See COLLISION/6A Wal-Mart renews tax deal with city By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer Wal-Mart Corporation renewed its agreement with the city of New Braunfels to kt**p its distribution center outside city limits, despite a move* to annex the area around it. The city received the signed contract and a $375,(XX) payment Monday. According to the contract, Wal-Mart will [>ay $375,(XX) per year through 2010 to keep the distribution center outside the city limits. The city is scheduled to annex 1.14 square miles of land around the distribution center in September. City Manager Chuck Pinto said the fee in lieu of taxes is a “win-win" situation for the city and Wal-Mart. PINTO The distribution center does not have to pay city taxes or comply with city codes, and the city does not have to provide any services to the distribution center. The distribution center is worth mon* than $129 million, according to (Clinal County Appraisal District. If annexed, Wal-Mart would have to jiay $480,(XX) in city taxes under tile projjosed new lax rate of 37.11 cents per $100 assessed valuation. Under the agreement, Wal-Mart saves $105,(XX) per year in city taxes for the next seven years, “Its not as much the savings. Its a win-win because its a steady income,” Pinto said, Pinto said he hopes the See WAL-MART/6A Commissioners to discuss courthouse renovation By Ron Maloney Staff Writer The Comal County courthouse could In? a step closer to a facelift if commissioners choose to hire an architect today. Commissioners’ (Jour! meets at 8:15 a m. in the (’ximmis-sk>ners’ Court Building, 199 Main Plaza. The county recently put a new nxjf on the historic structure and has been eyeing expensive heating, air oondi At a glance ■ WHAT: Comal County Commissioner’s Court ■ WHEN: 8:15 arn today ■ WHERE: Commissioner's Court Building. 199 Main Plaza tjorung him! electrical u|jgnides that could cost several hundred thousand dollars. In February, a state official came to New Braunfels to discuss a grant program that helps preserve or renovate county courthouses. Sharon Reining of thelbxas Courthouse Pn*servation Program said stall* money is available with an 85-to-15 |**rcent suite-to-local match. She? said tin* state would be more interested in helping the county restore the courthouse to its historic state? instead of maintain its exist ing one. "I would like* you to consider that you have an extreme- There’s something fishy about local man’s thunderstorm story DAVID INQRAM/Hornki /{Stung Bob Girten holds up two fish he says fell out of the sky near his home during a rain shower Sunday. By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Some things are easier to explain than others. Bob Girten has a fish story like that not so easy to explain. His neighbor, Carin Farquhar, called him over the other morning. “She said, ‘You’ve got to see this. You won’t believe me if I tell you,”’ Girten said. She was right. Girten had a hard time believing it, but he knew his neighbor. And he knew she wouldn’t make such a story up. He wouldn’t , either. “It rained awful hard the night before you couldn’t even see out to the street,” Girten said. "Where else could they have come from if it didn’t rain them?” Girten said he’d heard of it raining frogs, hut never fish. “I’m 84 years old, and I’ve never seen this happen before,” Girten said. Farquhar was leaving on a trip to Canada, so Girten took the fish a little thing, about four inches long — home. Then he decided to check his yard. He found another fish just like it. “I asked my daughter. She thinks they might he perch,” Girten said. "I wish now I’d walked my yard a little more. There might have lieen more out here, hut there are cats all over the place. They wouldn’t he here now," he said Wednesday. See HAINING FISH/6A ly important courthouse here in Comal County and that there is a benefit in returning it to a more historic appear-ance,” Fleming told commissioners during a February meeting. To apply for a grant, the county must prepare a “historic master plan.” Commissioners today will consider hiring an architect to help plan work at the <xiur-thouse. See COURTHOUSE/6AInside Abby.................4A Classifieds   ...........4bB Comics...............2B Forum................5A Movies ...............4A Sports...............1.4B Today.................2A Stocks ...............4A a "seezs 0000? ! a MHM Oil spill on the Plaza K. JESSIE SLATEN/Hurakl Zeitung (Above) New Braunfels firefighter Anthony Pitzer sweeps absorbent material onto a motor oil spill Wednesday afternoon. A local man was taking the used oil to be recycled when several glass containers full of the oil fell out of the bed of his truck. At least two of the bottles broke on the plaza and one on Common Street. (Left) The New Braunfels Fire Department and Texas Department of Transportation crews spread absorbent material on approximately eight gallons of motor oil that spilled onto the plaza Wednesday afternoon. ;