New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 28, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas
Vol. 149 No. 158 18 pages in 2 sections June 28, 2000
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County looks to help NB divert yard waste
By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer
Comal County Rural Recycling Center might help New Braunfels divert 30 percent of its solid waste from the local landfill, the city’s Recycle Advisory Committee learned Tuesday.
Comal County Precinct 4 Commissioner Moe Schwab; who oversees the recycling center, told the committee, “I can handle twice what I’m handling now.”
The committee is discussing a “pay as you throw” program, which would charge residents for solid waste service based on the amount of trash or number of trash bags they discard instead of a monthly fee.
The committee has been exploring the idea as a way to decrease the amount of
waste deposited in the Comal County Landfill and increase participation in the city’s recycling program.
The landfill, which is privately owned, has a life of about five to six years, Assistant to the City Manager Don Ferguson said. SCHWAB “Everything that we keep
out of the landfill extends the life of the landfill,” he said.
The committee asked Schwab to attend Tuesday’s meeting and explain whether the center could handle any additional recy-clables generated by a “pay as you throw” program.
Schwab said he hoped to obtain a six-foot platform chipper by the end of the year. The chipper should cost about $200,000, he said, and could be used to divert yard or “green” waste from the landfill.
Ferguson said the city will deposit about 42,000 to 43,000 cubic yards of waste in the landfill this year. Yard waste will account for about 30 percent of that, he said.
He asked Schwab if the recycling center could handle that much.
“Oh yeah, especially if we get this big piece of equipment,” Schwab said.
The committee voted to ask city council to show its support for Schwab’s grant application to Alamo Area Council of Governments for the platform chipper.
Comment on stricter sewage regs sought
By Erin Magruder
Local residents are encouraged to voice opinions about stricter regulations for on-site-sewage facilities recently proposed by Comal officials, County Engineer Tom Homseth said.
Residents can read and comment on the proposed amendments through July 21 by logging onto the county’s website at www.co.comal.tx.us. The proposed changes will be forwarded to the Texas NaturalWhat’s Up
Residents can read and comment on the proposed amendments through July 21 by logging onto the county’s website at www.co.comal.tx.us.
Resource Conservation Commission.
The amendments are posted through a link “View the Pro-
Key Code 76
GBRA application pros, cons discussed
From Staff Reports
The New Braunfels City Council rejected a proposal Monday night to oppose the Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority’s application to divert more water from Canyon Lake.
District 6 Councilwoman Juliet Watson asked the city council to consider writing a letter to the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission in opposition to the river authority’s water rights amendments application.
The river authority can now divert
50,000 acre-feet per year from Canyon Lake but is asking for the ability to divert an average of90,000 acre-feet per year, or 450,000 acre-feet during a five-year period. The
lake holds 386,000 acre-feet of water.
The GBRA also is asking for authority to sell an average of 11,000 acre feet of water a year to areas outside GBRA’s 10-county district.
Councilwoman Debbie Flume voted with Watson to write a letter of opposition to the TNRCC. They were defeated by five council members who voted against the letter after an area civil engineer voiced his concerns about the application and Comal County Commissioner Jay Minikin and a GBRA Director of Project Development David Welsh spoke in favor of it.
Minikin said the application, if approved, would meet the water needs of communities in Western Comal County. Comal County Com
missioners previously approved a contract with GBRA that addresses its water rights amendment application. It includes a provision in which no more than 4,000 acre-feet of water per year can be committed out of the district if there is a demand for water in the district.
Welsh explained that the pipeline that will be built through western Comal County to serve the San Antonio area also will serve western Comal County.
Mayor Stoney Williams and Councilman Larry Alexander expressed support for the project because it will help western Comal County.
“They’re not going to run the lake dry,” Williams said.
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■ New Braunfels Utilities customers with addresses ending in 5 can water today after 7 p.m. Well users with addresses ending in 4 or 5 can water today after 8 p.m.Herald-ZeitungMcKenna gives insurer 90-day deadline
Deductibles, co-payments could increase
By Ron Maloney
McKenna Memorial Hospital has warned Blue Cross/Blue Shield to raise within 90 days reimbursement rates it pays for services the hospital provides.
If not, McKenna will cancel its agreement to be an “in-network provider” of health care services.
The move, if it comes, could result in increased deductibles or co-payments for some
14,000 Comal County residents whose health care plans are insured through or administered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield, should they continue to seek health care at McKenna.
The ultimatum comes during ongoing negotiations about Blue Cross/Blue Shield reimbursement rates, which haven’t changed at McKenna in more than five years.
Hospital and reportedly Blue Cross/Blue Shield officials express optimism over the talks. Blue Cross/Blue Shield officials did not return phones calls on Tuesday.
“We’re hopeful this will be resolved,” McKenna Chief Executive Officer Tim Brier-ty said.
He said McKenna now was negotiating with someone at Blue Cross/Blue Shield who seemed to be hearing his message.
McKenna expects to know the outcome of the negotiations within a couple of weeks.
In a pair of letters mailed to employers who use Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Brierty’s message was blunt: If an agreement isn’t reached within three months, McKenna will be forced to notify Blue Cross/Blue Shield of its intent to “terminate our agreement as an in-network provider.”
Brierty wrote, “This action could obviously affect your access to McKenna Memorial Hospital. It is my sincere hope Blue Cross/Blue Shield will work with us and achieve a favorable outcome. If not, we would be considered an out-of-network provider should your employees choose to utilize our services.”
K. JESSE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung
Three people were taken to McKenna Memorial Hospital late Tuesday afternoon following a chain reaction accident on the northbound Interstate 35 on ramp in front of Home Depot. “We were going to get on the expressway and we slowed down,” said the driver of the first car, Becky Borden of San Antonio. ‘The next thing I knew, we got hit from behind, twice.” Borden was hit by a car driven by Justin Jackson of Austin. A passenger in Jackson’s car, Kari Chesson, 24, also of Austin, sustained head and face lacerations and possible other injuries when she struck the windshield. Two more cars were involved in the accident. In all, Chesson, Borden and at least one other person involved in the pileup were treated at McKenna Memorial Hospital. None of the injuries were life-threatening.
Elijah Paredez, 10, practices a kick-flip Tuesday afternoon on Houston Street as Jeffrey Buitron, 11, looks on. Paradez and Buitron are part of a neighborhood skateboarding and BMX group consisting of 10 to 13-year-olds called Team Netherworld. The boys try to practice everyday.
CHRIS PACE/Herald-ZeitungProperty tax reduction debated
Flume: Abolish economic development sales tax use
By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer
The last one out of the city should turn out the lights.
Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce Inc. President Michael Meek offered that dire predication Monday night in response to what could have been the first step toward killing the city’s economic development sales tax.
However, four council members stalled Councilwoman Debbie Flume’s proposal to ask voters to consider abolishing the economic development sales tax and adopting a sales tax in its place for property tax reduction.
Mayor Stoney Williams, Mayor Pro Tem Juan Luis Martinez and Councilmen Lee Rodriquez and Larry Alexan- williams* der voted to postpone action on her more
proposal until the council’s next meet- ,0 |jfe ,han ,ow mg. Flume, Councilwoman Juliet Wat- Dr0Dertv taxes son and Councilman Robert Kendrick y^ggg people wanted to vote on the issue Monday neecj j0ps
n^t- j ., j, ,. . , „ What good is it
I ve been blindsided by this tonight, jf ^ave jow
Alexander said. property taxes
Flume targeted a couple of possible jj can>t t
changes to the way the city uses its j0p?” total 1.5 percent sales tax during Monday’s meeting.
While her attempt to place the economic development sales tax before the voters was delayed, she successfully lobbied for a November election in which voters will be asked to expand the way the city can use its economic sales tax for infrastructure improvement projects.
In 1995, New Braunfels voters approved a half-percent sales tax to be split between the general fund for property tax reduction, economic development, streets and drainage projects and infrastructure improvement projects.
One-fourth percent of the sales tax is dedicated to the New Braunfels Infrastructure Improvement Corporation and is split evenly between street and drainage projects and other improvement projects. The New Braunfels Eco-
See SALES TAX/5A