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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 17, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas /IV FELS 20332 NO09 10/22/99 SO - LIE S T NIGRO PU BL I SPI I NG 2627 E YONDF I I dp ' 71 "W" T    JW~jm    26    2    7    E    YANDELL Her ald-Zeit u is o Vol. 148, No. 83    20    pages    in    2    sections    March    17,    1999 Wednesday Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents Late city election filing creates District 6 race By Bill O’Connell Staff Writer A local attorney breathed life into an otherwise listless city election Tuesday by filing for the District 6 City Council seat. David L. Nigh’s filing guaranteed city voters will have at least one decision to make at the May I election. He will run against District 6 incumbent Juliet Watson. A lack of candidates threatened to cancel the city election process for the second consecutive year until Nigh filed late Tuesday afternoon. City council member Larry Alexander and mayor pro-tem Juan Luis Martinez automatically took office in 1998 when no one filed to challenge them. Three council seats will be opened this year. Mayor Jan Kennady has reached the end of her term limit, while District 5 council member Cathy Talcott has said publicly she was moving from her district and would not be eligible for reelection. Eligibility requirements require council members to represent districts in which they reside. Only one mayoral candidate had filed for election. Stoney Williams, a mechanical contractor with Glia- Who’s In Candidates for the 1999 New Braunfels city election, scheduled for May 1. The filing deadline Is 5 p.m. today. Mayor: Stoney Williams, 33, mechanical contractor District 5 City Council member: Lee Rodriguez, 39, restaurant owner District 6 City Council member: Juliet Watson (incumbent), 32, self-employed; David L. Nigh, 45, attorney da-Coma Mechanical, could become the city’s next mayor if no additional candidates file before today’s deadline. City council could appoint Williams to the mayor’s seat by passing a resolution later this year, city manager Mike Shands said. Restaurant owner Lee Rodriguez is the lone candidate to replace Talcott in District 5. District 5 is a narrow territory bordered on the west by Landa See ELECTION/3ASigns of spring * -d|f|pFar ROBIN CORNETT/Heratd-Zeitung A bee pollinates a flowering bush at Prince Solms Park recently. Spring doesn’t officially begin until Sunday, but flowers of all kinds have been making appearances in recent weeks. See page 2A for a complete look at the weather forecast — including those final days of winter. Post office still delivering for NBSorting through the options when mailing By Bill O’Connell Staff Writer Go to the New Braunfels post office at 686 S. Seguin Ave. to mail a letter or parcel and you’ll be confronted with three choices. Metered. Stamped. Papers and Packages. What’s the difference? Not everyone knows, based upon the experiences of New Braunfels postal workers. The three slots offered at the post office may seem self-explanatory, but New Braunfels postmaster J.D. Hernandez said customers sometimes drop their mail in the wrong place. “Yeah, they ring the bell and want us to fish out the letters,” he said. Mail dropped into the three slots in the post office lobby falls into large bins that collect the letters and packages. Hernandez said the truth of the matter is that mail will eventually be sorted correctly — no matter which slot postal customers choose. “It’s still going to get delivered,” he said. Nevertheless, it would help the post office if patrons chose the right slots. The “Metered” slot is for letters with pre-paid postage. This is normally where businesses with accounts with the postal service drop their mail. Outgoing letter mail with the appropriate postage stamps goes in the “Stamped” mail slot. “Papers and Packages” is for bundles of mail and small parcels. Postmaster says recent changes improve service By Bill O’Connell Staff Writer Mail leaving New Braunfels no longer carries a local postage mark, a change that has some residents questioning whether the local post office, 686 S. Seguin Ave., was here to stay. New Braunfels postmaster J.D. Hernandez said recent moves were no indication of a loss of services. On the contrary, the local branch had been revamped to improve customer service. A former postmaster in Brownsville and an officer in charge in Laredo, Hernandez came to the New Braunfels branch about eight months ago and has implemented a flurry of changes. He helped arrange a deal to route all letter mail leaving New Braunfels through a San Antonio post office. Letters originating from New Braunfels now go to San Antonio — even when they’re destined for New Braunfels addresses. “The volume is too great to handle here manually,” Hernandez said, adding that millions of dollars in letter-sorting equipment at the San Antonio office led to faster delivery times in New Braunfels. .Hernandez said some area residents lamented the loss of the New Braunfels postmark. Others said they were satisfied with the way the post office was operating. “I think they’re doing a good job. It doesn’t bother me at all,” said city resident Roy Guerrero. Hernandez said outgoing mail from New Braunfels filled two tractor-trailers daily, a tremendous workload for local branch employees who sort mail by hand. ROBIN CORNETT /Herald-Zertung New Braunfels postmaster J.D. Hernandez makes a comparison between manual mail sorting and an automated system. A postal worker can sort an average of 1,100 mail pieces per hour, while automated equipment processes 38,000 an hour. A postal worker can sort an average of 1,100 pieces per hour, but automated equipment processes 38,000 pieces hourly. An efficiency study determined that 98 percent of the letter mail leaving New Braunfels arrived at locations in Comal County and surrounding areas the next day. In other words, about 98 out of IOO letters dropped off at the New Braunfels branch by 5:45 p.m. today would reach destinations in New Braunfels, Canyon Lake, San Antonio and other nearby areas on Thursday. The New Braunfels post office added a pre-fabricated building this past year to expedite bulk deliveries, and another to handle mail going to Canyon Lake. The Canyon Lake area will have its own post office by late this year or early 2000, Hernandez said Postal officials also changed mail box locations in parts of the city and presently are considering extending the window clerks’ Saturday hours at the South Seguin location. CISD officials getting homework help from budget experts By Heather Togo Staff Writer Comal Independent School District officials are turning to the experts for help in reducing the district’s financially strapped budget for the 1999-2000 school year. CISD superintendent Jerry Major has asked the district’s employees for suggestions on avoiding a proposed $900,000 budget deficit. “Our employees are, in many instances, the experts on how things could be done in a more cost efficient manner,” Major said. “Private industry has recognized the importance of good suggestion programs for years. We need to tap into that source of information and see how we can use it to improve our operations.” In an article to all employees {Minted in the March 5 edition of the district* employee newsletter, Major wrote: “I uige you to provide suggestions as to how we can do what we do more efficiently or help us to determine if we need to be doing it at all. Do you see something that can be streamlined or modified for the better and cost less in the process?” District officials are in the early stages of developing the budget, but one thing already seems certain — cuts will be needed. CISD cannot raise its $1.50 per $100 valuation maintenance and operations tax rate — which pays for school supplies and teacher salaries — for 1999-2000. A state-imposed cap will not allow school districts to raise the maintenance and operations tax rate beyond the $1.50 rate maximum. The total rate, a id uding the interest and fund rate, is $1.76 per $100 valuation. Under current state formulas, local patrons foot 72.3 percent of district expenditures, while the state provides 23.3 percent. With the possibility of less local revenue and little hope of additional aid coming out of the state legislature, district officials are expecting a freeze on spending at current year levels. In August 1998, the board of See BUDGET/3A Inside Abby................................5A Business.............................5A Classifieds.......................4-8B Comics...............................7A Crossword..........................SA Forum.................................6A Local...................................4A Obituaries...........................3A Sports...........................8-10A Today.................................2A Television...........................7A ;