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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 23, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas A MPW jjjJJajpp. c 2 0 3 3 2 h (3 0 9 I (J / 2 2 / 9 9 SO - WE ST ll I CRO PU BL. I SH I NG 2627 E YON DF I I DR EL POSO, TX 79903Herald-Zeitung Vol. 148, No. 88    12    pages    in    I    section March 23, 1999 Tuesday Serving Comal County since 1852 50 centsNeighbors air opposition to Evergreen Villas By Bill O'Connell Staff Writer About 20 New Braunfels residents enumerated their objections to an affordable housing proposal at city council chambers Monday night. Clad in red T-shirts as a sign of solidarity, they told council members affordable housing in New Braunfels was a good idea, so long as it did not end up near their neighborhood. “We’re not opposed to affordable housing. We want affordable housing,” Morningside Drive resident Billy Bryant said. “But we want it dispersed throughout the city.” Bryant and a number of private property owners complained to council about Evergreen Villas, an 80-unit apartment complex proposed for the city’s southwest side. The site at South Water Lane off Interstate 35 behind the Department of Public Safety office was debated at a public hearing Monday before city council. Council was scheduled to vote Monday evening on a special use permit authorizing development of 15 acres of land for Evergreen Villas, but the outcome of the vote was unavailable at press time. Homeowners near the proposed Evergreen Villas complex said they believed the low-cost housing development would lead to increased crime and traffic, decreased water pressure in their homes and lower property values in their neighborhoods. “I don't know of a case where a public housing project has ever increased property values,” Morningside Drive resident Dan Dean said. Evergreen Villas proponents cited the critical need for affordable housing units in New Braunfels and disagreed with the notion that the development would lead to an increased crime rate in the area. “Crime does not come only from people who live in affordable housing,” Loma Vista Street resident Linda Murphey said. Designed by Amistad Affordable Hous ing, Inc., Evergreen Villas reportedly would be partially funded through a state tax credit program. The Texas Department of Hous-mg and Community Affairs will award tax credits to affordable housing applicants on July 25. Evergreen Villas would be operated as a gated housing community for moderate-income wage earners. Tenants whose yearly earnings ranged between $14,650 and $29,000 would be eligible for occupancy, according to developers. Police chief seeks more officers See related story below By Chris Crews Staff Writer Continued population growth in New Braunfels and traffic problems exacerbated by construction on Interstate 35 prompted New Braunfels Police Chief Ray Douglas to ask for eight new officers for the upcoming fiscal year, set to begin July 1. - But    budget restrictions caused Douglas to _reduce    that number to four, and that is the number of new officers New Braunfels city council will consider adding to the force in upcoming budget workshops. Even if the four new officers are approved by council, the department will fall short of the recommended number of officers for a city of this size. The US. Department of Justice recommends 2.2 officers per every 1,000 persons. With the additions, the department would have 61 certified officers. With an estimated population of 33,000, the department would have about 1.85 off icers per 1,000 residents. Douglas said he understood the fiscal constraints city leaders faced when budgeting for the police department. “Our population and geographic location dictate that we need more officers than we have,” Douglas said. “But budgetary constraints compel us to deal with the hand we are dealt.” Adding four new officers will not be an inexpensive proposition for the city. The start up costs for adding four What’s Up ■ New Braunfels City Council is considering adding four new officers to the city’s police department. Chief Ray Douglas originally asked for eight. ■ Two officers win be assigned to the new traffic division, which is assigned to work vehicle accidents and enforce traffic laws. ■ Two officers also will be assigned to the patrol division, which responds to calls for service and reports of crimes in the city. ■ Ll. John Wommack has assumed the job of running the traffic division. ■ Lt. Doug Dunlap, a 20-year veteran of the department, will assume Wommack’s duties as patrol lieutenant. new officers is expected to be about $235,000. About $85,000 of that would be a one-time cost for vehicles and equipment for the officers. Douglas said two officers would be assigned to the traffic division, created last year, and two would be assigned to patrol duties. The new employees are subject to formal approval by the city council. Douglas said separating patrol and traffic divisions would allow the department to better serve the public. The traffic division is assigned to work vehicle accise© OFFICERS/3 Flood victims get forum By Chris Crews Staff Writer Five months after the tragic flood of October 17, some flood victims in Comal County still have needs to be met. That’s the message of the South Texas Flood Recovery Project, a not-for profit group funded by the Federal Emergency Management agency and the Hill Country Mental Health/Mental Retardation. “We’re still hearing from a lot of people who are still unhappy,” said Connie Hayes, an outreach worker for the group. “There’s still a lot left to be done.” The group will host a flood recovery forum at 6 p.m. today at the Municipal Building at 424 S. Casten St. in New Braunfels. Those affected by the flood are welcome to express their feelings about their flood experience and ask questions of local officials about ongoingSee FORUM/3 Inside Abby......................... ......5 Business...................... .......5 Classifieds................... ..9-12 Comics........................ .......7 Crossword................... .......5 Forum.......................... .......6 Local........................... .......4 Obituaries..................... .......3 Sports.......................... ...8-9 Today.......................... .......2 Key code 76 City begins 2000 budget talks By Bill O’Connell Staff Writer Adding police officers and firefighters and reducing property taxes are among highlights of a proposed 2000 budget for New Braunfels. City council members and staff are scheduled to discuss die budget at a workshop set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The meeting is open to the public and will be conducted at the municipal building, 424 S. Casted Ave. “One of the things that probably will stand out the most is an increase in public safety numbers,” New Braunfels chief financial officer Chet Lewis said. The proposed budget for fiscal year 2000, which begins July I, calls for nearly $2.3 million to be spent on police patrols. The current year’s budget includes about $2.05 million for patrol spending. The extra funding for the police department would add four new officers to the force. Currently 57 officers are commissioned with the New Braunfels police department. Fire and emergency management expenditures would increase from this year’s budgeted $3.66 million to more than $3.82 million. The increase reflects a proposal to add six firefighter positions. That’s dedication New Braunfels marks founding with mural By Tom Erickson News Editor New Braunfelsers marked the 154th anniversary of their city’s founding in grand style Sunday evening, as the Historic Outdoor Art Gallery/New Braunfels Inc. dedicated and lit up its “City of a Prince” mural. Artist Clinton Baermann, Comal County Judge Danny Scheel, mayor pro-tem Juan Luis Martinez and District 6 city council representative Juliet Watson gathered around a detonator for a first lighting, which brought an explosion of cheers and applause from the large crowd gathered on South Castell Avenue. Wayne Rahe, president of the Historic Outdoor Art Gallery, thanked all who worked to make the more than three-year project a reality and said he hoped it would be preserved for future generations to enjoy. ‘To the citizens of New Braunfels and Comal County, we give this mural to you,” Rahe said. “We ask you to protect it, preserve it and save it.” Once the mural is completed — vice-president Sandy Kelley told the crowd it was 95 percent done — a sealant will be used to preserve it for at least 50 years. “Our purpose is to enhance and perpetuate the prosperity of downtown,” Kelley said. “We thought of tourists at first, but decided this fnural is for us. It’s a way of educating and explaining our history and heritage.” And “City of a Prince” is just the beginning. Rahe announced plans for three to five more murals, as well as some sculptures. Once the first mural is finished, a second chronicling the life and accomplishments of Ferdinand Lindheimer will be started on the TOM ERICKSON/HeraJd-Zertung Above: City councilwoman Juliet Watson, mayor pro-tem Juan Luis Martinez, artist Clint Baermann and County Judge Danny Scheel push down the lever, lighting the first outdoor mural in downtown New Braunfels on Sunday. At right: Baermann stands in front of the mural, dubbed “City of a Prince.’’ wall of Comal Flower Shop, 337 Main Plaza. Rahe said that project would begin in six to eight weeks. “City of a Prince” is 38 feet high and spans more than 150 feet along the New Braunfels Emporium building. It depicts significant people and events in the city’s founding, including a magnificent scroll that tells the story of the journey from Braunfels, Germany, to the place where the Guadalupe and Comal rivers meet. Baermann, known for his mural work at the Texas Rangers museum in Waco, also was honored. Rahe noted that Baermann used just seven colors in creating the work, which uses a wide variety of shades and hues. With half of Comal County’s residents having been here less than IO years, Rahe and Kelley said they found it important to bring out New Braunfels’ history in the form of murals. Kelley also announced plans for T-shirts, prints and other commemorative items to be made from the murals. A limited number of “City of a Prince” prints were available at the dedication ceremony. ;