New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 26, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
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Vol. 158, No. 116
16 pages, 2 sections Inside
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Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
45TH ANNUAL TEXAS LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE‘Don’t have a shortfall’Lt. governor gives optimistic view of state budget session on agenc[a
► MONDAY MEETING
Council, employee relations
By Greg Bowen
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst gave an optimistic view of the Texas budget situation during remarks made Friday at the 45th annual Texas Legislative Conference sponsored by Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce.
Speaking before a crowd estimated at 275 at New Braunfels Civic Convention Center, Dewhurst said the state doesn’t have a $27 billion shortfall.
“As a matter of fact, arguably, we don’t have a shortfall,” he said. “I know this is in contrast to what you’ve heard. Ours is more of a cashflow timing event.”
Dewhurst did acknowledge that writing the new state budget is “going to be tough.” But, he said, Texas faced budget crunches in previous years and solved them.
This time around, he said, gross revenues for the next biennium will be more than the current biennium’s revenues — and the state has the ability to fund education at the same level as it’s now funded — or even higher.
The state also can fund Medicaid at the same benefit levels, he said.
Also, the new budget will keep prisoners locked up and will include minimal reductions for the state’s universities, said Dewhurst.
Legislators will be looking for every opportunity to save by cutting expenses — and are seeking out sources of nontax revenues, he said. Lawmakers also are looking at selling off assets.
“Things we’re working on in the Legislature are going to make a difference,” he said.
The lieutenant governor drew applause when he said he is sensitive about sending down a budget with unfunded mandates for counties and other local governments.
Dewhurst also said neither he nor Gov. Rick Perry would support a tax increase.
“You could take Governor Perry and myself and tie us
See DEWHURST, Page 9A
LAURA McKENZIE/H erald-Zeitu ng
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst provides his perspective on issues addressed during Friday morning's panel discussions while speaking at theTexas Legislative Conference at New Braunfels Civic Convention Center.
Leading legislative lights speak at conference
By Greg Bowen
Some of the state’s top lawmen and legislative leaders spoke in New Braunfels Friday during the city’s annual Texas Legislative Conference.
Mayor Bruce Boyer said the conference, now in its 45th year, gives residents “the opportunity to educate ourselves on the critical issues of our times.”
Critical issues discussed included border security, state budget problems and redistricting of political districts.
Steven McCraw, director of theTexas
Department of Public Safety, said the unsecured border with Mexico is “the most significant vulnerability in Texas.”
The porous border allows individuals with ties to international terrorism to enter Texas and has resulted in Mexican drug cartels working with prison gangs in Texas and operating in our cities, he said.
“There’s no bounds in terms of the viciousness they'll employ,” McCraw said.
The cartels have killed 34,000 in
Mexico since 2006, he said. Their beheadings and acid baths “put Al-Qaeda to shame.”
State Sen. Tommy Williams, chairman of the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee, said cartel violence is too gory even for TV news.
In one case, Williams said, cartel gunmen in Mexico “lined up 72 immigrants and mowed them down with automatic weapons. It was just like you saw the Nazis do during World War II.”
McCraw drew applause when he See CONFERENCE, Page 9A
Proposal outlines proper communication between officials, workers
By Greg Bowen
A policy outlining what would be proper communication between members of city council and city employees will be considered when New Braunfels City Council meets on Monday.
The policy is a result of the council’s recent annual review of City Manager Mike Morrison.
Policy points include:
When: 4 p.m., Monday Where: New Braunfels City Hall, 424 S. Castell Ave.
members should direct information requests through the city manager, the assistant city manager or department directors.
• Staff will inform the city manager when a councilor makes a request, so the manager is aware of the council's requests and needs.
• Council/staff contact is expected during the normal course of city business and/or in social situations.
• Staff will make every effort to respond in a timely and professional manner to all requests for information or assistance made by individual council members.
• Staff will provide council timely information on issues that will appear on upcoming council agendas or events/issues affecting the councilor’s district.
Monday’s meeting will begin at 4 p.m., with a workshop session during which a discussion will be held concerning replacing in its entirety Section 5.16 of the city’s short-term rental ordinance.
Agenda items on the council’s 6 p.m. agenda include:
• Update on the city’s siren system project by Fire Chief John Robinson.
• Approval of a resolution funding $68,000 for engineering and related professional
See AGENDA, Page 9A
■ NEWS, 2ANew Braunfels woman keeping tradition alive
■ SPORTS, 1BAthletes impress at Ranger Relays
■THE WORLD, SAQatar first Arab nation to help with no-fly zone
SATURDAY, MARCH 26, 2011
Spring Break 2011 described as good by local businesses
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Dring breakerTim Redus inflates a tube before floating e Comal River with a group of friends March 18.
By J. Louise Larson
Spring break 2011 was a windfall for New Braunfels businesses that count on tourism traffic.
That’s the word from Judy Young, director of New Braunfels Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“There was lots of traffic, lots of spring breakers, and lots of folks that were at our attractions as well,” Young said. “There was foot traffic, there was vehicle traffic
and there was river traffic. It was good.” Landa Park was hopping — the mini train was a big hit, and the new play areas were full of kids enjoying them, she said.
“The season’s upon us when I see my first mini-van rolling down the road with tubes tied to the top,” Young said.
While there won’t be measurable numbers until the sales and hotel tax information is released by the Texas State Comptroller’s office, price hikes at the gas
See BREAK, Page 9A