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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 30, 1994, New Braunfels, Texas WEDNESDAYJimmy Johnson resigns as coach of the Dallas Cowboys - See P. 9 50 CENTS COUNTDOWN: 356 DAYS New Braunfels Sesquicentennial March 21. 1845 March 21,1995 New Braunfels Herald -Zeitu 'N ^ 18 Pages in two sections ■ Wednesday, March 30,1994 Serving Comal County for more than 142 years ■ Home of HELEN VELA I Vol. 142, No. 97 Inside Obituaries.....................................2A Weather/water/pollen count............2A Opinion.........................................4A Letters to the editor......................SA Comics..........................................8A Sports Day...................................9A HEB advertisement....................10A Livestock show photos................1B Classified..................................4-8B SLimmtiscli Birthday wishes from the Herald-Zoltung! The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung extends the following birthday wishes to; Helen Vela, Ursula Brinheroff, Ramon Chapa, Sr., Charlotte Kulm, Harry Ornas, Sarah Schandua,,t^mi-da Suarez, Adolpho (A J.) Om-ga, Jr. (belated), Jamet Folia (belated), Nett Stockman. Happy Anniversary to Herbert St Lucille Ormond (54 yean!) Children sought for Kinderchor group The New Braunfels Kinderchor is looking for some new children to learn German songs. Beginner-only classes will start this Thursday, March 31 at 6:30 p.m. at the Senior Citizen Center on Landa St. For more information, please call David at 629-1785 or Oma at 625-9288. ‘Wurst* barbecue cookers sought Anyone interested in competing in the "wurst" barbecue competition in Texas should call Suzanne Herbelin at 62S-9167 to sign up. The Wurst Cook-Off and Dance is slated for Saturday, April 23 on the Wurstfest grounds in Landa Park. Entry fee is $50 per team for the first meat category, or $100 for two or three-meat categories. Cookers can also enter the side dish category for $10. After die cook-off, Ro-Tel and the Hot Tomatoes will perform at Wurathalle. Tickets will be $8 at the gate, or $6 in advance. Rttirvd Teachers to moot April 6 The New Braunfels Retired Teachers Association will meet April 6 in the NBISD Education Center Board Room. There will be coffee and cookies at 9:30 a.m. The program and business meeting will begin at IO a.m. and will consist of Laris Priesmeyer giving a review of Dave Barry’s humurous book, 'The Only Travel Book You Will Ever Need." 10th arnotto 10,000 set (or April 2 The 10th Annual G rue ne 10,000 will be held on April 2 at Gruene and will benefit Friends For Rivers. This year's run will be highlighted by the appearance of Bill Rodgers, six-time winner of the Boston and New York marathons. For more information, call (210>366-3701 or (512)472-3254. The event is sponsored by Brooks Shoes, Inc., Roger Soler'! Sports in San Antonio and Run-Tex of Austin. Marion VFC to hoot paneako breakfast The Marion Volunteer Fire Department will have an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at the f « station on Sunday, April IO f im 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.. Call Fire Chief Roger Scheffel at 914-2141 for more information. Stommrtach (The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung invites its readers to submit items to Slammtisck. According to the Sophienburg Archives and members cf the German community, "5100101030^ represents a sitting place for members of the community to gather and share the day's happenings. We invite you to share with ut.) Mayor Seidel says ‘sell NMP By JENNIFER ROMPEL Staff Writer New Braunfels Mayor Rudy Seidel has proposed the possibility of selling New Braunfels Utilities in order to allow the city to get a better return on its investment. The New Braunfels City Council met in a budget workshop Tuesday night. Much of the discussion centered around the city receiving a better return from NBU. Seidel, who serves on the NBU Board of Trustees, said he is setting the groundwork with NBU officials in order to receive more funds this year. The city expects to ask NBU to transfer $350,000 into the city revenue in addition to the payment in lieu of taxes that the utilities already provides. NBU is expected to pay S1, 115,000 to the city for a payment in lieu of taxes in the 1994-95 budget. Last year, the utilities provided the city with an additional $250,000. Seidel explained that NBU has assets of $95 million. He said if the city got a 5 percent return on its investment in NBU, it would receive approximately $4.75 million. If the city received a 2.5 percent return, it would gain $2,375,000. Last year the city received $1,088,120 plus a $250,000 transfer which is less than a 1.5 percent return, according to Seidel. “I have talked to someone who is familiar with utilities and found out we could sell NBU for up to $152 million. If we got only $130 million we could pay off bonds,” he said. Seidel also explained that the city could pay off money owed by NBU and then invest the remaining funds in long-term U.S. Treasury bonds. If those bonds received a 5 percent return, the city would receive $5 million per year, according to Seidel. “We could fix our drainage problems, all of the streets would be repaired or we could replace bridges and hire more police and fireman,” he said. “We could cut taxes by 40 percent and still have as much money coming in as we do now.” Seidel said Seguin receive $2 million from its utilities and San Marcos receives $3 million. He said he wants New Braunfels to get a “half way decent return on its investment.” If the city sold the utilities, the council would still have control over whether or not NBU could raise its rates. City Manager Mike Shands said the numbers discussed Tuesday night were used to illustrate the city’s point that more return is needed. Shands explained that the city’s charter provides for a public utilities board to be placed in charge of operating, managing and controlling the utilities. The city also has the right to abolish the board, according to the charter. The city has asked to meet with NBU officials on April 4 to discuss whether or not the utilities should transfer funds to the city in the 1994-95 budget. "The sale of the utilities would be very detrimental to the city of New Braunfels," said NBU General Manager Bob Sohn. Sohn said the utilities would not really be worth the $152 million Seidel had indicated. Sohn estimates the utilities, including water and sewer would be worth S92 million, while the electrical would be worth approximately S70 million. NBU owes S42 million, making the valued at approximately S30 million, he said. Sohn said the decision to give more money to the city would have to be discussed and approved by the utilities' board of directors. "I'm very shocked," he said, concerning the mayor’s statements of last night. Sohn added that if you raise utility rates to supplement the city's income, it would be, in effect, a hidden tax. Such a situation could have citizens outside the city subsidizing the city's income. In other business, the council also discussed making a deal with Wal-Mart Distribution Center. Officials from the city and from Wal-Mart arc expected to meet April 7 to discuss either annexing Wal-Mart or allowing the company to make payments in lieu of taxes. According to Mike Shands, Wal-Mart was under a tax abatement for seven years and beginning the eighth year the city would be allowed to bring in the center one-eighth at a time. Wal-Mart Distribution Center.currently pays taxes to the Comal Independent School District and the county but the city has received no taxes, according to Shawls. If an agreement not to annex is made the city could receive as much as $210,000 in 1994-95. If the arca was annexed, Wal-Mart could pay as much as $370,000 in taxes but it would not have to pay until 1996. Convenience store robbed By JENNIFER ROMPEL Staff Writer New Braunfels police officers are investigating an armed robbery that occurred at the Circle K convenience store on the comer of Landa and Walnut streets. The incident is reported to have occurred at 11:10 p.m. at thestore> One clerk was on duty at the time of the robbery. According to reports, four men entered the store. One of the men allegedly pointed a gun at the clerk and demanded money. Officers said the men had their faces covered with bandanas. The suspects got an undisclosed amount of money and several six packs of beer. According to officials, the clerk handed the entire cash drawer to the suspects. The suspects are estimated to be between the ages of 17 to 20. They are described as Hispanic males and one was reported to have been wearing a parka-type coat with a hood. Hank! Zeitung photo by JOHN HUSETH One-act play Mika Eldar (left) aa Helena, and Jamie Smelser (right) ae Puck were part of New Braunfels' winning one-act play preaentatlon of "A Midsummer Night*a Dream.” The New Braunfels High School group, along with the cast of "The Marriage of Figaro,” from Smltheon Valley High School, advanced out of District 2S-4A, Zone 2. City leaders, TOOT officials map out highway priorities By CRAIG HAMMETT Staff Writer Civic leaden gathered Tuesday night at city council chambers to address the future of highway systems around the area. Leaden from Comal and Guadalupe counties as well as New Braunfels and Seguin addressed officials with the Texas Department of Transportation with pleas for highway improvement projects. The major plea among New Braunfels and Comal County representatives was for the widening of Inter-Pate 35 from one end of the county to the other, especially the area within the city limits. “The most urgent need in our county is the completion of the 1-35 widening project,” said County Judge Carter Casteel in an opening address. Other officials echoed and expanded upon her statement. TxDOT estimates the project costs for upgrading 1-35 to six and eight lanes will reach nearly $1 OO million. TxDOT officials presented plans for 1994,1995, 1996 and lifted projects in the Project Development Plan (PDP) for 4-10 years. Most 1-35 construction is targeted in the 4-10 year part of the PDP. Some parts will be upgraded to six lanes while the stretch from 0.3 of a mile north of the southern intersection of FM 337 and 1-35 to 0.3 of mile north of FM 306 will be upgraded to eight lanes. Officials urged that this and other city and county ■■ ■■■■■■■■........................ road construction be moved ■ See related story, up on the project time table, page2A    especially that of 1-35 "    through New Braunfels. “Our highest priority is the completion of eight lanes of Interstate 35 to south and Interstate 35 to the north,” said Mayor Rudy Seidel. ‘‘I’m afraid the city will become a bottleneck with eight lanes from both sides to four lanes (in the city limits).” Members of a Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee joined council members and officials of the county to express concern for the crowded road conditions caused by growing population and tourism in the county. “Of critical importance is the completion of 1-35 and widening of (State) Highway 46,” said NBISD President Dick Robinett. “Beginning at 6 a m., we have a fleet of school buses out there . .It has become extremely hazardous loading and unloading on 46. It is a nightmare for school buses to get through on 35.” Mayor Pro Tem Butch Benitez agreed with the danger of Hwy. 46 and pointed to the danger of access roads on 1-35. “We feel it is important to address changing the frontage from two-way to one-way as soon as possible,’’ he said. "We’ve had several fatalities on the road" The problem, as always, is money. Local TxDOT engineer David Kopp said New Braunfels competes for funding with 16 other counties in the San Antonio district who believe their projects are just as important District Transportation Planning Engineer Clay Smith presented a program explaining the process by which construction is planned, approved and money appropriated. He said if 1-35 is designated a Federal Demonstration Project, it would help relieve funding and speed up the process. “The Demonstration Project designation would help get appropriations for a project over and above what they could get otherwise,’’ he said. “It would help it move faster and free us to move on to other projects around the arca.” Signing and pavement marking work is already underway on IH-35 from just north of FM 306 to the Hays County line. Work is also being done on a bridge on Spring Branch Rd. at the Guadalupe River and on a drainage structure on FM 2673 1.2 miles weft of FM 306. Unemployment rate on the rise, but number of unemployed increased, too By JENNIFER ROMPEL Staff Writer The unemployment rate in Comal County increased by two-tenths in * February; however, the number of people employed in the county is on the rise, according to statistics released by the Texas Employment Commission. The unemployment rate for February was 5.6 percent. January’s rate was 5.4 percent. The increase in the unemployment rate is extremely small, according to Al Debarros, of the Texas Employment Commission. “Over the entire month, this is a very small change. In fact, San Antonio went from 5.2 in January to 5.7. During this time of year, January and February, the unemployment rate usually goes up,” he said. “Comal County’s didn’t go up as much as San Antonio.” The unemployment rate increases during this time of year because the retail industry dismisses many employees who hired during the Christmas holidays, according to Debarros. “The retail trade reaches its lowest point in February,” said Debarros. "They start letting temporary people go and because of end-of-the-year reasons, they, and other companies, let a lot of people go. “It ii a seasonal drop. It is not unexpected. The part to look at is the total employed and total unemployed,” he said In February 1993, the total employed was 26,235 and the unemployment rate was 6 percent In February 1994, the total number of people employed was 27,491. The total number of people unemployed in February 1994 was 1,620 Comal County is included in the San Antonio Metropolitan Statistical Arca The number of people employed in the area in February was 647,800. This is up from 618,200 in February 1993. Formation of water district in rural Comal County to be discussed tomorrow By CRAIG HAMMETT Staff Writer The formation of a proposed water district in the north and western parts of Comal County will be the topic of discussion IO a.m. Thursday at the Guadalupe Valley Telephone Co. Auditorium. A hearing examiner's board from the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, formerly known as the Texas Water Commission, will hear a proposal from residents who want to form an underground water district. The district, if formed, would cover 64% of the county according to a report cited by Lt. Col. (Ret.) Cameron Wiley, one of the district’s main proponents. The district would be called the Comal Coun ty Underground Water Conservation District. This district is not part of the Edwards but rather the Trinity Aquifer The area is classified as a “critical” area of groundwater problems The district cannot obtain legitimacy until the TNRCC has heard opinions from the public before debating the issue in Austin and eventually, approving the district. If approved, a temporary board of directors will call an election of district residents to ratify the district and elect a board. The district would then have wide-ranging powers regarding usage of underground water. The Comal County commissioner’s court will meet one hour earlier at 8 a m Thursday, then proceed to the Guadalupe Valley office for the district hearingBuying? Selling? Look first in The Marketplace, Comal County's bargain center! ;