New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 2, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas
May 2, 2003
16 pages in 2 sections
■MHH* ___ id pages in £ seemHerald-Zeitung
Vol. 152, No. 145Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852
Laying down the costs
Th® 2003 Street Inventory and Condition Study found the following routine street repairs ere needed m New Braunfels:
■ 58 streets need to be reconstructed. Cost per square foot: $1.75 Total cost: $7,156,378
■ 195 streets need an overlay Cost per square
foot: 78 cents. Total cost $8,075,519
■ 160 streets need a seal coat. Cost per square foot: 18 cents. Total cost: $1,555,839
■ 180 streets need a crack seal. Cost per square foot: $0,007. Total cost: $51,688
■ 297 streets need no action ____
Total repair costs: $16,839,402
PROPOSITION 2, WHAT DOES IT DO?
It would reduce the sales tax set aside for economic development from 3/8th8 of one cent to 1/8th of one cent. Revenues dedicated for economic development would be reduced from $2.25 million to $750,000 per year.
PROPOSITION 3, WHAT DOES IT DO?
It would create a sales tax to be set aside for street maintenance in the amount of 1/4 of one cent. This would produce $1.5 million in revenue annually for street repair of existing roads.
Is it streets, or jobs?
Arguments for, against propositions not that simplistic; both sides show costs, benefits and a large impact on city’s future
By Dylan Jim£nez
Buffeted by tough economic times, New Braunfels voters must decide Saturday how to spend one of the city’s largest revenue sources.
In question is $1.5 million in sales tax dollars that now comprise two-thirds of the funds controlled by the city’s Infrastructure/Improvement Corporation Board of Directors (4B).
That board is charged with encouraging commercial development.
Voters must decide
on two propositions (2 FLFCTION 2003
and 3) that would CvllWl &lnM
divert that $1.5 million in sales taxes from economic development to street maintenance.
City Manager Chuck Pinto said “dollars in, dollars out,” the propositions don’t affect the general fund.
But the vote could alter how the city's share of sales tax dollars are being used.
Sales tax revenues make up about $6 million of a $20 million city budget.
Pinto, who is obligated to take no stance on the* ballot items, recognizes the importance of street maintenance and economic development. He sees the 4B tax and the proposed street maintenance tax as fiscal tools only.
He and his staff would use whichever the voters favor.
HOW BAI) AKE THE STREETS?
One of the major arguments in the debate about Prop isitions 2 and 3 is how many roads could be fixed by the funds generated by the proposed changes.
Those favoring the propositions claim they would take a bite out of street maintenance problems quickly, but opponents favor a long-term plan that would address repairs by building economic development.
The city’s 895 roads are about 224 miles long, and the typical road in New Braunfels is about 32 feet wide.
How much it would cost to fix a mile of roadway depends on the type
of repairs needed. Repairs could cost as little as $0,007 per square foot of road to seal cracks, or as much as $1.75 per square foot of road to reconstruct. Thus, repairs for one mile of road could cost between $1,182.72 and $295,680.
It took city staff six months to inventory and assess city streets. The roads were then rated and compared so that street repair could be prioritized. A comprehensive maintenance program has not been established.
According to the inventory, the total assessed cost of necessary routine street repair is about $16.8 million.
The study found that about two thirds of the city’s streets need some kind of repair. Fifty-eight streets need to be dug up and reconstructed at a cost of about $7 million.
Currently, the city spends $200,000 per year for routine street repair.
At that rate, it would take the city 84 yearn to complete the $16.8 million worth of needed street repair.
Propositions 2 and 3 would reportedly speed up those repairs by earmarking $1.5 million per year for four years ($6 million total) to street repair. After four years, the propositions would have to be reinstated by popular vote.
It would take the city 30 years at $200,000 to accomplish what Propositions 2 and 3 would accomplish in four years.
Pinto said there is an additional $16 million in street projects not listed in the street inventory. These include drainage projects and the construction of new roads, such as the County lane Road extension and the Gruene Road/Hike and Bike 'Brail. Nom* of the $200,(XKJ budget for repairs is spent on these type? projects.
Mayor Adam Cork promotes a longterm plan of strong economic development that would fund the street repairs gradually by increasing the city’s commercial tax base.
DAVIO INGRAM/Herakj Zesting
(Top) Voting clerk Kathy Hoegenauer explains to election judges and clerks how the Eagle ballot counting machine will work at the polling locations during elections Saturday. (Above) Deputy voting clerk Liz Ladshaw and New Braunfels City Secretary Michael Resendez perform a “logic and accuracy test” on the vote-counting computer in the Comal County Courthouse as election judges and clerks look on. The group gathered Thursday to learn how the tallying process will work.
spent in New Braunfels:
sales tax is paid.
the tax spilt
How is that $8.25 divvied up?
R $6.25 goes to the state
■ $1.00 goes to the city's general fund
■ 50 cents goes to the county
■ 37.5 cents goes to the 4B fund for economic development
■ 12.5 cents goes to keeping property taxes down
Bulverde hopefuls outline need for long-term planning
By Ron Maloney
BULVERDE — Early voting closed Tuoh-day in Bulverde with 125 of 3,043 regis-tered voters casting ha I Iota in Huh year’a municipal election — a turnout ho far of 4 percent.
City Secretary Phyl* lia Peterson aaid voting will he conducted between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday at Bulverde City Hall, Suite 236 of the Bulverde Market (/enter, 30070 U.S. 281 N.
Two at-large aeata are up for election.
There are four candidate#. The two pulling the highest number of vote# wiU be elected
Alderman Charlie Baetz, who thia pant November won Ina Heat in a apodal election, will Meek a full two-year term.
Sarah Stevick, Elliott L. Franklin and Cindy Oro## join Baetz in the contest.
■ Bulverde alderman candidate question
■ CISO Candida to questionnairesMA
‘Guadalupe open, better than ever’ |NSIDE
DAVID INGRAM/!terakl /artariyMichelle Ducan arid Aubnana Allen of New Braunfels spent their Thursday tubing down foe Guadalupe near Gruene.
By Ron Maloney
Got your tube, crank up your boom box and bring your beer.
Comal County official# Maid Thursday tho Guadalupo River la eleanor than ovor, and river flow# will be optimal when this aum mer’a tubing aoaaon kick# oft.
“I want everyone to know Comal County ia open for business, and the Guadalupe la better than it ha# ever been,” aatd Precinct I Commissioner Jack Dawaon.
“In (kmiul County, nothing baa changed You can bring your stereos. Theres no noise ban and no alcohol ban,” Dawaon Maid.
Dawaon, who in acting
county judge while Danny School is away on vacation, said it ia a vital message to get across to the touring and tubing public.
“It’a important that we bounce hack from what we leat last year,** Dawson aaid.
In 2002, the July flood abut down the county just in advance of ita aecond lag holiday. The Guadalupe was closed until I^abor Day.
County Auditor David Kenken aaid Comal County lost about $200,000 of ita budgeted $3,550,(XX) in 2002 sales tax revenues because of the flood.
'Dus year, Reuken said, the (xmnty would budget just less than $4 million for sales tax revenues.
“Not all citizens may want
the tourists here,” Dawaon aaid. “But people need to understand that oui1 haJf-cent county aalea tax represents IO cents on their ad valorem property tax rate. Instead of 33 cents jx;r $ I OO, it would be 43 cents that’s a fact.”
Dawaon met Bus past week with Lee Wiederhold, the local representative of the Natural Resource Conservation Service, and had been assured that the riverbed cleanup would hi! completed by May 8.
A second contract, for cleaning private property along the shoreline, will take a little longer, hut work should be completed before May 30, Dawson said.See GUADALUPE^
Key Cods ta