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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 7, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas NEWi^Ud«FELS 20332    1300 9 10/22/93 SO-WEST niCROPUBI. ISHINO 2627 E YONDELL DR EL POSO, TX 79903- 6 8Herald-Zeitung Hi Vol. 148, No. 121 SS'-:................. 24 pages in 2 sections May 7, 1999 Friday Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents ROBIN CORNETT/HeraJd-Zertung Three juveniles, two of which are accused of shooting at teachers’ homes, are led into a sheriff’s deputy’s car after their court appearance Thursday. Teen shooting suspects face felony charges By Chris Crews Staff Writer Two New Braunfels teen-agers accused of firing gunshots at the homes of two Canyon Middle School teachers headed back to a Colorado County juvenile detention facility after a hearing at die Comal County Courthouse on Thursday. Criminal District Attorney Dib Waldrip said a Comal County grand jury determined Wednesday the boys be charged with deadly conduct, a third degree felony. lf convicted, they could be sentenced for up to IO years in a Texas Youth Commission facility. The two would be eligible for parole in one year, said Carol Robison, the county’s director of juvenile probation. The families and attorneys of the two 14-year-olds pleaded for the boys to be released to the custody of their parents, but County Judge Danny Scheel ordered them returned to the juvenile center, near Houston. Robison said some of the pre-trial work could be completed in time for the next detention hearing, set for May 20. In addition to the two counts of deadly conduct the pair also faces charges on two counts of criminal mischief for defacing property at the teachers’ homes, shooting five plate glass windows at New Braunfels High School, defacing property at OakRun School and one count of unlawful restraint. Police said most of the offenses occurred on April 20 during an early-morning rampage, just hours before two Colorado teens terrorized a school and killed 13 people before taking their own lives. The Canyon Middle School students were taken to the juvenile detention facility after they were taken into custody April 21. Canyon Middle School principal Nancy Cobb and several teachers from the school attended Thursday’s hearing. At the request of the attorneys, the hearing was closed to the media and others attending not directly related to the case. “We haven \t been able to use the money in this capacity before. Ifs just great for New Braunfels!* New Braunfels City Councilwoman Juliet Watson “To risk (the tourism dollars) would be foolish, especially when the real engine of the sales tax is visitors spending money.” Greater New Braunfels Chambsr of Commerce president Michael Meek ROBBI CORNETT/HeraW-Zeitung Two visitors from Midland relax in the pool Thursday at the Super 8 Motel, 510 Highway 46 South. A debate is raging over Senate Bill 1772, which could change the way local hotel/motel tax money is spent. Hotel/Motel Tax HOW MUCH: Now Braunfels generates about $2.26 million a year in hotel/motel tax. HOW: 13 percent tax on the cost of a room State City Hotel/Motel Tax Hotel/Motel Tax HOW MUCH: New Braunfels HOW MUCH: New Braunfels generates about $1 04 million in generates about $1.22 million in state hotel/motel tax. city hotel/motel tax. HOW: 6 percent tax on the cost HOW: 7 percent tax on the cost of a room of a room WHERE IT GOES: WHERE IT GOES: • 1/2 of 1 percent goes toward • 74.286 percent goes to the advertising for the Texas Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Department of Commerce tourism Commerce division • 14.286 percent goes to the Arts • 2 percent goes to Galveston for and Heritage organizations beach cleanup • 11.428 percent goes to upkeep • 97.5 percent goes into general of the New Braunfels Civic Center revenue fund more, proposing an undesignated percentage of the city’s portion of hotel/motel tax revenue be used for river cleanup instead of state bed tax funds. The state’s hotel/motel tax revenue is funded through a 6 percent tax. Through this. New Braunfels generated about $1.04 million in fiscal year 1998, which was all given back to the state. The city’s hotel/motel tax revenue is funded through a 7 percent tax. New New Braunfels’ local bed tax generated about $1.22 million in fiscal year 1998, which was divvied up between the chamber (74.286 percent), arts and heritage organizations (14.286 percent), and upkeep of the New Braunfels Civic Center (11.428 percent). Wentworth said, “There was a number of senators concerned about (local river cleanup costs) coming out of state funds. I wanted to diminish the opposition.’’ Watson said she told aides in Wentworth’s and Zaffirini’s offices to do what they could to prevent the bill from dying. The Senate approved the amended bill 27-2. Watson said, “I was happy that they kept it alive. It would have been killed if it were taken out of the state’s revenue. I think it was a step in the right direction for our rivers. They’ve made so much money for New Braunfels, so now we will be able to put some money back into our rivers that have been so generous to us.’’ Watson said she would like to see money spent on park rangers, whose duties would include reminding people not to litter and pollute See TAX/5 A Room tax war Changes to Senate bill open local tourism dollars for river cleanup By Peri Stone Staff Writer AUSTIN — New Braunfels’ attempt to get a share of the state motel room tax revenue for river cleanup has turned into a political tug-of-war over how local room tax money should be spent. A state Senate bill originally calling for 2 percent of state hotel/motel tax funds to clean rivers in New Braunfels was modified so the money will come out of the local bed tax revenues instead. The bill also doesn't say how much — or how little — the city should use for river cleanup. The Senate approved the amended bill Wednesday, sending it on to the House for consideration. Since the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce receives the bulk of the city’s hotel/motel tax revenue to promote tourism, the change eventually could reduce the amount of funds available for tourism promotion. Lobbyists with the state hotel/motel tax association argue the bill could set a dangerous precedent, eroding funding for promotion of tourism dollars statewide. But supporters of Senate Bill 1772, including city council member Juliet Watson, who spearheaded the drive for the legislation, say it’s only fair some of the money be used to maintain the rivers since they attract so many of the tourists to the city. Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, introduced the SB 1772, proposing that 2 percent of the state hotel/motel tax revenue, or $400,000, be used for river cleanup in New Braunfels. In April, the intergovernmental relations committee approved the bill with 1/4 of I percent, or about $50,000, of the state hotel/motel tax revenue to come back to New Braunfels for river cleanup. On Wednesday, Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, who coauthored the bill, amended it even ROBBI CORNETT YierakJ-Zartung Teachers who were targets of the vandalism, along with others, enter the Comal County Courthouse Thursday afternoon. Minimum lot sizes increased to five acres By Chris Crews Staff Writer lf you are looking to buy land in Comal County in the future, the cost will be higher than it was yesterday. County commissioners voted Thursday to increase the minimum lot size for housing developments. The new regulations went into effect immediately and designated one acre as the minimum lot size for lots supplied by a public water system and five acres for lots with private wells. Hie previous rules allowed for one-half acre lots with a public water supply and three acres for lots with a private well. County Engineer Tom Homseth said the county had the authority to regulate lot size based on a clause in state law allowing counties to make rules pertaining to water availability. “There is not enough water (in the Edwards Aquifer) if the entire county is laid out in one-half acre lots,” Homseth said. Commissioner Jack Dawson said new rules were necessary to manage water resources and regulate growth. “We’ve got to protect our current res idents to make sure they don’t run out of water and have good roads to drive on,” Dawson said. Commissioner Jay Minikin was the only member to vote against the new rules. His opposition was based on the lack of public notice. Based on provisions in Senate Bill I, a public hearing was not necessary before changing the rules on lot size. “This certainly affects people’s property values. I’m just not sure it’s the right thing to do,” Minikin said.See SIZES/5A Inside Abby............................ 7A Classifieds.................... 8-14B Comics........................ ......8A Crossword................... ......7A Forum.......................... ......6A Local/Metro................. ......4A Movies......................... ......7A Obituaries.................... ......3A Sports.......................... ...1*48 Today.......................... ......2A Television..................... ......8A Kay code 76 CISD board OKs new dress code By Heather Tooo Staff Writer Beginning next fall, it won’t matter whether it’s Marilyn Manson or Mickey Mouse across the front of a T-shirt for a student to be in violation of school dress code policy. Comal Independent School District board of trustees approved broad dress code policy changes for middle and high school students in a 6-1 vote Thursday night The board also unanimously approved Sandra Hancock, an assistant principal at Smithson Valley High School, as the new principal for Spring Branch Middle School.See CISD/5A ;