New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 24, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas
Key Code 76Watching the river flowGood, not ideal, weekend expected
K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung
Tuesday afternoon saw a handful of people braving the cool water of the Guadalupe River for a slow ride.
Thanks to needed rainfall, officials will release IOO cubic feet per second from the dam throughout the weekend.
By Erin MAGRUDER
Those coming to the New Braunfels area Memorial Day weekend with dreams of floating down the Guadalupe River won’t be disappointed, although conditions likely won’t be ideal.
Thanks to the recent rainfall that gave a much-needed boost to Canyon Reservoir, Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority officials said Monday GBRA would release about IOO cubic feet per second or greater from the dam throughout the annual seasonal kick-off weekend.
The news might come as a relief to those worried seasonal tourism might all but dry up due to stubborn drought
The beefed up flows should be enough to allow adequate and safe recreational releases for the masses expected to crowd the river, said Water Oriented Recreation District manager George Cushanick.
“It’s not going to eliminate the shallow areas entirely, but the river will be navigable,” Cushanick said. “The river’s higher than its been in six months. It’s flowing good now, and people are still going to have a good time.”
Persistent drought conditions and declining levels at Canyon Lake prompted GBRA to implement federally-mandated drought release provisions April 30 to conserve the stored water supply of the reservoir, GBRA
general manager Bill West said.
Releases will be limited — despite predicted rainfall in the normally wet month of May — until the lake returns to the normal conservation level, 909 feet above mean sea level, said Judy Gardner, GBRA director of education and communication.
As of press time Tuesday, Canyon Reservoir elevation measured 905.1 feet above mean sea level.
GBRA officials said flows would not dip below 90 cfs throughout the weekend —a vast improvement over recent flows that dipped as low as 60 cfs, an insufficient release rate for recreation, officials said.
And tourists and residents planning See TUBING/3A
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■ New Braunfels Utilities customers with addresses ending in 5 can water today after 7 p.m. Well users with addresses ending in 4 or 5 can water today after 8 p.m.
18 pages in 2 sections
Public no shows at budget/tax hearing
From Staff Reports
Meetings intended to give the public a chance to comment on New Braunfels Independent School District’s proposed budget and tax rate were over in about eight minutes Monday night.
No one showed to give their 2-cents worth on the $40.3 million budget — up from last year’s $37,993 million budget — or the $1,786 per $100 of assessed valuation tax rate, up from $1.64.
NBISD is expected to set its budget for fiscal year 2000 in an adoption vote scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night.
Of the $1,786 tax rate, $1.48 — the same as last year and two cents below the state-mandated maximum — will go to maintenance and operations. The remaining 28.8 cents will go to debt service.
NBISD’s debt service is 12.8 cents higher than last year with the issuance of the first $22 million of last year’s $75 million bond for district renovations and upgrades. The 12.8 cents will be applied toward retiring that debt.
This year’s budget was cut about $1 million during the past few weeks to balance it. It hasn’t been an easy job, NBISD Superintendent Ron Reaves said.
“I think the board has done a very good job in reviewing the budget and making some very hard choices in cutting it $1 million so we could balance it,” Reaves said. “We know the cutbacks caused concerns. We’ll have to be creative; we’ll have to find some ways to do some things differently.”
■ Adoption vote on the new $40.3 million NBISD budget and $1,786 tax rate, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 30 in The Education Center, 430 W. Mill St.
Alternative funding debated for Prop. 2
By Heather Todd Staff Writer
New Braunfels residents will likely not have to pay back bonds for a new $700,000 public safety communications system after New Braunfels City Council decided Monday night to seek funding through existing revenue.
City council voted unanimously Monday night to enter into a contract with the Lower Colorado River Authority to purchase the communications system. Council also directed city staff to approach the New Braunfels Infrastructure Improvement Corporation (4B board) for funding.
The LCRA is offering the city a “state-of-the-art” communications system for $700,000 with an annual lease of $50,000.
Of the seven bond propositions, the communications system was the only one approved at the polls May 6. At $700,000, the communications system also was the cheapest bond proposal.
Because of the cost of the radio system, city staff said funding it through a bond issue would be cost prohibitive.
City Manager Mike Shantis said funding it through a bond issue could cost twice as much over the long-term.
Chet Lewis, chief financial officer for the city, also said the cost of issuance for a $700,000 bond would be between $20,000 and $30,000.
The interest on a 20-year bond at 6 to 6.5 percent would be an additional $520,000 to $570,000.
And, issuing bonds would automatically increase the tax rate by a little less than 1/2 cent.
District 6 councilwoman Juliet Watson said she would prefer using money out of the city’s general fund rather than exhaust 4B funds.
“I don’t want to take all the money out of 4B,” she said.
The city currently has an excess of $5 million and only $1 million is anticipated for future commitments.See COUNCIL/3A
Oberkampf household still dry
By Ron Maloney Staff Writer
Alice Oberkampf is still schlepping water from Landa Park and New Braunfels Utilities officials are still trying to figure out how to help her stop.
Oberkampf, who has been hauling gallon jugs of water out of the park for about four years, was the subject of a story that ran in the Her-ald-Zeitung a few weeks ago.
NBU hasn’t hooked her to the municipal system because the Texas Department of Transportation forbids cutting through the surface of a highway
At that time, various officials expressed surprise that Oberkampf — whose well water has been shown in tests to be unsafe to drink — had been getting her water in the park.
Oberkampf’s Highway 46 property was annexed into New Braunfels in 1981. She said she’s been told she would get city services, but municipal water has been a long time coming.
“At first it didn’t bother me,” Oberkampf said. “I wasn’t pushing for it because I preferred my own water. But we’ve had it checked several times, and it’s not fit to drink.”
NBU officials would need to run a
line under Farm-to-Market Road 1863 to give her water but the Texas Department of Transportation won’t allow them to cut through the roadway.
Roger Biggers, NBU assistant general manager, said estimates for boring a hole under the roadway ran upwards of $30,000, so NBU had decided it couldn’t afford the expense.
FM 1863 is slated for reconstruction, perhaps as early as next year.
Biggers called Oberkampf when he was told of her situation, and told her he would try to work things out
Oberkampf lugs water from Landa Park to her home, where the well water is unfit to drink. She pays city taxes but doesn’t receive city water,
Vol. 149 No. 133
New Braunfels Police Department detective John Villarreal, left, receives the Ed Murphy Memorial Award for outstanding ser: vice in law enforcement from Breakfast Lions Club member Ron Zipp.
May 24, 2000 tServing Comal County since 1852 50 cents
NBPD detective honored for outstanding service
By Erin MAGRUDER
Friends and coworkers of New Braunfels Police Department detective John Villarreal say he has never been one to seek the spotlight.
But behind the scenes — the FBI National Academy graduate has been working meticulously for more than 19 years to curb the criminal element and keep the city of New Braunfels safe for its residents.
And as a tribute to his efforts, the New Braunfels Breakfast Lions Club honored Villarreal Tuesday morning with its annual Ed Murphy
Memorial Award for outstanding service in law enforcement at Krause’s Cafe, 148 S. Castell Ave.
The breakfast lions were joined by NBPD Chief Ray Douglas and NBPD Lt. Mike Rust — who recommended Villarreal for the award “Outside the office I call him my friend, and inside the office he has the most tenacity I’ve ever seen,” Douglas said. “You don’t want to be the bad guy in one of his cases ... He is a man’s man and a policeman’s policeman.”
Villarreal has successfully investigated many felony cases, including murder and organized crime,
and also is an expert in the science of fingerprinting.
The award is named in remembrance of an officer with the Comal County Sheriff’s Office who was killed in a helicopter crash in 1981 while in the line of duty, said breakfast lion Ronald Zipp, who chaired the award selection committee.
“We’re glad to have someone of (Villarreal’s) type of stature win this award,” Zipp said. “We’re blessed in this community to have a lot of very skilled, very good law enforcement officers.”
Villarreal said receiving the award was significant because he
was acquainted with Murphy through his work in local law enforcement.
* “I appreciate the opportunity to be here this morning,” Villarreal said. “This award has a special attachment to me.”
NBPD detective Sean Gabbard, who has worked with Villarreal for six years, said his co-worker’s dedication and tenacity was admirable.
“Besides being a personal friend, he is one of the best investigators I have ever worked with,” Gabbard said. “He earned this recognition with the work he has done overall in the department.”