New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 27, 1994, New Braunfels, Texas
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IN SPORTS DAY - Unicorns fall to St. Gerard in consolation finals of Clemens tournament Saturday, P.8A
People 1B‘A little off the top, please’
Barber shops are still the placeDowntown Assoc, plansannual tree lighting ceremony
■ Page 3A
Sunday, becoming partly cloudy, breezy and turning colder with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. High in the mid-70s with temperatures lowering into the 50s.Usa Weltzer takes aim at national championship - SA
Letters to the editor......................5A
Birthday wishes from the Herald-Zeitung!
The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung extends the following birthday wishes to; Barbara Flle-bracht, Evelyn Jonas, Raul Rosales Jr., (4 years!), Melissa Davila, Dennis Hermes, Frances M. Rosales (Saturday), Jesus (Bubba) Hernandez, III, Lucy Garcia (Saturday), Judith Schmidt, Hildegarde Slocum, Annie Jones (Monday), Alice Partida (Monday), Margaret Tudyk (Monday), John J. Fahsl (Saturday), Albert G. MacNaul, Joe R. Miller, Mason K. Blake, Jr., (Monday), Cheatham Parke (Monday), M.A. Peterson (Monday), Gery Kok (Saturday), Jack Pennel (Saturday), Helen Rub-now (Saturday), John Thompson (Saturday), Marie Tolar (Saturday), Freddie Buch, J.D. Harrell, Alice Haugen, Pat Woods Janette Buchanan (Monday), Robert Erdmann (Monday), Lucille Fischbeck (Monday), Freddy Fischer (Monday), Lois Holmstrom (Monday), Roger Jacob (Monday), Alice Janiceh (Monday), Evline Johnson (Monday), Bob Van Zandt (Monday), Humberto Vega, Pat Rosales (belated), Rachel Rosales. Happy Anniversary to Hilmar & Norma Schwab (68 YEARS!), Millie & Verdie Brown (46 YEARS!).
Hot under the hood
Herald-Zeitung photo by MICHAEL DARNALL Ntw Braunfels Firs Fighters responded to a report of a car firs Friday afternoon st 2 p.m. near the Intersection of FM1044 and the 1-35 access road. The car, driven by Jennifer Campbell, caught on lira but fire fighters ware not able to determine the causa of the fire by press time. There were no injuries in connection with the fire.
The winning numbers
Hard times dot delinquent list
By ROGER CROTEAU
To talk to some of the people with the largest delinquent property tax bills in the county is to hear stories of hard times, failed businesses and broken dreams.
Stone Creek R.V Park along Interstate 35 in Schertz is typical As of Nov. 7, Stone Creek owed more than $59,000 in property taxes to the county.
That amount includes county, school and other taxes the county collects. The county collects taxes for the Comal Independent School District, EMS, rural fire districts and other taxing entities that do not collect their own taxes, but contract with the county.
“We were in bankruptcy,” said Stone Creek owner Floyd McKee. “We are working out a payment plan. We have finally come out of bankruptcy, and we have most of our debts paid off.”
He said he and his wife opened the RV park to take advantage of the nearby Retama Race Track, but Ret ama is three years behind schedule in opening, so the crowds of RVs they were expecting never materialized, then investors, including a former Schertz mayor, Roy Richards, died, and the bills started to pile up.
“When Retama opens it will give us a huge influx of business," McKee said. “In the meantime the interest and penalties are eating us up. We are still working out a deal with the county to set up a payment schedule... It hat been a gut-wrcnch-ing thing. My wife and I have not
taken a salary in three years ”
E.B. Wendell owes $48,704 in back property taxes. The trouble started when he had a heart attack and closed his auto dealership, which was located near the Smokehouse on Highway 81.
He has paid off all his debts except the note on the land and the property taxes, he said. He said he expects the property to be foreclosed on by the mortgage company that holds the note
“This has been going on for more than three years now ... Everybody understands that something has to be done with the property and when it is sold, the taxes will be paid,” Wendell said.
Lake of the Hills, a 250-lot subdivision near Spring Branch, owes $133,061 in back property taxes. It was hit hard by the real estate collapse of the mid-80s.
Irene Schaeferkoeter said the property was in the family for many Vears and was subdivided, but when the lots did not sell, it was impossible to pay the taxes.
Schaeferkoeter, an elderly widow, said her income went down when her husband died and added that taxes have gone up. “I don’t have the income, but I do' make monthly payments on these properties.”
Tax Assessor-Collector Gloria German said Schaeferkoeter makes payment! of $35 a month.
The Herald-Zeitung allo attempted to reach Peter and Frances DeNunzio of Spring Branch, who owe $53,883 in property taxes France! DeNunzio declined to comment.
New Braunfels Sesquicentennial March 21, 1845 March 21, 1995
Christmas craft fair set for Dec. 3
A Christmas ( raft Fair is planned for Saturday, Dec. 3 from 9 a m. to 4 p m. at Tree Tops Restaurant in New Braunfels.
The event is being sponsored by Freedom Fellowship Church in New Braunfels.
There will be special appearances by the Spurs Coyote, Iggy the Clow n and music will be provided by "True Diversity."
For more information, call 625-1288.
This newspaper is
printed on recycled am
Driver who hit Plaza Fountain could get sentence, fine
By TECLO J. GARCIA
The suspected drunk driver, who drove his car into the Plaza Fountain three weeks ago, will more than likely be sentenced to 90 days in jail and fined $1,000 Comal County Attorney Nathan Rheinlander said Tuesday.
Rheinlander said that is what the county usually fines those cited for DW1 in their offense. The driver, Ausinite Gilbert Martinez had no record prior to the crash.
However, Rheinlander said Martinez would have to pay restitution, mostly to cover the city'! insurance deductible on the damaged fountain, if he is convicted. The deductible was set at $1,000 and city official! have received some donations to meet the financial demand.
Martinez, 20, ran his car into the Plaza Fountain in Oct. 31, destroying the recently reftiiblihed municipal landmark. He WM charged with a DWI and causing property damage. Martinez was arraigned on Nov. 3 and releaaed on
$1,000 bond on Nov. 4.
The twenty-year-old traveled north on Seguin St. just after midnight when he came to the Main Plaza intersection According to police reports of the accident, Martinez did u * stop or slow down, but went straight through the intersection and into the center of the plaza, crashing into the fountain, breaking it into three large pieces and shattering the base.
Martinez was measured by police to have twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system at the time of the wreck. The maximum penalty for a first offense DWI is a $2,000 fine and two years in jail. There was one passenger riding in the car Martinez had borrowed. The car was not insured and Martinez alto did not have insurance Rheinlander will also seek for Martinez to perform community service in New Braunfels, although he said Martinez could have that transferred to his home town of Austin.
Rheinlander allo laid if Martinez is unable to get an attorney and oonteit the charges, it could be several weeks before an outcome in the case could be determined.
United Way kudos
Congratulations to the employees and corporation of TXI Industries, under the leadership of David Sansing, they raised a total of $9,844 for this year's United Way campaign. This represents a 23% increase over last year's fund-raising efforts with an average gift of $59 with 100% participation
Est S3 million jackpot
New Braunfels SUNDAYHerald -Zeitung "
42 Pages in three sections ■ Sunday, Nov. 27,1994 Serving Comal County for more than 142 years ■ Home of BARBARA ELLEBRACHT ■ vol. 142, No. 273Delinquent tax totals on steady decline
County still owed nearly $787,000 in back taxes
By ROGER CROTEAU
They say nothing is certain except death and taxes, and in Comal County its up to Gilbert T Bragg to make sure the part about property taxes stays true.
Bragg, an attorney with MoCreary, Vcsclka, Bragg and Allen, an Austin law firm, has the contract with Comal County to collect delinquent property taxes.
And by all accounts, he is doing a good job.
“In the four years I have been on the commissioners court, we have had a very aggressive firm collecting for us,” said County Judge Carter Casteel. “The amount of delinquent taxes has been dropping steadily. Mr. Bragg joked drat he is working himself out of a job, he won’t have anything left to collect. We end up collecting more than IOO percent of the taxes owed because of penalties and interest. I am very pleased with what they have done. They have done everything they said they would and more.’’
Bragg’s law firm gets 15 percent of the delinquent taxes it helps collect. As of Nov. 7 there was $785,656 in delinquent property taxes owed to the county, plus more than $400,000 in penalties and interest.
This year they taxpayers in the county owe xxxx in property taxes to the county. Already, more than S6,100,000 has been collected.
“We don’t have a lot of delinquent taxes and one reason we don’t is that we have a very active delinquent tax attorney ... who mounts an aggressive collection effort. Since we started with this firm our delinquent tax rolls have shrunk dramatically. In fact, the past few years I have started bud-geting less for delinquent taxes because the rolls are not as big,” said County Auditor Bate Bond.
Last year the county tax levy was S6.56 million. More than 96 percent of that was collected, leaving $267,000 owed, but more than that was collected in taxes owed from previous years, making the total collection more than IOO percent.
Property tax bills were mailed earlier this month, and the taxes are due by Jan. 31,1995.
If you have not paid your bill by Feb. I, that tax owed gets a six percent penalty tacked on, plus one percent
interest. The interest keeps piling up with an additional one percent added each month, up to 12 percent Then an extra 15 percent penalty can be added
“You can see how fast that can add up," said Comal County Tax Assessor-Col lector Gloria Clerum “Before long they can owe almost as much in penalties and interest as the original tax ”
Bragg said that when a person or business lets its tax become delinquent the county starts mailing notices to the person After three notices, it gets turned over to Bragg, who sends two more letters. Then any lien holders ane notified of the delinquent property tax “That gets a lot of them in, because if the taxes are not paid, the lien holder will move to foreclose on the property to protect its investment. They will foreclose before we do usually,” Bragg said.
If the taxes still are not paid, Bragg files suit, gaining the county the right
to foreclose on the property. If the county does foreclose the property is sold at auction on the courthouse steps. If the county docs not foreclose the lien is paid when the owner sells the property.
Clennan said the county has not foreclosed on a person’s home since she has been in office. “I would be very reluctant to try to take a person’s home away,” she said.
However, raw land, investment property or the inventory of businesses are more often fair game.
Not long ago, the county seized and sold several travel trailers from Stahl mann RV sales near Sol ms, Gentian said.
"When I came into office you could not believe the accounts on delinquent taxes. There was just a big pile of them. I said ‘what arc you doing about them,’ and I was told ‘nothing.’ That is when we went to Bragg,” Clennan saidFor subscription, advertising or new£ information, call 625-9144 (Metro 606-0846)
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