New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 7, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 2A — Herald-Zeitung — Friday, October 7, 2005
Time running out for voters, candidates in city election
By Leigh Jones
Former New Braunfels City Councilman Ken Valentine might not be former much longer.
Valentine is the only person so far to tile his candidacy for the District 6 special election scheduled for Nov. 8.
Potential opponents have until 5 p.m. today to join the race.
Valentine said Tuesday he had not heard any rumors of competition.
“All’s quiet on the western front,” he quipped, saying he was prepared to fight to reclaim his seat if anyone was up to the challenge.
Valentine lost the May election to Lynn Limmer by only 13 votes.
City council called next
■ Candidate forms and election information packets are available at City Hall, 424 S. Casten Ave. For information, call 608-2100, ext. 211.
■ Voter registration forms are available at the Comal County Tax Assessor-Collector's office, 205 N. Seguin Ave. Voters who register in person are not required to bring any form of identification. For information, call 620-5520.
months special election after Limmer resigned in July.
Friday also is the last day to register to vote for the Nov. 8 election.
Although 4,393 District 6 residents are registered, only 735 went to the polls for the last election.UTILITY
CONTINUED FROM Page 1AElectric, natural gas prices linked
The two largest electric utilities doing business in Comal County, Pedernales Electric Cooperative and New Braunfels Utilities, get the bulk of the electricity they sell from the Lower Colorado River Authority. Four of the LCRA’s seven power plants are fueled by natural gas.
“Electric rates and natural gas prices are usually tied very closely,” said Ann Harvey, PEC spokeswoman. “We’re working with LCRA right now and don’t have any specific numbers to report. As soon as we do, well let the public know.”
PEC, she noted, experiences peak demand in the winter time, as many of its members use electricity to heat.
New Braunfels Utilities
Communications Manager Gretchen Reuwer said LCRA had notified NBU that it could expect an increase in fuel recovery charges.
“This is going to translate into higher costs for electricity,” Reuwer said.
NBU has programs to help people mitigate the increased costs, she said. Energy audits are free to business and residential customers and can be scheduled by calling 629-8440.
“We also have a budget billing program. It spreads your payments into equal monthly installments,” Reuwer said. “That might help with some of the sticker shock you get with the ups and downs of your electric bill.”
Any NBU sales representative can help a customer get on the budget plan, Reuwer said. They can be reached at 629-8400.
Centerport Energy, which provides natural gas in New Braunfels, is forecasting higher natural gas bills for its cus
tomers this winter.
A New Braunfels resident using 4,000 cubic feet of natural gas (the national average per household) paid $52.98 in January 2005. By September, the same household would have paid $62.03 — an increase of 17 percent. By this month, it is expected to increase to $70.10 — an increase of 32 percent.
“Higher natural gas prices do not mean higher profits for CenterPoint Energy,” said CenterPoint spokeswoman Alicia Dixon in a news release. “We charge the same amount that we pay for natural gas, so CenterPoint Energy does not profit from natural gas price increases. Our profits are earned solely from the distribution fee for delivering gas to our customers.”
Anyone who needs help with their gas bill should call the assistance number on die bill, Dixon said.
In New Braunfels, the Community Service Center, the Community Council of South
Central Texas, the Salvatioi Army and many local church es work together to help peo pie who cannot afford utility bills.
“We’ve been helping peo pie, and they’ve been com ing in with pretty big bills,” said Suzie Garcia, executive director of the Community Service Center. “I always ask, ‘Is this for one month?’ anc unfortunately, they say, ‘Yes. It’s kind of a never-ending thing — it’s over and over, month after month. I’m sure we’re going to see huge gas bills.”
Judy Baker with the Salvation Army expressed concerns similar to Garcia’s.
“My concern in meeting the needs of the people is that if the utility rates increase as they’re anticipating, it’s going to be much harder for families on fixed incomes to be able to pay the increased fees,” Baker said. “There is concern in the community about whether we will be able to meet these needs.”
settler who was entrusted to take the bells to New Braunfels.
Mornhinweg said the Hamel family also contributed.
He said it took a year to raise money and complete
the $20,000 tower, but the results were well worth the trouble.
"They came with the first immigrants from Braunfels, Germany,” he said. “They’ve just been part of our history since the first church.”
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CONTINUED FROM Page 1A
County would pay for work initially
the state, and increasing capacity by building toll roads, which would pay for themselves through user fees.
There has been much public resistance to toll roads in Comal County, and county officials who have consulted engineering studies and projected traffic counts do not think traffic would exist in volumes that would pay for new capacity in this county through tolls.
County Judge Danny Scheel and County Engineer Tom Homseth recently presented to the Texas Transportation Commission a proposal in which the county would seek a $ 16 million bond issue to finance the widening and regrading of Texas 46 from FM 2722 to about one mile west of U.S. 281.
Homseth said the money would be the local contribution that would be used to leverage the projects.
“The project we talked about was $70 million for both roads,” he said. “The vast majority of this funding would still come from traditional TxDOT sources.”
The net local cost on both projects, when completed, would be about $7 million, Homseth said.
Under the proposal, Scheel said TxDOT would repay the $16 million bond principal. The
CONTINUED FROM Page 1A
Will perform during football game tonight
“I throw the rifle six rotations,” Diedre said. "I’m not too nervous about it anymore, and there have been no concussions so far.”
Color guard Capt. Katie Walske said the group’s success at the first competition helped them build confidence and know what to work on.
“I think this year’s program has more expression than before,” she said. “The judges told us they could really see the music through our performance.”
Meghan Morrison, a senior clarinet player, said the band’s program is fast and challenging, but nothing they can’t handle.
county would repay die interest, its 10-percent share of the costs for purchasing additional right-of-way and the costs for relocating any utilities within the right-of-way.
“If we don’t do this, this project is probably IO to 15 years out,” Scheel said. “If we do, we’d move this thing up on the front burner, and construction could probably start in 2007.” TxDOT would build a two-lane highway with alternating east and westbound passing lanes, Scheel said.
Mer the Texas 46 project is completed and the money comes back from the state, the county would use the same $16 million to leverage expanding U.S. 281 to four divided lanes and limited access from the Guadalupe River to the Blanco County line, Scheel said, similar to the way the roadway exists now from the county line through Bulverde.
“At the end of that project, TxDOT would again pay back $16 million,” he said. “Again, our only cost would be LO percent of the right-of-way, the relocation of utilities and the interest.”
Scheel emphasized that neither project would include toll roads or toll lanes.
I lomseth said the planning process would take 60 to 90 days, and a proposal would be brought back to the Texas Transportation Commission.
" We ll sit down with staff from the San Antonio area office and the state finance folks and come up with a plan that will go to the commission," he said.
“I think since we made the goal clear from the beginning, people are really pushing themselves hard,” she said. “We’ve built a reputation; now we have to live up to it."
CONTINUED FROM Page 1A
Prince Solms gave bells to church
Braunfels. The bells came from Braunfels, Germany, Solms’ hometown, and were used in the first church and school.
When the original log church was dismantled in 1881, the bells were placed in a museum in the stone church building, which is now part of First Protestant Church.
“They were hidden away,” Mornhinweg said. “No one would have found them
unless they knew to look for them.”
Mornhinweg said he began to think about a bell tower when he moved to New Braunfels in 1975. However, the idea did not come to the surface until recently when his friend Melba Roth asked about leaving a memorial at the church.
“She wanted something that would be lasting,” he recalled. “I suggested the bell tower, and she said, ‘That’s what I want.’”
When Roth died, she left funding for the project.
Church members also contacted decendents of Carl Schaefer, an original
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