New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - September 12, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas
Chance Lowry, store manager at Home Depot, 1360 Interstate 35 North, displays some fire ant repellent products.
Fall an ideal time to fight fire antsFire Ant Awareness Week lets Texans coordinate efforts
By Erin Magruder
Anyone who has ever encountered fire ants knows they give a very painful connotation to the phrase, “Ants in Your Pants.”
Now is the time for Comal County residents to do something to take the sting out of spring — by treating their yards for fire ants in the fall.
This week has been designated “Fire Ant Awareness Week” by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service and the Texas A&M University System.
The campaign is designed to motivate neighborhood residents to coordinate their efforts to
manage the fire ant population, Comal County Extension Agent Marty Gibbs said.
“lf only one resident treats their yard,” Gibbs said. “The fire ants will simply pick up and move to another yard that does not have an insecticide.”
Gibbs said fall was an ideal time to treat fire ants because it eliminates % percent of the population by spring.
Fire ant control is important because they can be much more than just a nuisance, Gibbs said.
“Fire ants tend to get where they don’t belong,” he said. “They can ground out electrical equipment, cause damage to farmlands and in rare cases kill someone.”
However, only a small portion of the population experience severe allergic reactions.See FIRE ANTS/5 A
WHO: Comal Independent School District board of trustees WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday WHERE: Bill Brown Elementary School, 20410 Texas 46 West WHY: Public hearing on proposed 1999-2000 tax rate
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SO - WEST MI CRO PU BL I SHING 2627 E YftNDFLL DR
EL POSO, TX 79903-L3Herald-ZeitungVol. 148, No. 212 54 pages in 5 sections September 12, 1999 Serving ^omal CountY since 1852 $1.00
City council listens as residents share views on proposed projects
September is here, but the summer heat will continue this week. See page 2A.Index
Key code 77
Grand jury indicts two for blaze
By Heather Tood
A Comal County grand jury indicted two New Braunfels residents this past Wednesday on a number of charges related to a Feb. 3 blaze that damaged four downtown businesses.
Leticia Gonzalez, 26, and Andrew Ortiz, 36, are accused of starting an early morning fire in the IOO block of North Castell Avenue. No one was injured.
New Braunfels Fire Marshal Elroy Friesen-hahn said Gonzalez and Ortiz were indicted on charges of arson, tampering w ith physical evidence and theft.
The indictments ended a seven-month investigation that involved city, state and federal fire officials. Damage to the building, on the east side of North Castell Avenue, was estimated between $ 100,000 and $ 150,000.
Friesenhahn said Gonzalez was the manager of one of the businesses destroyed by the fire, First Plaza Finance at 140 N. Castell Ave., at the time of the blaze. Ortiz was Gonzalez’s boy friend at the time.
If convicted of the arson charge, the pair could face two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $ 10,000.
Jim Noble, Comal County assistant district attorney, said the theft charge was raised to third-degree felony because it earned a charge of engaging in organized cnme.
“Organized crime is not its own offense, but if you commit a crime w ith two or more other people, it’s considered an organized crime,” he said.
Noble said the value of the theft ranged between S1.500 and $20,000, which was normally a state jail felony.
But, w ith the oiganized crime charge, the theft charge would be bumped to a three-degree felony, which carries a pnson term of two to 10 years and a fine up to $ 10,000.
Tampering w ith evidence also is a third-degree felony.
Noble said persons can be indicted for a crime based on a grand jury ’s finding of probable cause. At least nine people on the 12-
See BLAZE/11 A
New Braunfels resident Vance Langley addresses New Braunfels City Council during Saturday’s bond election workshop at the municipal building, 424 S. Castell Ave.
By Peri Stone-Palmquist
New Braunfels voters could have a lot to chose from in a future city bond election.
In a workshop Saturday, New Braunfels City Council listened to and discussed five hours worth of ideas for bond issues, ranging from streets and drainage to recreation to public safety projects.
Council did not accept or reject any ideas, or start prioritizing the project list.
Ultimately, any projects they do chose will be put before voters in a
bond election, although an election date has not been set.
City manager Mike Shands said, “By passing a bond, the voters are voluntarily imposing additional property taxes on themselves to repay the debt. We are saying that we agree to higher taxes for the bend improvements.”
The property tax increase per $100,000 valuation would be about $83 per year, for instance, for a $10 million bond financed over 15 years.
“We all have to pay taxes,” Mayor Stoney Williams said. “It’s hitting us,
See BOND WORKSHOP/10A
New Braunfels Mayor Stoney Williams (left) and District 3 councilman Randy Vanstory listen as District 3 councilwoman Jan Kotylo speaks at the bond forum.
► Skat players explain the game
Skat, a card game that was brought to the United States — and New Braunfels —
Germany, requires a quick mind and plenty of concentration. Discover what this popular pastime is all about. /IC
► Business fills renovated home
Gallagher Real Estate found new office space in an old house. Owner Charlie Gallagher recently moved his business into a remodeied and renovated Langston House, which dates back to the 1850s. IIC
By Heather Todd
Comal Independent School District patrons can give their two cents Monday about a proposed tax rate increase that could raise the average bill by more than $100.
A public hearing on the 1999-2000 tax rate will begin at 7 p.m. at Bill Brown Elementary School, 20410 Texas 46 West.
Abel Campos, business manager for CISD, said the administration proposed a $1.88 tax rate next year, with a 38-cent debt service rate and a $ 1.50 maintenance and operations rate.
^ Rangers win in a thriller
Smithson Valley passed its first test of the 1999 football season with flying colors. The Rangers improved to 2-0 with a dramatic 10-7 win over San Antonio O’Connor this past Friday. New Braunfels also pushed its record to 2-0, but the No. 4 Canyon Cougars lost to No. 8 Schertz Clemens. /1B
rate hearing set for Monday
The district’s current $1,768 per $100 valuation tax rate is based on a $ 1.50 maintenance and operations rate and a 26.8-cent debt service rate.
The 11 -cent increase on the 1999-2000 tax rate would mean the average homeowner would pay $108 more in school taxes next year.
Officials with the Comal Appraisal District said based on preliminary figures, the average home in CISD would be valued at $97,189 next year. The average home value in CISD this year was about $94,472.
The $1.88 tax rate would translate into a
$ 1, 179 tax bill next year, $ 108 more than the average tax bill of $1,071 this past year.
CISD patrons receive a $ 15,000 exemption from the state and a 20 percent home
stead exemption from the district.
A tax relief provision in Senate Bill 4, passed by state lawmakers during the 1999 legislative session, actually will save local taxpayers some money on their tax bills this year.
Campos said the district initially was looking at a 15-cent increase on the debt service rate to fund bond projects, or a total $ 1.92 tax rate.
But additional funding from the state based on a tax relief measure allowed the district to divert those funds to debt service and lower the tax rate by four cents.
See TAX RATE/5A