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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung Newspaper Archives

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - September 29, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas fcNKKMHK*****#**# HIXED ADC 781 will 1000571 05/16/05 SOUTHWEST HICRQPUBLISHERS 2627 I VANDELL DR EL PASO TX 79903 11m ll i i tiiii i 11 i 11111i!m! i i I EDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29,2004 Zeitung VOLLEYBALL Canyon High School's Cougarettes lose a major player in District 27-4A loss to Lake Travis. Page 7 A GUEST COLUMN Lai no Mayo writes about how people should take time each day to give someone they love a hug. Page 4A Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 153, No. 275 16 pages, 2 sections CLICK cloudy High Low 86 68 Details .... 2A DEAR ABBY 3B CLASSIFIEDS 3B COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 7A TV GRIDS 3B ; ni V »*•>•*' -run- irii 3-0 'AMan dies in afternoon motorcycle wreck By Ron Maloney Staff Writer SMITHSON VALLEY — A 48-year-old San Antonio man was killed Tuesday in a motorcycle accident on Rebecca Creek Road. Department of Public Safety Trooper Randy Vick said Precinct I lustice of the Peace William Schroeder pronounced Nicolas loseph Hodder dead at the scene of the accident at 7:10 p.m. Vick said the accident occurred at about 5:40 p.m. on Rebecca Creek Road at a spot six-tenths of a mile from FM 311. Bulverde/Spring Branch EMS and AirLife paramedics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the scene but were unable to revive Hodder, Vick said. Hodder had suffered obvious multiple injuries. DPS IX'ooper and accident reconstructionist Joel Machost said Hodder was traveling northbound up a hill on a 2002 Kawasaki when he passed a pickup truck that was pulling a trailer. “He was passing the truck and moved back into the northbound lane, apparently approaching the curve at unsafe speed,” Machost said. The road crested a hill there and then curved downward to the left. Machost said Hodder ran off the right side of the road. “He missed the curve and rode the bike 40 yards or so See WRECK, Page 6A HEALTH ALERT The TJbxm Commission on Environmental Quality and Council of Governments has declared sssssf* I* I 3 Health Alen I I Diamond Initials Yours for just $99EI$E3D&Jewelry factory us-im 631 N, Business LH. 33 240 Ne* Braunfels Mark! n-LMt Chamber retains contract for 5 years Safety in numbers CL fire, EMS embark on hiring program By Scott Mahon Staff Writer By Ron Maloney Staff Writer After failing to receive any bids for the Convention and Visitors Bureau contract, the New Braunfels City Council voted to give the contract to the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce for another five years. The chamber’s contract to operate the Convention and Visitors Bureau expires Dec. 31. City Manager Chuck Pinto said the city advertised for bids in San Antonio, Austin and Dallas. “We spent about $2,000 advertising -for proposals,” he said. “But the only proposal we got was from the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, which was understandable because it’s kind of a niche. It would have been difficult for anyone else to compete with the chamber because the chamber has the advantage of w>iww Pinto    being here in town, >wv"'    so they have a lower overhead." Mayor Adam Cork said earlier this year he promised to bid the contract when he ran for public office. And chamber president Michael Meek said bidding the convention contract would assure the city was getting value from its contract. “Adam said he was going to bid the contract out,” he said. “It was a good idea. It’s called due diligence, and it was in the best interest of the city and the community.” The local chamber has managed the convention bureau since 1971. “The last time the city bid the contract was in 1997,” Meek said. “When it expired in 2001, they extended three years to Dec. 31,2004.” The current contract provides that the city pay the chamber 55 percent of the hotel/motel tax monies collected by the city for the chamber to advertise and promote tourism. The city paid the chamber almost $4 million during the period 1999 to 2003 to promote tourism and convention business. In 2003, the chamber received $798,878 in HGr money to promote tourism. It will receive about $891,000 this year. Pinto said the terms of the new contract would remain basically the same as the current contract. Hotel, civic center may be built on Mission Valley Mill property By Scott Mahon Staff Writer A Dallas consulting company is negotiating plans to develop the old Mission Valley MOI property owned by Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, and city officials said the site could be used for a new civic center and hotel. City officials said Tuesday that the Coker Company was hired by PCCA earlier this year to find a suitable use tor the property. Once the city’s largest employer, PCCA laid off all but 80 workers in 2001, citing increasing competition from textile producers in Asia. Today, only a dozen workers still work at the plant. Michael Coker, president of the Coker Company, said PCCA intended to close the mill by the end of December, and Monday night presented a financial plan for developing the property to the New Braunfels City Council. According to city records, PCCA has owned the property since the early 1990s. Called a tax increment finance (TIF) district, the funding plan would pay for the cost of improving the property with property tax revenues. “It s not a tax abatement,” Coker said. “Property tax revenues generated by the improved property would be used to repay the cost of improving the property’s infrastructure, and any remediation required.” Coker said cities often use TIF districts in partnerships with the private sector to pay for the cost of revitalizing property that would otherwise not be developed or improved. “It typically takes seven to IO years to pay off the cost of the improvements, ’ he said. Often, bonds are used to pay for the initial cost of improving the property, then the bonds are paid off with TIF revenues.” City Manager Chuck Pinto said Tuesday that Coker representatives had met with city and county officials the past four months. “Plains Cotton Coop has been the driving force behind the discussions,” Pinto said. See PROPERTY, Page 3A Photos by MANDY REARY/ Herald-Zeitung (Top) Firefighter/EMT Robert Stewart (left) and Paramedic Kevin Smith do a mechanical check on the Vehicle Extraction Tools at the Canyon Lake. (Left) Stewart, left, and Smith, both stationed at the Canyon Lake Fire/EMS Central Station, take a break. Canyon Lake Fire/EMS has embarked on a hiring program that will double the number of firefighters. CANYON LAKE — Canyon Lake Fire/EMS has embarked on a hiring program that will double the number of firefighters who initially respond to calls in 2005. The hirings come in the wake of the 2003 ballot in which Lake area voters set a one-cent sales tax to increase funding for fire protection and at the same time reduced the property tax for fire prevention They are the first tangible step toward a long awaited upgrading of public safety services in the lake area. The tax move shifted some of the burden for fire and EMS service away from local residents to tourists who represent the majority of calls for service for Canyon Lake Fire/EMS. It als!! made (Canyon Lake Fire/EMS the second of the county’s two rural fire departments — after Bulverde — to go it alone on shouldering the costs of fire protection, giving up county funding for what is in essence a local service. Under the proposal for the Canyon lake Emergency Services District 3 election, property taxpayers would pay about $100,000 less into the district’s coffers, while the sales tax was expected to raise about $400,000. ESD 3 contracts for fire protection with Canyon lake Fire/EMS. So far this year, the projections are on track, according to ESD 3 President Keith Lewis and Canyon Lake Fire/EMS Chief Shawn Wherry. “We made some commitments to the community at the time of the election,” Lewis said. “This is a story of promises made and promises kept.” ESD 3 promised it would reduce its ad valorem property tax from five cents to two cents per $100 of assessed value, and the district has done that, he said, shifting some of its operating costs from local property owners to tourists who use its services. The immediate focus, Lewis said, was to be on hiring additional staff both from a standpoint of firefighter safety and increasing initial response to fire calls. “They’re interviewing prospective hirees within the next 30 days. Our funding last year was $20,500 a month. This year, it s $40,(XX) a month. Next year, it’s going to be $48,500," Lewis said. "We will address several issues." Sales tax revenues have been averaging near $40,000 a month. The fire department has increased wages and will look at doing so again, Lewis said, to help See FIRE/EMS, Page 6A ;