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Publication Name: New Braunfels Herald Zeitung

Location: New Braunfels, Texas

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View Sample Pages : New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, May 10, 2000

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 10, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas Council will consider bed tax board at next meeting From Staff Reports New Braunfels City Council will consider May 22 appointing a special board to study how the city should spend its share of motel/hotel tax revenue after voters approved Special Election I May 6. Mayor Stoney Williams said he told council members Monday he would place the matter on the next meeting agenda. Council is scheduled to meet 6:30 p.m. May 22. * At the polls May 6,2,803 voters, or 52.74 percent, approved Special Election I; 2,512, or 47.26 percent, voted against it. Special Election I allows the city to spend hotel/motel tax revenue on the civic center, historical restoration, programs that enhance the arts and city-operated promotional programs. The measure effectively eliminates the option of funding a convention center with hotel/motel tax revenue unless the city gets voters’ approval. Council already has voted to freeze its portion of bed tax until March 1, 2002. A task force must study the issue before any money can be spent, according to the unbinding vote.Inside Abby................................5A Classifieds.......................4-8B Comics...............................2B Crossword..........................2B Forum.................................6A Local/Metro........................4A Movies..................................5A Obituaries...........................3A Sports............................7A Today.................................2A Television............................2B Key Code 76 City council takes first step toward cable competition By Heather Todd Staff Writer New Braunfels City Council approved the first of two readings Monday night that would grant a IO-year franchise agreement to Grande Communications to provide cable television programming, telephone service and high speed Internet service in New Braunfels. Grande Communications, headquartered in Austin, plans to deliver analog and digital cable, local and long distance telephone and high speed Internet access services over one single fiber broadband network. The company plans to start construction in the next few months and complete the entire Interstate 35 corridor in five to seven years. Because New Braunfels has a nonexclusive franchise agreement with Paragon Cable, it is able to allow cable competition. Under the proposed agreement, Grande will set aside channel space for three access channels — one fulltime municipal access channel, one local educational access channel and oneSee CABLE/3A /AV New " Water Restrictions ■ Landscape watering Is allowed from midnight to 10 a.m. and from 8 p.m. to midnight one day per week. Residents with a last digit of 4 or 5 can water today.Flerald-Zeitung --- ......... ...... Wastewater permit focus of hearing By Heather Todd Staff Writer New Braunfels City Council will ask the state’s top environmental agency to sponsor a public meeting on a Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority application to discharge treated effluent into Dry Comal Creek and subsequently the Comal River. GBRA has requested the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission to renew a permit authorizing the construction of a second wastewater treatment plant that could discharge treated effluent at a volume not to exceed an average flow of350,000 gallons per day into a drainage course. The application was submitted in July 1999, and if renewed, would be valid for five years. The permit already has been renewed twice — in November 1992 and October 1997. Guadco Municipal Utility District No. 2 renews the permit every five years to keep their options open, said Debbie Magin, director of water quality services for GBRA. But the additional plant hasn’t been needed — and it might not ever be built, depending on growth in the area and the economic climate, Magin said. Even if it was built, Magin said the treated effluent would be the same or higher quality than most runoff currently discharged by New Braunfels Utilities in the Guadalupe River. All three NBU wastewater treatment plants in New Braunfels already are permitted to discharge a combined total of 8.4 million gallons of treated effluent into the Guadalupe River. But District 6 councilwoman Juliet Watson said she was concerned about the possibility of treated wastewater being drained into the spring-fed Comal River, a purer water source than the Guadalupe River that should be protected. “It’s unique and we need to preserve it,” she said. Watson requested a public hearing on the matter at Monday’s council meeting. A legislative body can request a public meeting or a public hearing on the matter. Council approved requesting a public meeting, which is an informational meeting, but Watson’s motion to request a public hearing failed in a 1-6 vote. See WASTEWATER/3A WATSON Third time’s the charm — and the medal K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Canyon High School senior Jarrett Skrobarcek played every point for what it was, and that was enough to win him the title of 4A State Champion in tennis Tuesday afternoon at Lakeway World of Tennis. Although rain threatened to delay the match, Skrobarcek took the game in two sets 7-5,6-3.Vol. 149 No. 123    16    pages    in    2    sections    May    IO,    2000    J    _    Serving    Comal    County    since    1852    50    cents Wednesday Departments asked to make budget cuts By Ron Maloney Staff Writer The New Braunfels Independent School District administration has asked departments to look for IO percent in budget cuts as it works to find the $ I million needed to balance its budget for the next fiscal year. The cost-cutting effort is expected to close the gap on about one-quarter — $230,000 — of the projected budget shortfall caused by several “have to” budget increases. Trustees met with administration in a workshop session Monday to discuss budget cuts that would allow the district to fund a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for district employees ($466,000) and $170,000 worth of other increases in areas like transportation, programs, utilities and fuel costs. NBISD Business Manager David Rastellini already has plans on how to fund about three-fourths of the deficit, but the ’ last quarter is more difficult. The choices could involve pulling money out of saved funds, staffing or deeper program cuts that were raised and ruled out, one by one. Going to taxpayers for an increase in spending was immediately tossed out in light of a past promise to not raise taxes this year. Trustee Bette Spain called on staff to “be creative” — but to make no cuts that affect classrooms. Board President Bill Biggadike called on staff to make every effort to make the most of its in-house personnel before hiring additional help, pondering a possible hiring freeze for next year. District Superintendent Ron Reaves argued against further program cuts — or slowing district pay increases as a way of balancing budgets. He said the proposed budget didn’t address a number of needs and that many programs already were being pushed toward the “break point.” “I think it’s vitally important that we get something for our employees,” Reaves said. “At 2 percent, it’s not even the cost of living. BIGGADIKE «j don’t think we’re that far off,” said board treasurer, Jim Callahan, asking that administration look a little longer, trying to find that last bit necessary to balance its budget. Rastellini said Monday night he could make up about $250,000 of the shortfall by tapping a surplus in the more-than $1 million workmen’s compensation fund — money used to pay workmen’s comp claims. Another $200,000 of the shortfall will be bridged by rolling funds budgeted but not spent this year into next year’s budget. About $200,000 also can be expected through employee turnover — the costs saved by replacing retiring or other more experienced employees who leave the district with less experienced help. Rastellini said he’d bring some more ideas back to the next board meeting later this month. “We still have some nebulous numbers out there — $250,000 is not that far off,” he said. Cyclists push for warning signs on River Road By Erin Magruder Staff Writer advising motorists to be careful,” Homseth said. With the annual Memorial Day weekend kick-off less than three weeks away — local cyclist have voiced concerns about traffic safety on River Road during the peak tourist season. The issue of cyclist safety on River Road will be discussed Thursday at the 8:15 a.m. regular meeting of Commissioners’ Court, Comal County Courthouse Annex, third floor, 150 N. Seguin Avenue A local resident — backed by many area cyclists — is requesting that warning signs be placed on River Road to raise motorist awareness of bicycle traffic on the narrow thoroughfare. Link Fuller, who rides his bike along River Road about five times a week, said he is concerned about the hazards the annual influx of seasonal tourist traffic creates for motorist and cyclist sharing the roadway. “Bicycles are part of the environment on River Road, and motorists need to know that there are cyclists out there,” Fuller said. K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Matt Gruene, John Blintz, Laura Matthews and Rudy Guerrero (left to right) travel down River Road. “It pays to educate drivers that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicles on the road. Comal County Engineer Tom Homseth — who has the authority to place motorist warning signs along River Road — said he supported the pro-active effort. “From an engineering standpoint, I would not have a problem putting a couple of regulatory signs on either end of River Road Although the decision on the proposed warning signs is not an action item for commissioners — the discussion could serve as a public forum for cyclists to voice broader concerns about roadway safety. And amid recent — and unconfirmed — rumors about a movement to outlaw bicycling on River Road, many local cyclists are planning to attend the meeting, said Matt Gruene, owner of Gruene Bikewurks. “I’ve heard the issue being talked about in a roundabout sort of way,” Gruene said. “A lot of people aren’t happy with the general issue of bike safety in this area ... The roadways really aren’t oiganized for cycling, and the issue of safety needs attention and should be addressed.” Comal County Commissioner Moe Schwab said Tuesday the court currently was not considering outlawing cycling on any county roads — and he was not certain if the county even had the authority to implement such a restriction. rn ;