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Tuesday, September 19, 2000

County outlines details of payment to city

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 19, 2000 - An amendment to the water distribution agreement between Reeves County and the City of Pecos and an amendment to DRG Architectural services agreement for the Reeves County Detention Center were approved Monday during a special meeting of the Reeves County Commissioners Court.

The special meeting was scheduled after Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo told the court that the city had requested payment for the water distribution plan.

"I had some questions in regard to actual loan and whether or not the first payment was actually due, so I've come to the court to request authorization to transfer those funds," said Galindo, who met with Pecos City Council members last Thursday to work out the problem.

Under the escrow agreement Reeves County will transfer $422,320, in the Bank of New York.

The Water Distribution Agreement was made and entered into on March 27, between the two entities. However, a dispute erupted earlier this month when the city said the county failed to make the first payment by the scheduled Aug. 30 deadline.

City officials said the money was to be used to guarantee loans from the Texas Water Development Board to begin development of the new South Worsham Water Field, while Galindo said the county believed the first payment would not have to be made until after the loans were received.

Under the agreement, the county will place the money in an escrow account, which will not be accessed directly by the city, but can be used to guarantee the state loans for the South Worsham project, which is designed to assure Pecos of an adequate water supply after 2008.

Interest earned from the $422,320 will be divided between the city and county.

Finance Director Steve McCormick was on hand for the special meeting and told the court that, "that was basically what we agreed to."

The amendments to the agreement were not approved, since they haven't been drawn up yet, but were discussed briefly on Monday.

Amendment 1 was to pay $422,320 on the same date, Aug. 30; Under Amendement 2 interest made from the money would, half would come to the county and would go towards operations at RCDC, the second half would go the city dedicated to debt service. Amendment 3 stated that the terms to the Water Distribution agreement the money would be deposited in an account designated to debt service.

The amendments were tabled because the city and county don't have it all mapped out yet, according to Galindo.

"We can't do anything until Monday, since we have to do a budget amendment," said Reeves County Auditor Lynn Owens.

Galindo asked McCormick if that was all right with him, if not they could schedule another "special" meeting to have the funds wired immediately.

"I'll talk to the Water Development Board, but I think that would be alright," said McCormick.

"The important thing was to show the water development board that there would be a place accessible to them," said Galindo.

"We could post a 24-hour meeting to amend the budget and transfer those funds if necessary, if we need to act sooner than Monday," he said.

Commissioners approved amendment to Dailey Rabke and Gondeck, architects for architectural services agreement for the RCDC expansion project.

"About $47,000 will be paid to the architect for extended services from Aug. 16 until Oct. 16," said Galindo.

The additional funds will come from the contingencies maximum price, according to Galindo.

"The funds are there," he said.

In addition, the group agreed to pay Banes General Contractor payment number 17, in the amount of $1.7 million. Banes is the construction company in charge of the renovations and the new buildings at the Reeves County Detention Center.

"How many more payments?" asked Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin.

"You lack three," said Banes General Contractor Supervisor Mark Schumacher.

Schumacher updated the court on how construction is coming along at the detention center.

"We have turned over three buildings to the staff at the center and they have moved in an furnished those," said Schumacher.

The buildings will be then be inspected by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and the Texas Commission of Jail Standards (TDCJ).

"The rest of the buildings will be turned over in increments as they are completed," said Schumacher.

Professional services contract for remodeling at the "old" RCDC were approved.

"There are a number of things that need to get renovated in the old portion of the Reeves County Detention Center," said Galindo.

Once everyone is moved up, the front part of the building will no longer be the entrance, but will be renovated into visitation space, according to Galindo.

"Entry will be through the rear gate, and the front will be used for visitation for the inmates only," he said.

Commissioners agreed to set aside $125,000 to DRG for design, bidding and actual construction phase.

"We talked about putting in internal crews, but we still have to go through the design, documentation and bidding phases," said Galindo.

Galindo said the county has to have the design before taking it before the TDCJ, which must approve the renovations.

The court agreed to transfer funds to the Juvenile Justice Grant Fund from the General Fund. "They're going to use the funds to purchase more cameras for the high school," said Owens. "It is a reimbursement, upon receipt of the grant funds."

Terms of agreement on water fund payment

PECOS, September 19, 2000 - Here is the agreement between Reeves County and the Town of Pecos City on the $422,320 payment as part of the March 27, 2000 agreement:

"In 1985, the County determined that water distribution and sanitary sewer collection and treatment services were necessary, useful and appropriate for the operation of the newly constructed Reeves County Detention Center and Juvenile Detention Center and entered into two separate contracts with the city relating to the city providing water distribution and sanitary sewer services, both of whom have expired."

"The city continues to own an existing water distribution system and an existing sanitary sewer collection and treatment system and without a formal contract continues to provide such services to the center."

"The county desires to purchase from city, and city desires to sell to county, water distribution services at the center, pursuant to and in accordance with this services agreement;

"The county is significantly expanding the center and desires that the city formally agrees to the terms and conditions of the city providing water services to the center;

"In 1999, the city and county have had a dispute concerning the water rates that the city is to charge the county and both believe it mutually desirable that a formal long term contract be executed to effectuate the understanding which has resolved the dispute;

"The county is authorized under the Constitution of the State of Texas and the laws of the State of Texas to enter into this Services agreement for the purposes set forth in this services agreement."

"Under the agreement the county shall pay to the city water payments during the term of this service agreement. Such water payments shall be due and payable on the or before the 10th day of the month. Each water payment shall be for each 1,000 gallons of water (a "unit") delivered during each month to the county for use at the center. The amount of each payment shall be equal to the water multiplied by the number of units delivered by the city to the county at the delivery point during the immediately preceding calendar month."

"The parties acknowledge that the county is in process of substantially expanding the capacity of the center and that within approximately eight years the city's existing source of groundwater will be inadequate for existing city utility customers and the center. The city has applied to the Texas Water Development Board for long term financing to obtain capital to develop an alternative source of groundwater."

"Accordingly, in addition to water distribution payments, in order to be assured that the city has an adequate capacity of quality groundwater and a viable delivery and treatment system to supply the center with water over the term of this services agreement, the county agreed to reimburse the city over the first 10 years of this agreement $4 million, plus interest accrued at the rate of 1 percent annually (advanced payments). On or before Aug. 30 of each year, the county will pay $422,320 to the city."

"The $422,320 payment is not an assumption by the county of any of the city's debt service obligations to the Texas Water Development Board, and is not the lending of the county's credit to the city."

Head Start opens doors on new Pecos site

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 19, 2000 - Head Start is back in Pecos after two years.

Pecos' Head Start began classes today at the Carver Center on East 12th Street, the first time it has been located in Pecos after moving to Barstow two years ago, in order to take advantage of the extra space at the former Barstow Elementary.

Head Start moved to Barstow from its former location in a small metal building on East Fifth Street when the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD closed the Barstow campus in 1998. It got the chance to move back into Pecos when the school district shut Lamar Middle School this summer and moved the alternative education program there from the Carver Center.

Site Manager for Head Start, Linda Briceno, said they have had a few problems getting started but are up and running well now.

"We had a staggered beginning with the move," she said.

Briceno said despite all the problems the first day has gone well.

"So far so good," she said.

Briceno said would have opened yesterday but they did not have a fence up around the building yet. This morning, workers were building the chain link fence while classes began inside.

Briceno said the move to Carver Center is better for the community, and while the building in Barstow is bigger than the Carver Center, she said the Pecos location is more convenient for most parents.

She said that a few years ago Head Start gave a parent survey that asked at one point for any comments. The majority of the parents commented on wanting Head Start to move back to Pecos.

Briceno said the Greater Opportunity of the Permian Basin (GOPB), which runs Head Start, listened to the parents' comments and needs and started looking for a building, and when the school district planned to close the Carver Center, the GOPB asked the P-B-T school board if Head Start could use the building.

When the l board agreed, new carpet and tiles were laid down and the building was coated with fresh paint.

She said they are trying to arrange a monthly meeting for the parents but does not know where they would be held.

"We'll have monthly training for parents," Briceno said.

She said they bring in consultants from Pecos and out of town for the training and the Head Start staff also provides classes on nutrition, health, child development as well as child and domestic abuse.

"This is not just for the child but for the families," Briceno said.

The first Head start in this area started in Saragosa with Pecos following a few years later. Briceno said Pecos has had Head Start for over 20 years.

She said there are now teachers at the Saragosa Head Start that went there as children.

"We have a lot of memories," she said. "We're a happy family."

Children that are the ages of three and four are able to enroll in Head Start. Briceno said some children turn five while they're there but are soon moved up to the "big school", Pecos Kindergarten.

She said the Head Start teachers try to help the older kids with their transition to Kindergarten. She said teachers from the kindergarten come over and meet the classes and the older kids take a field trip to the kindergarten to meet the principal and get to know the teachers.

Briceno said Betty Carter, GOPB executive director, is in the process of working on an early Head Start for babies.

Briceno said that currently enrollment at Head Start is at the maximum of 94 children. She said they had trouble getting the maximum at Barstow Elementary because most Pecos parents didn't want to drive their children six miles to Barstow every day.

Briceno said there is even a waiting list this year.

There is no cost for enrollment and although pre-registration for the next year is in April, registration is on going throughout the year.

Head Start begins in August every year and closes for the summer. Briceno said to help out parents who have to be at work by eight, the building opens at 7:30 a.m. each morning and last until 2:30 p.m. for the three-year-olds and 3:30 p.m. for the four-year-olds.

Briceno said she would like to thank Sheriff Andy Gomez helping with their move from Barstow by allowing Reeves County Jail inmates to work on fixing up the Carver Center.

"I'd like to thank the Sheriff for letting us have the trustees everyday for two weeks to help us move," she said.

The Head Start staff would like to invite the community to visit the campus at any time. They would also like to invite any volunteers to come and help with the classes.

For more information about enrollment or the Head Start program call 445-4528.

Name change goes into effect for WTNB

Staff Writer

PECOS, September 19, 2000 - First National Bank of Pecos, which has been in operation since 1907, is now officially West Texas National Bank.

The name change became official on Monday, and is the result of a merger between the First National Banks in Pecos and banks in Alpine, Seminole, Denver City, Crane, Kermit and Terlingua.

President of West Texas National Bank in Pecos, John Grant, said in a press release that the merger would strengthen the banks.

"The combination of these banks, gives each of our banks the strength of combined assets of over $250 million," he said. "It's an exciting time to be in banking and West Texas National Bank is an exciting new bank organization."

The bank already has changed the design of the bank statements to include the new West Texas National Bank logo.

Grant said the bank signs are being changed all over West Texas and the signs at the Pecos bank would be changed in the near future.

"Signage will be changed in October or November," he said.

J.L. Davis of Midland has owned First National Bank for the past 15 years. He has added other banks in the Permian Basin and Trans-Pecos to his company since then and announced plans earlier this year to merge them into a single bank holding company.

The new West Texas National Bank will have administrative offices in Midland, but the company said local management under the guidance of its community directors would make daily decisions.

Grant said the bank understands the change would cause inconvenience to customers with checks with First National Bank printed on them.

"Those checks will be honored for up to three years," he said.

All Grant asks of the customers is to have the new logo printed on their checks when reordering.

A new automatic teller machine will be built on the corner of Sixth and Cedar Streets. Grant said ground breaking for the new ATM building is set for next week.

"We believe we will provide a broader range of services to our customers," he said.

"We appreciate our customers and their patience in this time of transition and look forward to serving them," Grant said.

Election registration deadline Oct. 10

PECOS, September 19, 2000 - The last day to register to vote for the Nov. 7 general elections has been set for Oct. 10, according to the Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez.

The first day to apply for a ballot by mail was Sept. 8 and the last day to apply for a ballot by mail is Oct. 31.

The first day to vote early by personal appearance has been set for Oct. 23, while the last day to vote early by personal appearance will be Nov. 3.

Any qualified voter may vote early by mail if the voter:

· Expects to be absent from the county of residency on Election Day and during the regular hours of early voting by personal appearance.

· Is disabled, a voter has a sickness or disability that prevents him/her from going to a polling place on election day without likelihood of needing assistance or injuring the voters health;

· Is 65 years of age or older on election day; or

· Is confined in jail as follows: serving time on a misdemeanor sentence which ends on or after election day, pending trial after being denied bail, without bail awaiting the outcome of an appeal of a felony conviction or release on bail before election day is unlikely.


PECOS, September 19, 2000 - High Monday 97. Low this morning 59. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Low in the lower 60s. South wind 5-15 mph. Wednesday: Partly cloudy and breezy. High in the lower 90s. Southwest wind 15-25 mph and gusty. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Low near 60. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Low near 60. High in the lower 90s.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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