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March 28, 2001

Hospital board rejects motel's tax abatement

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 28, 2001 - In a split vote, members of the Reeves County Hospital Board opted not to grant a tax abatement to Lodging Enterprises and approved some much needed equipment for the hospital during their regular meeting held Tuesday evening.

Board president Marcella Lovett told the group that she had a letter from Sam Patel, owner of Quality Inn and signed by other motel operators to let the board know how they felt about the tax abatement for Lodging Enterprises, which is currently building a motel on Interstate 20 next to the Flying J Truck Stop.

"They wanted to let the board know that they couldn't be here today and to let us know they are very much against this," said Lovett.

Lovett said that they are also very concerned that the motel is not in the city limits, not on same codes and rules.

The city council approved the tax abatement, against their attorney's advice, according to Lovett. "The city's attorney (Scott Johnson) said that he did not find that this wasn't extending very good will to the existing businesses in town," said Lovett. "He shared his thoughts with the city, but they went ahead and granted them the abatement and they want us to go ahead and approve it."

Patel stated in his letter that the other motels wanted to get some breaks as well, if this tax abatement was granted.

"He's made some very good points in his letter," said Lovett.

Interim Hospital Administrator Richard Murphy said that he has always adopted the attitude about tax abatement that if it will generate substantial income for the city it was the right thing to do. "Always it was for attracting businesses to enhance the community," said Murphy. "Obviously, they are going ahead and building it, regardless of the tax abatement," he said.

"This would be abating a project that is already in motion," he said.

The two-story, 40 room motel being built by Lodging Enterprises will be primarily for use by Union Pacific Railroad workers, who use Pecos as one of their two shift change sites between El Paso and Fort Worth on the company's northern line across Texas.

"This is the third time this has been brought up, it's a small amount of money, they were eligible for 100 percent and the city approved only 50 percent," said board member Leo Hung.

Hung said that he agrees that he will go ahead and built it, regardless, but said, "It's sending a signal to other businesses that want to come into town and wants to build in Enterprise Zone."

"If they're in the Enterprise Zone and it's still be a hurdle to get their tax abatement, I think it's a signal to outside businesses, that we don't want their business," said Hung.

"As our hospital attorney advised us that he was not in favor, because he felt they had not met the criteria for tax abatement," said Lovett.

"I'm looking at the businesses that are already here," said Lovett. "We won't be collecting bed tax from them that help our community, because they are already obligated to the railroad."

"You're talking about tax and they are being taxed," said Hung. "One other point, is that this building they are building they are required to follow the city code if it's annexed and they will have to follow a more stringent code."

Board member Holly Key said that all the employees at that construction site were not new hires from this community. "I believe that those employees were already there employed with them, they were brought in from other areas," said Key. Lodging Enterprises had told local officials last year they would use local workers in the construction of the motel.

Board member Key made the motion to not grant the tax abatement, which was seconded by Jesus Prieto. Board members Hung and Chel Flores voted for the abatement. Lovett then broke the tie, by siding with those opposed to the tax abatement.

Board members approved the purchase of an infant monitor for the emergency room.

"There are two quotes that Faye Lease included," said Murphy, referring to the cost for the monitor. One was for a system with a recorder and the other one without that system, he said.

"It will be excellent to have that extra security for the hospital, so I think it would be wise to purchase the one with the recorder," said Lovett.

Board members agreed to purchase the special equipment in the amount of $9,737 and approved the replacement of oxygen manifold. "Next to the back parking lot is a backup system, if we lose our system," said Murphy. "It's old and dilapidated and on more than one occasion have replaced all the oxygen," he said.

Board members agreed to replace the old equipment for a newer model in the amount of $7,901 from the Bosworth Company.

The board agreed to let Murphy looking into security systems and surveillance. "Since I've been here, there have been individuals that have come into the building undetected," aid Murphy.

Murphy told the board that employees had reported several lost items and nobody could account for them. "For instance, the VCR that used to be in this room," he said.

"My concern is equipment leaving the facility," said Murphy.

He told the group he would look into security and surveillance systems and report back to the board.

Board members also approved the sale of property located at 405 S. Mesquite to Alfred Garcia for $1,000 and property located at 1401 S. Cypress to Sylvia Lujan for $2,025.

Other items that were discussed and approved included the monthly tax report, financial statement and budget amendments, payment of bills, medical staff report and the administrator's report.

Plans begun to raise Rodeo Hall of Fame funds

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 28, 2001 - Fundraisers and other events are already being planned to help finance the planned Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame in Pecos, a week after the city and Union Pacific Railroad worked out a lease agreement for land the Hall's proposed building will be located on.

One of the committees set up for the hall met Tuesday at lunch to discuss possible fundraisers to help fund the Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame.

"We finally got the lease for the old train depot," said John Rediger, referring to the agreement, which will allow t he group to obtain low-interest loans for the old Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot at First and Oak streets. The city had been given the building by the railroad several years ago, but the loans could not be obtained until a lease for the land was finalized.

Rediger had approached the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce about the possibility of having a Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame in Pecos, about two years ago and now the dream is coming a little bit closer to becoming a reality.

"We couldn't get funds until we had a clear title on the property and a long-term lease," said Rediger. "Now we have a 20-year lease and want to begin looking for funds, for seed money."

The "seed money" will be utilized to kick off the plans for the hall.

Members on the hand for the discussion, along with Rediger, included chamber director Tom Rivera, Dr. David Lovett, Linda Gholson and Debbie Thomas.

"We have other committees that are in charge of different things," said Rediger. "Everything had been put on hold because of the lease, but now we want to continue on and make this a reality."

The group discussed having a barbecue plate sale as a fundraiser, along with selling T-shirts with the Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame logo printed on the front.

"I need to get with Billy Edwards, from the Reeves County Sheriff's Posse, about possibly having the barbecue plate sale to help raise funds," said Rediger.

"We could also sell T-shirts with the logo on the front and have them at the rodeo for sale," said Lovett.

Rediger agreed with the suggestion and added that the tote bags with the hall of fame emblem could also be offered at the rodeo. "If this isn't in conflict with Bad Company Rodeo," he said, referring to the producer of the West of the Pecos Rodeo that sells its own line of goods each year.

"No, I don't think that would be a problem," said Rivera.

Another committee made up of Rivera, Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo, Town of Pecos City Manager Carlos Yerena and mayor Ray Ortega, are in charge of trying to procure grants and other funding.

The committee in charge of policies and procedures include Brenda McKinney, Rickey Exum and Starkey Warren.

"On April the 10th all the committee will meet and see where we're at," said Rediger. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. that night, at the chamber office.

"This is a big thing, a state thing, not just in Pecos," said Rediger.

Rediger said they need to start talking to the big rodeo sponsors such as Coppenhagen, Coors, Budweiser and others about funding.

Rivera told the group that there are fundraising organizations that come in and take over. "They'll go out and raise the funds for a percentage," said Rivera. "I think they get like 25 percent."

Rivera said that he would get some literature on these groups and bring it back to the group to look at. "We can always limit them on the contract," he said.

"We also need to check with the woman who helped with the rodeo," said Rediger.

Rediger said that he would also like to go to Colorado Springs and tour the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association Hall of Fame, and possibly encourage others to go as well. "We could get together as a group and go tour theirs and possibly get some ideas," he said.

Rivera said he would check with the individuals who did the tote bags and see how much it would cost for T-shirts.

"We also need to get a brochure going with information about this project," said Lovett.

Rains scuttle Eagles' game versus Lobos

PECOS, March 28, 2001 - Pecos is currently under the grip of one of those shallow cold fronts, which has brought rainy skies and below normal temperatures to the area the past three days.

For the Pecos Eagles' softball team, that meant that while their District 2-4A game against El Paso Mountain View was cancelled on Tuesday due to rain and temperatures in the mid-40s, the front was unable to get through the mountains, leaving their rivals in the El Paso area to get in their games, without any rain and with temperatures in the upper 70s.

San Elizario moved within a half game of Pecos for the District 2-4A lead thanks to their 16-8 win over Canutillo, and will host Pecos this Friday. Meanwhile, Clint tied Fabens for third in the district standings with a five-inning, 12-1 win over the Wildcats.

Eagles' coach Tammy Walls said no make-up date has been scheduled for Tuesday's game, and whether or not it is played at all could depend on if it's needed to determine playoff seeding at the end of the regular season. "We could have to play it is we lose to them (San Elizario) or if we drop a couple in the second go-round," Walls said.


PECOS, March 28, 2001 - High Tuesday 48. Low this morning 41. Rainfall last 24 hours at Texas A&M Experiment Station .05 inch. Forecast for tonight: Cloudy and foggy with occasional drizzle. A 40 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms. Low near 40. East wind 5 to 15 mph. Thursday: Mostly cloudy with occasional drizzle: Becoming partly cloudy during the afternoon. A 30 percent chance of rain and thunderstorm. High 60 to 65. East wind 5 to 15 mph shifting to the southwest during the afternoon. Thursday night: Cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain. Low near 40. Friday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain. High near 60. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Lows around 40. Highs in the 60s.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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