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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Monday, August 25, 2003

County OKs bond payment, water bill delay

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., Aug. 25, 2003 -- Reeves County Commissioners opted for a bond payment over a water bill payment this morning, during a discussion on the county's large impending bills as part of the regular Commissioner's Court meeting at the Reeves County Courthouse.

Commissioners discussed what to do about four bills totaling over $1.28 million. Of those, three related to work involving the Reeves County Detention Center. They involved a 1999 maintenance lease payment in the amount of $420,077; a 1999 maintenance reserve payment in the amount of $29,166 and a 2001 lease payment of $411,117.

The other bill is a water payment to the Town of Pecos City in the amount of $422,320.

The county ran into financial problems earlier this year when the U.S. Bureau of Prisons declined to put any new inmates into the just-completed Reeves County Detention Center III project, and sought a $2.47 cut in the interim man-day rate paid by the BOP to the county for housing inmates at the RCDC I and II units. Last month, the county and BOP agreed to a $47.32 rate for housing the 2,000 BOP inmates at those units, 15 cents lower than the interim rate, and a one-time payment to the county of $800,000

Reeves County is still seeking a new source of inmates for RCDC III, and recently has been housing about 100 U.S. Marshal's Service inmates in the 960-bed facility. The county faces a $950,000 bond payment at the end of this month.

"I recommend that we pay the bond lease payment, contingent upon receiving the reimbursement from BOP and the savings from the construction of RCDC III," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo. "We're also expecting another $87,000 from the Marshals Service."

Galindo did say that the county will see some a savings from the construction of the RCDC III, after it came in about 2 percent under budget.

A change order for Carothers Construction was approved during last month's regular meeting. "There was a savings on the project on the Guaranteed Maximum Price," said Galindo, at that time.

The Guaranteed Maximum Price on the facility had been estimated at $30.3 million, but the price was actually $29.6 million. "That's a savings of $647,809," said Galindo.

That sum will be split 70-30, between Reeves County and Carothers Construction, with Carothers Construction receiving $194,342 and Reeves County $453,466.

"In other words, we came in under budget," said county auditor Lynn Owens.

"We'll have those funds and the $800,000 one-time lump sum payment from the Bureau of Prisons," said Galindo.

Galindo told the group that further down in the agenda was a water payment to the Town of Pecos City in the amount of $422,320.

The water payment is the county's part of funding construction of the new South Worsham Water Field by the Town of Pecos City. That agreement was reached in a deal between the county and city for additional city water needed for inmates at the RCDC. The city began work on the new water field nine years ago, after being told the current Worsham and Ward County water fields could only supply Pecos with adequate water through the year 2008.

After a long discussion, commissioners voted that if the city did not defer the payment of the water bill, that the 1999 bond series won't be paid.

"I've been talking to the mayor before this meeting and the payment to the city is actually not due until November," said Galindo. "That would allow us a little more time to make that payment."

However, the city is set to meet Thursday afternoon and the item would have to be posted as an emergency item, if the council had to take action on it.

"It can't be under the audience portion, if you want the council to take action on this," said Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford, who was on hand for the regular county meeting.

"We would appreciate the city's help in this matter, at a time when the county is going through some financial difficulties," said Galindo.

Galindo said that deferment of this payment would provide the county an assurance that going into October that payment would be made. "But it helps our cash flow at this time," said Galindo.

There are also three pay periods in this month for the county, "And I think this would provide some securing in regards to the payment to the city," he said.

Galindo outlined the discussion he had with the mayor and the water bill. "This is the third payment of this water bill," said Galindo.

The project amortized is over a 30-year period and the county will pay the first 10 years. Total amount of the project was $8.5 million according to Galindo.

"What we had agreed upon was that the county would pay $4 million to get that water project completed," said Galindo. "The county would pay the first 10 years of that," he said.

The payment is $420,000 for the first 10 years and the last 10 years, the city would take over.

"This is at one percent interest to the city," said Galindo. "Over the last month or so, we've been discussion deferring this payment to the city, because the money is not actually due until November," he said.

Galindo said that the city's payment to the Texas Water Development Board was not due until November and that deferring this payment until then would help the county. "The mayor is here with us today, but she is only one member of the council," he said.

"I would ask that we defer that payment until October and I believe at that time we can make that payment," said Galindo.

Galindo said that he would be in San Antonio this week, but recommended that some of the commissioners attend the city meeting on Thursday to represent the county in this matter.

"I would also ask the mayor to make some comments on our behalf," said Galindo.

"You mean some positive comments on behalf of deferring this payment," said Stafford.

Stafford said that they could get the item posted on the agenda as an "emergency," today and that it would be within the 72-hour time limit needed for the Thursday evening meeting.

Stafford said that she would advise the council of the county's dilemma, but ultimately it would be up to the entire council to decide whether to go along with the delayed payment.

Balmorhea adds second cook-off to years festival

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., Aug. 25, 2003 -- Two cook-off events are scheduled over two days this coming weekend in Balmorhea, as part of its28th Annual Oasis of West Texas Labor Day Weekend Festival.

Festivities are set to begin early Saturday morning when organizers hand out the meat to competitors of the Frijole Bean and Fajita Cook-off. Prizes will be awarded to the top finishers in both divisions.

The bean cook-off has been part of the festival for years. The fajita competition was added several years ago, and event organizer Norman Ramon said that while those cook-offs and most other events will take place on Saturday, a second cook-off involving two different types of food is scheduled for Sunday morning.

"Sunday there will be an Open Cook-off, starting about 8 a.m.," Ramon said. "It will be chicken and ribs."

The frijole and fajita cook-off will also start at 8 a.m., with organizers handing out the meat to the contestants at that time. Judging in that cook-off will be about 4 p.m. on Saturday, while judging in the Sunday cook-off will take place around 12 noon.

Ramon said events are scheduled all day on Saturday downtown, while a softball tournament at the Balmorhea City Park will get underway Saturday morning and continue through Sunday.

"The booths will open up at 9 in the morning, and the music will kick off about 11," Ramon said. Marcos Mendoza Jr., and his West Texas Guitar will perform downtown starting at 2 p.m., while a dance featuring El Gusto Band will begin around sunset that night.

A washer-pitching tournament is also scheduled for Saturday afternoon, and Ramon said, "The flea market will be opened on Saturday."

Ramon said anyone wanting information on either the Frijole Bean and Fajita Cook-off or the Open Cook-off should call Mike or Mary Peacock at 375-2589 or 556-1634. Information on the softball tournament is available through Balmorhea City Hall, at 375-2307, while anyone wanting information on booths at the Labor Day weekend festival and other activities can call Ramon at 375-0219 after 6 p.m. or Pat Brijalba at 375-2323 after 5 p.m.

PHA completes 2002 capital funds project

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., Aug. 25, 2003 -- Pecos Housing Authority Executive Director Nellie Gomez informed the Board of Commissioners that the have closed out their 2002 capital funds project, during Thursday's Pecos Housing Authority/Farm Labor Housing meeting.

"We closed it out today," Gomez told the board.

The closure came after they paid some of their bills and made payroll, she said.

"Everything was spent," Gomez said. "We paid everybody and paid the bill all thru next Thursday."

She added that their projects of the fencing, paving of sidewalks and the landscaping are coming along.

"The landscaping is an on going thing," Gomez said. "Jim we also have cleaned all the lots. We paid quite a lot of money."

She reported that she had several of the migrant workers work on the clean up of the vacant lots.

"I had migrant workers stay a couple of extra days to finish," Gomez said.

Gomez said that they paid $3,500 for the clean up.

She added that the gazebo on the eastside development was done and that they were planning to place a picnic table in the middle of it.

P-B-T to study settlement deal in Galindo case

PECOS, Mon., Aug. 25, 2003 -- The resignation of the Pecos High School assistant principal John Fabela and a discussion behind closed doors with the board's attorney about a suit brought by Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo and his wife Michelle are the topics for a special Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board meeting scheduled for Tuesday evening.

Board members will meet at 6 p.m., in the Technology Center, 1301 S. Eddy Street and the public is invited to attend the option portion of the meeting.

The group will meet in closed session as authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act, Texas Government Code, Section 551.101 et. Seq., Section 551.074: Discuss personnel or hear complaints against personnel and Section 551.071 and 551.129:

(1) Consultation with board's attorney regarding Docket No. 330-SE-0613 Jimmy and Michelle G(alindo) vs. Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD

(2) Discuss resignation of Pecos High School assistant principal.

Board members will return to open session and take action, if any, on items discussed in closed session including possible settlement of the suit brought by (the Galindos) against Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD.

The Galindos' suit is not related to county business, but centers around an incident involving their son at Austin Elementary School last year.

In open session, before going into closed session, board members will hold a public meeting to discuss 2003-2004 budget and proposed tax rate; consider and take possible action on amending the 2002-03 budget; dedicating fund balance; adoption of 2003-04 budget by fund and function; adopt the 2003 tax rate by ordinance; consider and possible action on adoption of a resolution for the Social Security Alternative 457 Master Retirement Plan (Premier Advantage Plan) and Shattered Dreams Program for Pecos High School, Oct. 17.

Season ticket sale for Eagle football starts

PECOS, Mon., Aug. 25, 2003 -- Pecos Eagle season tickets went on sale today for first-time buyers at the P-B-T Business Office, 1302 S. Park St.

Tickets for the five originally scheduled 2003 home games, plus this Friday's added home game against Midland Christian, are on sale during regular business hours. Tickets for each game are $5 apiece, with the five regular games, plus this Friday's contest costing $30.

The other five home games are on Sept 4 against Alpine; Sept. 25 versus Crane; Oct. 10 against Kermit, Oct. 24 against Monahans and Nov. 7 against Midland Greenwood.

For further information, contact the business office at 447-7204.


PECOS, Mon., Aug. 25, 2003 -- High Sun. 97. Low this morning 71. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of evening thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 60s. SE winds 5 to 15 mph. Tues.: Mostly sunny with isolated afternoon thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 90s. East winds 5 to 15 mph. Tues. night: Clear. Lows in the upper 60s.


Maria Hernandez, Gregorio Rayos, Jr. and Selestina De La Rosa

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