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Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, October 8, 2003

City's rebates up, RCH falls in new report

PECOS, Wed., October 8, 2003 -- Sales tax rebate totals for October were up for all three cities in Reeves County, while falling for the Reeves County Hospital District, according to figures released this morning by Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn's office.

The Town of Pecos City received $58,677 back from Austin, as its 1 1/2-cent share of the state's 8 1/4-cent sales tax. That's up 4.7 percent from the $56,042 Pecos received in tax rebate funds in October of last year, though for the first 10 months of 2003 overall, rebates are still down slightly from a year ago. The 10-month total is $633,968, a 1.35 percent decline from the $642,699 sent back in 2002.

The October rebate check is based on sales made during August. Of the city's total, one-sixth, or $9,779, goes to the Pecos Economic Development Corp.

Like Pecos, Balmorhea and Toyah also saw their tax rebate checks for August increase over last year, but the 10-month totals remain lower than in 2002.

Balmorhea saw a 19.4 percent rise in its rebate check, from $724 to $864 in August, but for the year is down just over 11 percent, having gotten $8,968 back for its 11/2-cent sales tax. Toyah's $370 check this month was up by nearly a third over the $278 it received a year ago, but its 10-month total of $4,465 is down 22.7 percent from last year.

Reeves County Hospital's rebate totals were down for both the month and the year as a whole. The hospital got back $25,694 this month, a 7.6 percent decline from last year's $27,816, and overall, has gotten back $265,199 this year, 12 percent lower than for the first 10 months of 2002.

Most other area cities also saw their tax rebate checks increase this month, and the state as a whole reported a 2.9 percent rise in money sent out by the comptroller's office.

Midland again received the largest single check for any city in the Permian Basin, at just under $1.46 million, which was up four-tenths of a percent from last year. Odessa's check, for $1.07 million, was up 6.07 percent from last year.

Monahans was one of the few towns to report a decline this month, as its rebate check fell almost 24 percent, from $94,430 to $71,967, based on the city's 2 percent sales tax. Fort Stockton, which raised its sales tax by 33 percent, from 11/2 to two cents during the past year, saw its rebate check rise just under 34 percent to $112,571 from $84,097.

Alpine's rebate check was up 1.15 percent, from $66,172 to $66,936 on its 1 1/2-cent sales tax, while Andrews fell 19 percent, from $73,148 to $59,208, on collections from its one-cent sales tax.

The state's tax rebate total to cities and counties increased from $201.8 million to $207.6. Houston's rebate check for $25.2 million was the single largest, and was up 1.8 percent, while Dallas received $13.2 million back from Strayhorn's office, a 2.6 percent drop from last year.

Anti-drug program schedule on agenda

PECOS, Wed., October 8, 2003 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members will discuss setting a date for the Annual Drug Free Pep Rally and Red Ribbon activities during their regular monthly meeting scheduled for Thursday.

The group will meet at 6 p.m., Thursday at the Technology Center, 1301 S. Eddy St. and the public is invited to attend the open portion of the meeting.

Under correspondence: a check from Reeves County Teachers Credit Union and a check from the Pecos Eagle Athletic Booster Club. A letter from TEA -PID error rate and a letter from TEA - compliance visit report will also be discussed under correspondence.

Board members will listen to a report on the new high school softball field; a report on FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas) - district status; consider and possible action on memorandums of understanding between Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD and Go Project Head Start; 2003 tax roll; 2003-04 budget amendments; clarifying or revising TASB Policy DED Local concerning 12 month employees' vacations; requests to purchase foreclosed properties; Campus Improvement Plan and District Improvement Plan; participating in Surplus Auction hosted by the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce, Nov. 15 and disposal of property that is no longer necessary for the operation of the district.

The group will discuss AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) status on each campus and district.

Board members will meet behind closed doors 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.

They will return to open session and take action, if any on items discussed in closed session.

Consider and possible action on professional personnel: appointments, change of contract, reassignments.

Regular agenda items will be: tax report; cafeteria report and commodities received; depository securities report; current bills and financial report; investment transaction report; reconciled bank balance report; Reeves County Community Recreation Department report; enrollment report; date and time for next meeting; calendar of events and request for items for next agenda.

Student Council schedules dance for homecoming

PECOS, Wed., October 8, 2003 -- The Pecos High School Student Council will be sponsoring a dance after the Pecos Eagles' homecoming football game on Friday, which will end at midnight.

The dance will be held at the PHS Cafeteria and students are encouraged to dress appropriately.

The Homecoming Court will be announced during the event, which will follow the crowning of the 2003 Pecos High School Homecoming Queen at halftime of the Pecos-Kermit football game.

Vasquez says police less busy than decade ago

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., October 8, 2003 -- Juan Vasquez Jr. enjoys his job as a Patrol Lieutenant with the Pecos Police. He grew up seeing police officers on TV and in person, saw the respect that they commanded and the important job they do, and knew that that law enforcement was the career for him.

Born in 1967 here in Pecos, Vasquez attended Pecos High School, where he played football and baseball for the Eagles. During high school he worked at the West of the Pecos Museum for a short period before getting a job with the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center.

After attending a couple semesters of college and seeing how little real world application some of the subjects could hold, Vasquez thought about going into law enforcement a lot, and with a little encouragement from his wife, joined the police academy being offered in Midland at the time.

"It was easy to make myself grasp the ideas in the police academy training, they applied then and still do to every day life. I won't lie and tell you all were extremely interesting, for example Penal Codes could get rather boring occasionally," Vasquez said.

In 1994 Vasquez joined the Pecos Police as a school officer.

"Back then it we were much busier. There were two rival gangs at the high school, so we had our handfull with fighting, graffiti, and criminal mischief, with each incident requiring a report. Between that and running between all the schools for every call, remember there were four more schools open at that point, we were busy," he said. "We averaged between three and four calls a day, with only one officer. That was quite a work load."

Vasquez observed that the community now has calmed down a little. The population has decreased a little, but most importantly the police department and the community seem to have developed a mutual respect for each other.

"They realize we are not out there solely to write citations, we are just trying to keep everybody safe, police and public both."

Vasquez recalls one incident that shook him a little. "I was on a call to the hospital for a mentally unstable man. I was taking the potentially suicidal subject's statement, when he asked for something (can't remember what). I went outside to get the nurse, and when I returned he was screaming. I got close enough to see if any thing was physically wrong, but as I approached, the man jumped out of bed and went for my pistol. He got his hands on the butt of it and we wrestled for what seemed like an eternity, but in all reality was probably about 30 seconds.

"All I could think of was the safety of the hospital staff and my own. Just in time two more officers who were responding to the call showed up and subdued the unstable man," he added "Not that I would want to repeat that incident, but it is the close calls that really add the excitement to this job. That is why I like it so much, everyday it is different."

With helping people being the best part of the job, Vasquez said that the hardest has to be any incident that involves children.

"Whether it is abuse or an accident, those images stay with you," he said. " People say that you eventually become hardened to it but it hasn't happened to me yet."

Vasquez is an instructor with the police academy here in Pecos, where he has taught both the physical aspects of training and the academic. He said the latter is his favorite, because "it keeps me up to date with the laws and procedures. The regulations and wording of the penal codes changes often, so teaching it is a way to keep up to date while helping cadet understand the material."

Vasquez has been honored twice each with patrolman of the year and supervisor of the year awards. He is a current member of the city-county joint SWAT team.

In his off time he enjoys coaching his son's pee-wee football team. "I really enjoy getting to see the kids having such a good time, it doesn't seem to matter at that age whether they win or lose, they are just out there for the fun of it."

Officer Vasquez and his wife Christina have two children, John and Isabella. He is the son of Juan Sr. and Soccoro Vasquez.


PECOS, Wed., October 8, 2003 -- High Tues. 89. Low this morning 70. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows 60 to 65. East winds 10 to 15 mph. Thurs.: Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs 80 to 85. SE winds 10 to 15 mph. Thurs. night: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows near 60. SE winds 10 to 15 mph. Fri.: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 80s. SE winds 10 to 15 mph. Fri. night: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows near 60.

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