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Archive 2003

Area Newspapers
Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Monday, November 17, 2003

Council, PEDC continue talks about projects

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., Nov. 17, 2003 -- The Town of Pecos City Council continued their discussion from last Thursday on the Pecos Economic Development Corp., during a meeting this morning in council chambers at City Hall.

The council also heard a report on the status of acquiring a health provider for the city's employees were updated on the status of acquiring additional police cars and a dump truck for the new landfill.

Council members questioned PEDC President Gari Ward on the co-operation with other local entities and the existing businesses in-town, and the availability of the public money funded institution

Specifically Councilman Frank Sanchez asked about the co-operation that the PEDC had given the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce with the Main Street Program designation that Pecos has recently received from the Texas Historical Commission.

"We don't necessarily offer our help to someone unless they come to us and ask," Ward said, "It's not that we don't want to help, if people come to us then we will help, but we don't go looking or asking people 'who needs help?"

Sanchez said, "We asked you to attend the Main Street meetings a year ago."

"I don't think you have attended any of the Main Street meetings we have had," Mayor Dot Stafford said.

"Now that we are attending these sessions, we will go to the other meetings," said PEDC board member Oscar Saenz said.

Chamber of Commerce president Linda Gholson said that the PEDC had been forthcoming with information and assistance requests, but added, "we just need better communication and cooperation; we cannot function individually, we must work as a team."

The council was also concerned as to the specifics of recent projects that the PEDC had been working on.

At the previous council meeting Ward said they had been working on over 21 projects, and elaborated on the status of these at the meeting this morning.

The first project that was discussed was efforts the PEDC had made on behalf of Battery Reclamation, Inc., the former BCTI that had been facing rough times due to a fine imposed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Ward said that the business had recently had to lay off 22 workers, until permits could be renewed.

"The problem with that particular business is the lack of financial stability that the business has," said PEDC board member and West Texas National Bank President John Grant. "The business is highly leveraged and has a negative net worth at this time; due to these factors, it cannot attract financial backing."

"The business has a $10 million dollar contract with Taiwan under negotiation, but the permit application is holding that up," Saenz said.

"The permit is currently being claimed by the company as an asset worth $1 million on their financial statement," Grant said. "The problem is that the company has proven itself financially incapable of operating at a profit."

The PEDC members also discussed efforts they had made to bring a saddle maker and tanning shop to the downtown district, cooperation they had given to transfer ownership from an outside owner to a local owner for one of the tire businesses here in town, and the possible acquisition of 80 acres of land from a goat dairy project to a company that would like to grow ornamental gourds for exportation.

The one other project the PEDC had collaborated on is a project to bring a Wal-Mart Supercenter to the Pecos area. The company had shown interest in the area, but negotiations on the sale of the land for the projects had hit a stalling point as the landowner had asked for unrealistic price for the real estate.

Wal-Mart already has sought to build a Supercenter in Fort Stockton, but that effort has been fought by local businesses. Wal-Mart opened both its current stores in Pecos and Fort Stockton in 1986.

Board member Mike Burkholder said that these types of discussions needed to be held in secret; because of the common problem that as soon as a landowner finds out that a large company is trying to purchase their land that the price suddenly skyrockets and the business moves elsewhere.

"The secrecy issue has come up before. When I first came onto the board, I told Gari that I didn't want to know what prospects he had," Burkholder said, "I saw it happen I Dallas. A company was buying up land in the downtown area, and as soon as it got out who was doing the buying, real estate prices went through the roof."

Ward said that the PEDC was making better contacts at the capital, getting closer to the governor. "Currently we are talking to a Mr. Rhodes, Gov. Rick Perry's appointee to the state economic development board."

Saenz recapped the PEDC's position by saying that the council had appointed five excellent businessmen to the board to run economic development. The nature of the PEDC was not to do the chamber's job for them. That the PEDC has done two or three studies to see what kinds of business that Pecos can support. The town has two main assets in its favor: inexpensive labor and cheap land, he said. The situation in California is putting Pecos in a prime position to acquire new industries to the area.

Saenz also said that Ward knows this business, that is why the town hired him; he may not be as personable as people like but if it would please the council, he would make an effort to be more so.

Ward said that he would like to remind the council that in the five years that the PEDC had been in operation, that over $15 million in investments had been brought into the Pecos area.

"We would like to see you go out and offer your services to local business, go out and talk to the owners and ask to see if they need help," Councilwoman Angelica Valenzuela said.

In other business the council approved the bid from IBA, a health insurance provider, to cover the city's employees. The contract would cover the past three months and the next 12 months.

Officials said that the city has had problems with this company before, but financial director Sam Contreras assured the council that the administrator of the policy had changed and those issues would not come up.

Contreras also reminded the council that the city currently has a $300,000 claim currently filed, and if the contract was not approved by the end of the month then the debt would become the city's.

The deal that the city has struck with the company will lower the amount that the city has to pay for the coverage, but not the amount that the employees will have to come out of pocket for monthly premiums.

The council also tabled motions on the acquisition of a dump truck for the new landfill and the new police vehicles until quotes from the financing company could be obtained. Contreras said that he believed they would be ready for the next meeting.

Auction brings in $40,000 at flea market

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., Nov. 17, 2003 -- Over $40,000 in items, including school buses and other vehicles, were auctioned off during the Pecos Peddler's Flea Market held this Saturday, which attracted a large crowd to the day-long event.

"We were very pleased with the turnout," said Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Director Linda Gholson. "We had a great crowd, the vendors were pleased and we appreciated all the help from the chamber has received to put all this together."

There were 20 booths set up for the flea maket between the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena and the Reeves County Civic Center. The auction area was located inside the Civic Center and the buses and other vehicles were parked in the back of both buildings.

Over 600 individuals had gone through the gates before 1 p.m. "It's been great and the weather is fantastic," said Gholson, Saturday afternoon. "We just had a lady from Florida come through and she was really excited and pleased with so many booths and the auction."

Some buyers from El Paso and Midland were at the event as well, according to Gholson.

The group made over $40,000 during the auction. "Of that amount, we pay expenses and the chamber will retain a small percentage of it."

"We appreciate everyone's participation, all the entities and groups that were represented out here," said Gholson. "Everything went really well and it was really a lot of fun."

Board OKs gym, stadium use for fundraising events

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., Nov. 17, 2003 -- Christmas for the Kids is planning another fundraiser this weekend, a volleyball tournament scheduled for this coming weekend at the Pecos High School gym.

Use of the gym for the event was approved by Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members during their regular meeting held last Thursday. The tournament will be held Saturday, and the board also voted to waive the fees for the fundraiser.

The Christmas for the Kids group focuses on providing a brighter Christmas to children in the community.

The group plans to help at least 500 children this year, according to coordinator Sofia Baeza.

The tournament was one of two charity events the board agreed to allow use of school facilities. They also approved the usage of the Pecos High School Stadium on Friday, May 14 and Saturday, May 15, for the Annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life.

Relay for Life is a community-based event designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money for the American Cancer Society.

The relay teams will begin setting up camps at 12 p.m., Friday, May 14, with opening ceremonies beginning at 7 p.m. and closing ceremonies ending the relay at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 15.

The committee requested the use of the track and football field, as well as the restrooms under the stands, electrical outlets and lighting under the stands. The fees were waived for this fundraiser as well.

In other business, a public hearing on AEIS (Academic Excellence Indicator System) report was held during the meeting, along with Schools FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas).

"I want to thank everyone, especially Cookie (Canon, financial director)," said PBT-ISD Superintendent Don Love.

Love said that the school was in good financial shape, according to the state's AEIS report, and thanked everyone for doing their part.


PECOS, Mon., Nov. 17, 2003 -- High Sun. 77. Low this morning 55. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy in the evening then clearing. Cooler. Lows 40 to 45. West winds 10 to 20 mph. Tues.: Mostly sunny. Highs 65 to 70. NW winds near 10 mph. Tues. night: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 30s. Light and variable winds. Wed.: Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower to mid 70s. SE winds near 10 mph. Wed. night: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 30s.


Lena Babbs, Ricky Don Oliver and Manuel Solis

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