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Council OKs $1.38 million hole in ground

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Staff Writer

PECOS, 1995 - If all Pecos city departments have a budget increase like
the landfill department, the 1995-96 budget will require a huge tax

City Councillors in a Monday workshop tentatively approved Armando Gil's
request for $1.38 million to construct a new landfill trench and $22,000
to purchase a pickup and a used road grader, increasing his budget from
$235,600 to $1.63 million.

Gil also asked for and got $1,700 for a new computer to replace one that
was damaged by lightning striking the landfill building.

City Manager Harry Nagel said that it costs more to operate the landfill
than the $24 a ton the city charges for dumping, and the council
discussed raising the fees or discontinue allowing out-of-town dumping.

"We can raise prices and lose them all," Nagel said.

"If it is costing us money, we would be better off," said Elvia Reynolds.

Gil said that 240 tons of refuse was dumped in the landfill during the
city-wide cleanup, and "we're not through yet."

In the municipal buildings budget, Gil included $6,000 for rest rooms at
Saragosa Park, along with a basketball court. He also wants to enclose
part of the city yard with security fencing to protect vehicles parked

Expenses in the parks department will drop slightly, with deletion of
$20,000 for last year's purchase of a tractor-mower-front end loader.

Gil said miniature golf course operation will cost $1,500, but most of
that will be offset by revenue.

Dr. Reynolds asked that the $10,000 set aside for a park in the 200
block of Oak Street be left in the new budget.

"I would like to see us go ahead with that deal," he said. "it is a good
addition to downtown."

Few changes were made in the emergency management budget of $35,380.
Health and Sanitation dropped from $293,800 to $213,650 with elimination
of $88,000 for a new garbage truck.

Octavio Garcia asked for $80,000 to buy a new sweeper for the street
department, and the council gave him $1,000 extra for street and traffic

They discussed purchasing a machine to make their own signs and asked
Garcia to get more information on the cost.

Garcia said that $55,000 of the $80,000 requested for street maintenance
if for sealcoat.

Jones Bros. did a better job of sealcoating this year, said Mayor Dot

"They didn't roll it enough last year. We had Frank Spencer's crew and
my street department with them this year. They did a better job," Garcia

The council agreed to continue the budget workshop at 7:30 a.m. Monday.
They plan to meet with each department head to consider their requests.

Water shortage slows irrigation

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Staff Writer

PECOS, 1995 - It's O.K. to water your grass and flowers, said Octavio
Garcia, city water superintendent. But he's asking schools, city and
county staff to hold off on using city water for a few more days.

Garcia said that parts to hook up a submersible pump should be in today,
and he expects to start pumping a new well in the Ward County field
Wednesday. However, he will have to submit samples of the water to a
laboratory for bacterial analysis on three consecutive days before
hooking it to the reservoir pipeline.

City Manager Harry Nagel said that tests by the drilling company in the
16-inch well produced 600 to 700 gallons per minute. Test water had to
be turned out into the field, he said.

"It hurt to waste it," he said.

He said that a well that was repaired in the Worsham field produces 200
gallons per minute, and a rebuilt well in the Ward County field that
they thought was lost is pumping 300 gallons per minute.

"Tell the public to be conservative, but to go ahead and water yards.
Don't wash cars yet," Nagel said.

Mayor Dot Stafford said that public participation during the voluntary
rationing period has been great.

Garcia said the reservoir is almost full, but homeowners should be
careful not to waste water by letting it run in the street.

Firemen honor fallen chief

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Staff Writer

PECOS, 1995 - J.T. Prewit served the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department as
chief for 28 years. Firemen and their families honored Prewit Thursday
with an unveiling ceremony for a bronze plaque on the front of the fire

His wife, Mary Nabors Prewit, unveiled the plaque before a crowd of
about 50 persons, including her family: John, Mike and Steve Prewit,
Mary Jay Bradley, and John's wife and children, Janet, Farrah and Briar

Fire Chief Doug Cox said that Prewit was the fifth chief to serve since
the department was organized in 1909. W.P. Brady was first, followed by
E.B. Kiser, C.F. Manahan, Sammy Caroline and Prewit, who retired in 1991.

Prewit was born March 4, 1921 to early settlers in the Pecos area,
graduating form Pecos High School in 1940. He was attending the Texas
College of Mines in El Paso when the Japanese attacked Pearl harborn.

He served the Navy in the South Pacific as a landing craft operator,
then returned to Pecos and married Mary Nabors. When Chief Caroline
suffered a fatal heart attack at fire practice March 28, 1963, J.T. was
chosen by special election to head the department.

Under his direction, the department experienced many changes, Cox said.

"The days of firefighting with poorly equipped apparatus and little or
no personal protection were slowly and painfully phased out. With the
purchase of the first Diesel powered appratus, and more emphasis given
to personal safety, the highly-trained and efficient fire department of
today was born," he said.

Cox said the "smoke-eaters" and "surround-and-drown" tactics began their
decline under J.T.'s leadership.

"Approved and tested firefighting methods were tried and accepted by the
department. Training became the norm instead of the exception. The chief
sent as many men as the budget woul allow to fire school at A&M.
Personal protection was drilled into the minds of every firefighter," he

Fellow firefighters become your second family, Cox said. "Some would
argue that they become your first family."

The fact that no firefighter ever lost his life at a fire scene under
Chief Prewit's leadership is a tribute to his expertise and wisdom," Cox

Mac McCormick, pastor of North Temple Baptist Church, led in prayer to
open the ceremony on the parking apron in front of the fire hall.

Car sharing to ease police travel budget

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Staff Writer

PECOS, 1995 - Pecos Police Chief Troy Moore gave a little this morning
in the city council budget workshop, agreeing to work out a car-sharing
program for officers in exchange for four new units in the 1995-96

Moore asked for $97,800 for new patrol cars, but Councilman Danny
Rodriguez asked if he could help alleviate the budget crunch by
assigning two officers to a vehicle.

"The city can do so much; what can the department do?" Rodriguez asked.

Each officer now has his own unit, which he takes home and has available
immediately when called to duty in an emergency.

Moore said he has been considering assigning two officers to each

"If you will do it for one year, it will give us more flexibility,"
Rodriguez said.

"Can we get four cars? We desperately need that many," Moore said.

Finance officer Steve McCormick said that new cars will cost about
$18,000 each, and asked that the council put $72,000 in the proposed
budget temporarily.

Moore will bring a plan for unit sharing at the next budget meeting July
11 for the council to consider before making a definite decision.

The council suggested the new units be placed under an extended
warranty, which will double the current warranty period for about $700
per year.

Vehicle repairs was reduced from $18,000 to $15,000 because the new
units will not need as many repairs as the old ones.

Moore asked for a $500 increase in the uniforms and equipment line item,
but the council left it at $3,500 with instructions to require reserve
officers to purchase their own uniforms.

A line item of $1,000 was added for equipment for the narcotics task
force. Moore said they have been undergoing tactical training, and they
need equiment such as paint guns that will show where a target is hit;
and they need body microphones and video cameras for undercover work.

The council left $3,500 in the line item for investigative funds used by
undercover officers to purchase narcotics.

Reeves County has increased the per diem rate for city prisoners housed
in the county jail from $15 to $20, Moore said. That increases the
budget from $11,000 to $14,500.

Little change was made in the water department budget. Octavio Garcia
requested $45,000 for vehicles, but the council cut it to $30,000.
Capital outlay was increased from $7,000 to $22,000.

In the sewer department, tools and equipment was reduced from $30,500 to

In the 7:30 a.m. July 11 meeting, the council will again meet with Moore
regarding new car purchases, then with Doug Cox on the fire department

Pecos City Council on Wednesday will consider issuing $1.2 million in
certificates of obligation to finance construction of an addition to the
city landfill.

Certificates are to be repaid with a combination of property tax and
landfill revenue.

Notice of the intent to issue certificates of obligation must be
published for two weeks before the council can pass an ordinance calling
for their issue. That will be considered on August 24.

In an emergency addendum to Wednesday's agenda, the council will
consider in executive session contemplated litigation with United Video

UVC's attorneys have notified the city they intend to sue if the council
interferes with the transfer of the local cable franchise to Universal
Cable Communications Inc., dba Classic Cable of Austin.

The council voted unanimously in the last meeting not to approve the
franchise transfer. They asked Classic Cable if they would open an
office in Pecos. If they make that a requirement of the franchise
transfer, UVC will file suit, the attorney said.

Other agenda items for the 7:30 a.m. meeting include consideration of a
new telephone system, appointment of one alternate to the zoning board
of adjustment, consider closing downtown streets for the cantaloupe
festival on August 12, supporting Pecos Ambulance Service's grant
request, application for aid to community develoment grant for 1994,
consideration of records retention proposals and employment of police

The regular meeting was rescheduled from Thursday so council members can
attend a meeting in Austin.

Employees can earn 3 percent wage hike

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Staff Writer

City employees may receive an increase in pay of up to 3 percent of
their present salary during the next fiscal year, the Pecos City Council
agreed this morning.

In a budget workshop, finance officer Steve McCormick asked for
permission to request an increase of up to 5 percent for exceptional
work, but the council said that could cause morale problems among the

Sticking with the present plan to allow department heads to evaluate
each employee on the anniversary date of their employment, the council
will hear a report on that evaluation and grant or deny the requested

Octavio Garcia, utilities director, said he does not grant an automatic
3 percent increase, but gives none, 1, 2 or 3 percent as merited.

"If I don't have an employee that gets a 3 percent raise, I am thinking
about getting rid of them," McCormick said. "If you would allow me to
shoot at 5 percent, I would be tickled to death to bring it to the

Every department head has employees they rely on, McCormick said.

"If we all had that option, we would really love that; to come to you
and tell you why I think she deserves 5 percent instead of 3 percent,"
he said.

"I think we would be in trouble if we raised some to 5 percent and some
to 3," said Dr. Elvia Reynolds.

"I agree," said Police Chief Troy Moore. "I don't like merit raises. All
employees do good in certain functions."

Councilman Randy Graham said the 3 percent raise should not be
automatic, but each employee should be evaluated to determine if he
deserves an increase.

Danny Rodriguez said the council will place employee evaluations on the
agenda each month. The council will evaluate each department head
themselves and consider evaluations of all employees as submitted by
department heads.

Today's session was one of the council's ongoing budget discussions with
department heads. The final workshop will be at 7:30 a.m. August 1, at
which time they will complete work on the payroll and consider budgeting
for a street sweeper in the street department.

City Manager Harry Nagel said that another water well is going bad, and
it was shut down for repairs.

Garcia said the No. 5 well in the Worsham field is spewing water at the
base, either from a hole in the casing or worn threads.

"We shut it down to keep it from falling in the hole," he said.

High-dollar trench financing eyed

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Staff Writer

PECOS, 1995 - Pecos residents may see an decrease in city taxes next
year, despite this morning's decision by the Pecos City Council to issue
$1.2 million in certificates of obligation to add a new trench to the

Larry Skiles, representing financing agents, said the 20-year repayment
schedule he prepared for the council's consideration would allow them to
decrease the tax rate by 1 cent despite a drop in property valuation
this year.

Mayor Dot Stafford said the council has greed in budget workshops to
decrease the tax rate by 2 cents per $100 valuation. Action on that
decision will come after budget hearings, however.

Final action on the bond issue will come on August 24, after taxpayers
have had time to petition the council for an election to allow them to
vote on the matter.

Skiles said that the city must publish notice of intent to issue the
bonds, and if no petition is presented, that indicates tacit approval by

In other action, the council awarded the bid for a new telephone system
to Oilfield Phone Service.

Owner-manager Dick Alligood said the Panasonic DBS system price of
$11,099.87 includes 37 teelphones with a 72-port cabinet, battery backup
and surge protection.

Installation, training and a two-year warranty are included.

GTE originally submitted a lower bid, but that bid expired and their new
bid was higher than Oilfield Phone's, said City Manager Harry Nagel.
Telecome Management Consultants bid $14,983.

Alligood said the new digital system will access the "information
highway" when that technology is available here, but it will not be
available in the near future.

"A lot of customers say they want to get prepared for Internet," he
said. "But the infrastructure to get that service from Midland to here
is not in place. We can be putting money out in order to use these
things but may not see them for five years."

In executive session, the council discussed a letter from attorneys for
United Video Cablevision, who has requested their cable franchise be
transferred to Universal Communicaton Inc., dba Classic Cable.

The council voted in the July 13 meeting not to approve the transfer
primarily because of poor service the lack of personnel stationed in
Pecos, Nagel said.

They instructed Nagel to talk with other cities where Classic Cable
purchased UVC's systems "and find out what they think."

City Manager Scott Johnson will respond to their letter, which threatens
to sue if the council interferes with the sale by requiring Classic
Cable to open a local office here.

Johnson said he will tell them that the council has never made a local
office a requirement of the franchise transfer.

"A question was raised about whether Classic Cable was intending to open
a local office here. In the city's opinion, that would provide much
better service to people on the cable," Johnson said.

"My response will be that we would sure like to have a local office, but
it is not a requirement."

The council has until August 15 to approve the transfer, Johnson said.
"They are putting it on the agenda for August 1 when they have a budget

Adding a second alternate to the zoning board of adjustment to ensure a
quorum at meetings, the council appointed Rudy Martinez.

They also approved closing one block of Oak Street and half a block of
First Street on August 12-13 for the Pecos Cantaloupe Festival.

Pecos Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Rivera said the chamber
took over the festival this year because it was dropped by the Lion's
Club. They felt a one-night festival downtown, similar to Fiesta Night
in Old Pecos, would be more successful and less stressful than the
three-day event previously held in the Reeves County Civic Center.

Susan Starck, Pecos Ambulance Service chief, presented a request for
support of her $100,000 grant request to the Abell-Hanger Foundation,
which was approved.

Starck said she has written 14 grant requests and received "no's" from
12 of them.

In paying $390,999.50 in bills, the council noted that $52,000 was for
seal coating streets and another $52,000 for a new water well.

The council accepted the bid of Records Consultants to set up s records
retention system required by the state. The other firm bidding was File

Although File Pro's basic bid appeared to be lower, Record Consultants
offers more services and a guaranteed price, said Geneva Martinez, city

The firm will go through all the city's records to determine which ones
should be retained and set up a filing system that will make them more
easily accessible than they are now, said Steve McCormick, finance

Police Chief Troy Moore requested that the council postpone discussion
of reserve officers because he wants to add names to the list. The
council took no action on a 1994 grant proposal after learning it was
put on the agenda by mistake.

Panel talks economic development

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Staff Writer

AUSTIN, 1995 - Economic development is the likely focus for the 1995
municipal advisory committee, which met with Texas Attorney General Dan
Morales and his staff in Austin Friday.

Pecos Mayor Dot Stafford is one of 32 city officials appointed to the
committe to advise him on important issues facing Texas municipalities.

"Cities alone cannot combat juvenile crime, gangs, crack houses and
other problems facing our communities," Morales said. "This committee
will help me and my staff design ways in which the attorney general's
office can assist local governments."

Stafford said the committee focused last year on compiling a juvenile
crime packet. "This year we are leaning toward economic development,"
she said. "We set some goals for us to attempt to attain."

It was the first of three meetings to take place in 1995 and 1996.

Morales' staff conducted presentations on the AG's drug nuisance
abatement program and the opinion committee.

The nuisance abatement program works with Texas cities to shut down
properties where illegal drug violations, prostitution, underage
drinking and other illegal activity takes plce. The opinion committee
interprets the Texas Open Records and Open Meetings Acts and issues
legal rulings based on requests from local and state officials seeking
clarification of state laws.

Morales' municipal affairs section assists and advises city officials on
legal matters unique to city government. The section is headed by
assistant attorney general Scott Joslove.

Pecos City Council this morning tabled action on transfer of United
Video Cablevision's franchise to Universal Communications Inc., dba
Classic Cable.

Mayor Dot Stafford said the council met in executive session to discuss
possible litigation with UVC, who has threatened to sue if the city
interferes with its sale of the cable system.

She said that City Attorney Scott Johnson wrote a letter in reply to
UVC, and he has not received their response.

The council also wants more information on Classic Cable's performance
in other small cities where they operate a cable service, she said. They
plan to discuss it again on Auguat 10.

Stafford said the council hopes to make adjustments to the proposed
budget in a workshop August 8. The budget must be filed for public
inspection before adoption. It is to take effect October 1.
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Copyright 1996 Pecos Enterprise
324 S. Cedar, Box 2057, Pecos TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321