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Nov. 13, 1997

Reif & Co. gains tax abatement

Trustees of the Monahans-Wickett-Pyote school district
Tuesday night, Nov. 12, unanimously approved a tax abatement
for M.M. Reif & Co., a Pennsylvania based manufacturer who
is opening a web products plant in Monahans.

Ward County Commissioners and the Monahans City Council
already had approved the proposal.

It may have been the first such tax abatement ever approved
by the school board for economic development in Ward County.
With Monahans Mayor David Cutbirth, Council member Curtis
Howard and TU Electric's area executive Kevin Slay present,
the board moved quickly through the approval of the

Trustee John Sconiers moved to grant tax relief to the
company that is projected to bring 40 jobs to Ward County
within a year. Trustee Ruben Martinez seconded the motion.
School Board Chair Johnny White called for the question and
every trustee voted for it.

Trustee Steve Swarb noted that the decision by the board
should be recognized as an abatement only for Reif & Co.,
saying as School Superintendent Cliff Stephens had when the
issue was discussed in October, that the board will continue
such actions on a "case-by-case basis."

Under the resolution approved by the board, the property tax
abatement would be for future investment at the Camelot
Building, which recently has been purchased from the city by
Reif & Co. for 4170,000. It is expected that the building
will go on the tax rolls at a property evaluation of

The school district will receive the revenue from this
evaluation, revenue it was not receiving previously because
the building was owned by a governmental entity (The City of
Monahans) and therefore was tax exempt.

Trustee abatement was approved only on future investment to
enhance the Reif operations at the Camelot Building.
Cutbirth and others have suggested that investment might be
as much as $200,000.

Potential problems with school trustee approval of such an
abatement focused on the potential loss of state dollars
allocated to school districts based on property values for
tax purposes in a school district. Stephens noted that
school district financial officers had determined it would
take 11 years before the district might break even on the
abatement - assuming that the investment involved was
$200,000 as projected. Said Stephens: "We would eventually
get it back. In Year 11, we're back to being $160 to the

Stephens had noted at previous meetings that several factors
were at work including the potential growth in student
enrollment from workers, who may move into the school
district, for employment at M.M. Reif & Co. Each additional
student means about $3,000 in state assistance. In the
October meeting, Mayor Cutbirth had challenged the board to
grant the tax abatement for the good of the community and
its economic development.

Pecan show deadline Monday

Ward County's Annual Pecan Show deadline is at noon on
Monday, Nov. 24, according to a statement released by staff
workers at the office of the Texas Agricultural Extension
Service in Monahans.

The Pecan Show this year will be held at the Ward County

The statement from the county agent's office says:
"Monday, Nov. 24, and Tuesday, Nov. 25, all pecan entries
must be at the Ward County Courthouse, first floor . . .by
noon on Monday, Nov. 24."

It is noted that the location of the contest is a change
from years past when the competition was held at the First
State Bank of Monahans. Further, the report says, "Food and
craft entries must be in by 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 25."
Awards will be announced that day.

Law snares Ward dopers

Armed with 11 arrest warrants charging various violations
of anti-dope traffic laws, more than a score of law
enforcement officers swept through Ward County on Wednesday,
Nov. 12.

The raids began about 1:30 p.m. in a cold drizzle that
gradually turned to a light rain. The search for those named
in the warrants continued through the afternoon into the
evening, reports Ward County Sheriff Ben Keele.

Within 30 minutes, two of the warrants had been served.
The first dope traffic suspect arrested was identified as
. Pamela Denise Walker, 36, of the 200 Block of West "E"
Street in Monahans.

That arrest was easy, Keele reports.

Walker already was in the Ward County Jail when the
warrants formally were served against her.

Elements of the Monahans Police Department, the Ward County
Sheriff's office, the Texas Highway Patrol and the Permian
Basin Drug Task Force based in Odessa were serving the

"We just ran one into Kermit and they're on the way back
with him now," the sheriff reported after the raiders had
been combing the county for about an hour.

The suspect taken into custody in Kermit was, law officers
report, Mario Anaya Pena of the 600 Block of Franklin Avenue
in Monahans. Pena, whose age was not immediately available,
was charged with two counts of delivery of cocaine. Soon
after, the dragnet snared Leopold V. Hernandez, on "J"
Street in Monahans for delivery of cocaine. Pena's age also
was not available.

Both were processed into the county jail.

Sales tax rebate checks rise

AUSTIN - Sales tax rebate checks to governmental entities in
Ward County were up sharply in November compared with a year
ago, reports State Comptroller John Sharp.

The county's increase was 20.04 percent, which marks a rise
in sales tax rebate checks from $62,377.28 in November of
1996 to $74,879.36.

For the year to date Ward County sales tax rebates are up
25.04 percent from $526,297.14 last year to $658,111.90
this year.

That local increase eclipsed the state wide increase in
sales tax rebates of 11.4 percent in November and 7.1
percent for the year across the state.

November's sales tax rebate checks reflect the taxes
collected on retail sales in September.

"Consumer spending shows confidence in the continued growth
of the Texas economy." reports Sharp.

In Ward County, Monahans collected the most dollars in its
November sales tax rebates - up 18.97 percent from
$58,584.86 last November to $69,698.58 this November.

For the year, Monahans rebates are up 25.74 percent from
$478,175.43 to $602,534.34.

Only one county city, Grandfalls, reported a lower November
rebate check this year than last year. This November's check
was down 1.99 percent, from $1,021.80 last November to
$1,001.40 this year.

Other Ward County cities which collect sales tax rebates,
their numbers and percentage increase are:
Pyote, up 18.38 percent from $794.48 to $940.56.
Thorntonville, up 209.05 percent from $135 to $417.23.
Wickett, up 53.25 percent from $1841.14 to $2821.59.

The data released by the comptroller's office noted that
total sales tax rebates in the state were $21.4 million.

Rebates of $18.2 million to Texas counties were 15.7 percent
higher than allocations of $15.7 million in November 1996.

Another $6 million went to 26 special purpose districts
around the state.

The next sales tax allocation checks to the various
governmental entities in Texas are scheduled for delivery on
Dec. 12, about two weeks before Christmas, notes the state

Rattlesnake bites boy in park

Joe David Williamson was bitten by a rattlesnake just as he
finished a ride down one of the slides in Rudy Park, reports
his father R.D. Williamson.

Joe David, 5, was bitten about 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8,
at the park across the street from Cullender Kindergarten.
Williamson's son now is back home in Monahans and doing fine
after a whirlwind series of medical and emergency action.

It was the second rattlesnake bite case reported this year
in Ward County. The first involved a boy who lives near
Grandfalls. That child also has recovered from the snakebite
with no ill effects, thanks, his family reports, to prompt
medical attention.

Says Williamson:

"My very heart felt, 'Thank You!' to everyone that helped
Joe David after his snake bite."

These included he said "Ms Gotchen, Ms Hays and Dr. Pepito"
at the Ward Memorial Hospital emergency room only a few
blocks from where the incident occurred.

Continues Williamson:

"I won't forget those ambulance driver men either. All of
these people working together with the prayers of every one
at Third and Dwight Church of Christ make a rattlesnake bite
seem very simple. My hat's off to all.

"May God bless each of you in your endeavors and I can't say
it enough times."

Williamson reports Joe David was bitten on the calf just
below his right knee as soon as he came off the end of a

"I broke a broom trying to kill the snake and then I just
stomped him to death," says Williamson.

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