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Tuesday, May 25, 1999

Pecos `too rich' to receive water field grant

Staff Writer
PECOS, May 25, 1999 -- If tears would solve the water problem for Pecos, Mayor Dot Stafford and members of the city council might shed a few.

At least they felt like it after a trip to Austin last week that left them high and dry.

Stafford, City Manager Kenneth Neal, councilman Johnny Terrazas, utilities director Octavio Garcia, finance director Steve McCormick, engineer Frank Spencer and Tina Hagy of Fort Stockton, area representative for state Senator Frank Madla, made the trip in an attempt to get a grant or loan to help pay the $8 million that development of a new water field will cost.

"We were hoping for a grant or loan with forgiveness, since we are an economically distressed community," Neal said. "We didn't get either."

Neal said they met first with the board's finance committee, explaining problems with servicing a loan large enough to develop a well field.

"They listened carefully and said they understood.

"They said that even though we are economically distressed, our overall per capital income is too high," Neal said. "And our water quality is better than they could accept. They are trying to provide water to colonias."

Using 1990 census figures, the board said Pecos has a median income of $22,000 per year, which is 71 percent of the state median income, said McCormick.

Hagy had asked that the group be placed on the water development board's agenda, and they thought they would get a hearing. They were not on the agenda, but Hagy was able to get three members of the board to leave the meeting to talk privately with the Pecos group.

"They said the same thing," Neal said.

Mayor Stafford said the council has been trying for nine years to get help with the well field.

"We are eligible, according to the brochure they sent out, but they say we are not," she said. "The case is closed, period. They said this is the end of it."

Neal said that he had also sought federal money through the rural development agency, but their cap is 10,000 population.

Stafford said the city has tried every source they know in Austin, and now it is up to local citizens to come up with the money.

"We have water up to 2007," she said.

Neal said that two wells have already been drilled, along with 21 test holes in the South Worsham field, which is about seven miles from the current Worsham Field in southeast Reeves County.

"It is good quality and good quantity for at least 50 years," he said.

Development costs include engineering fees, pipeline to connect the wells to the current transmission line, well drilling at about $100,000 per hole, and equipment.

The only solution is to borrow funds to develop the water field, and the council on Thursday will consider raising water rates to offset the cost.

If the proposed ordinance is adopted, basic rates would increase $1 per month for a single-family residence and $2 for commercial (2000 gallons minimum).

Bush's office holding up task force's cash

Staff Writer
PECOS, May 25, 1999 -- Reeves County Auditor Lynn Owens recommended that the county pull out of their agreement with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force due to the reluctance of the governor's office to process a request for reiumbursment of funds.

Owens told commissioners of his recommendation at the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting held Monday.

"I strongly recommend that we pull out of this thing, we just don't need the headache," said Owens.

Owens stated that he had spoken to the drug task force bookkeeper Bruce Salcido. "He said that he had called the governor's office and they were having some problems and we would have to reapply for funds," said Owens.

"He was also told that other counties pay for this and then get reiumbursed for their expenditures, but it takes about three months to get reiumbursed," said Owens.

Owens stated that as of this time, it would take a minimum of $100,000 to put into that account to pay their bills and meet the payroll.

"If the court would like to create a separate line item, we could do that also," he said.

Owens told the court that this particular item was taking a tremendous amount of time. "We don't get reiumbursed for administration fees, we're just doing this out of the goodness of our heart," said Owens.

Owens told the court that since March, there is not a dime left in that account.

"They told Bruce that all the counties pay for the expenses and the government then reiumburses them on a quarterly basis," said Owens. "This still wouldn't work out, because at the end of the year, there wouldn't be any funds reiumbursed until the following year," he said.

Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez said he would talk to Texas Gov. George W. Bush's office, because they were supposed to advance the county some money.

"Let me see what I can find out about this, because there are funds there for us," he said.

"The start up payment was a one time thing only," said Owens.

Bush's office declined to grant re-funding for the Permian Basin Drug Task Force last May, prompting the force to cease operations. The state formed its own West Texas Narcotics Task Force, originally run by the Department of Public Safety and now supervised by Ector County. About half of the old task force counties opted to allign themselves with the DPS-run task force, while the others joined the Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force.

County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo suggested a group visit Austin and talk to officials. "I think if we went to Austin and meet with them we could get something arranged," said Galindo.

"There's no way we can exist on being reiumbursed on a quarterly basis," said Owens. "We could send them monthly check copies and get reiumbursed, but I don't think this will work either."

"They've dealt with task forces before and they know they're going to get their money," said Gomez, referring to the vendors who are wanting to get paid.

"I think it's important we pay vendors and set an appointment with the governor's office and make it work proactively," said Galindo. "I don't think this should put a strain on us."

The court approved for Owens to move $80,000 into a line-item to cover those expenses. "I'll just reiumburse when or if we receive funds," said Owens.

In conjunction, an interlocal agreement between Culberson County, and the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force was approved. "This is the same agreement between the task force and the other counties and cities that have joined us," said Galindo.

"Ramp-Up" cost budget amendments for the Reeves County Detention Center were tabled for the next meeting.

Commissioners approved payment number two for RCDC civil engineering services in the amount of $61,785; approved a request from Dawson Geophysical Permit to conduct 3-D Vibroseis Survey and reports from various departments.

Personnel and salary changes included at the Reeves County Detention Center, Martin Lumbreras, promoted to Food Service III, with an annual salary of $23,000; and new hires for correctional officer I, Jason Martinez, Isabel Chavez, Lupe Lyles, Julio Quinones and Alvaro Venegas. At the Reeves County Sheriff's Department, Rachel N. Orona, on a part-time basis at the rate of $5.25 per hour and at the sports and recreation department Ida Contreras, part-time at an hourly rate of $8 per hour.

"She's teaching aerobics and I just wanted to mention that this is a self-supported program," said Galindo.

Eisenberg joins busy federal probation office

Staff Writer
PECOS, May 25, 1999 -- Seven years with the state parole system in Dallas and Tyler helped prepare Karen Eisenberg for her new position as probation officer for the Pecos Division of federal court.

"I'm glad that she's here," said her supervisor, Jamie Reed. "We desperately need her help."

Criminal prosecutions in the Pecos Division have more than tripled since the new courthouse was built in 1995, and the probation office has been shorthanded.

Not only do the officers supervise probationers, they do pre-sentence investigations on all felony convictions.

Eisenberg said investigations are not new to her, and she feels comfortable in her new role.

"With parole I worked with sex offenders," she said. "You have to investigate to ensure they are living where they are supposed to be living; not too close to schools or day care centers."

She liked the flexibility of her job best. While in Tyler, she was able to complete her master's degree in counseling at Texas A&M University in Commerce.

Working with convicted felons may not be everyone's cup of tea, but Eisenberg said she has never been physically accosted. And she worked in south Dallas, a tough neighborhood.

"I don't think you can ever become too comfortable," she said. "You need to be aware who you are dealing with and your surroundings. Family members and friends are the ones you are more concerned about than the one you are supervising."

Travel is part of the job, and Eisenberg expects to make a lot of trips. "You have to be flexible," she said.

Eisenberg chose Pecos because it is closer to her parents, who have retired from the Army and are living in Alamogordo, N.M. She has a 15-year-old daughter who will be a sophomore at Pecos High School next year.

She has found Pecos to be very friendly, but not a great place to shop.

"I'll be making road trips on the weekend, and using the J.C. Penney catalog store here," she said.

Having lived in east Texas, Eisenberg commented on the pretty, blue sky in West Texas.

"I surely do not miss the humidity," she said.

For relaxation, Eisenberg enjoys seasonal crafting, and she likes to work out to keep fit.

Tree Board's planting total at over 2,000

Staff Writer
PECOS, May 25, 1999 -- Over 2,000 trees have been planted in Pecos thanks to a local organization whose goal is to promote the use of trees locally as a way to beautify the community.

The Pecos Tree Board is a non-profit group of citizens working together to plant and promote the planting of trees in the Trans-Pecos region.

Over 2,000 trees have been planted in Pecos since the board was formed and over $100,000 has been spent on trees and irrigation systems to the trees, according to board member Judy Tipton.

The purpose of the Pecos Tree Board is to promote planting of trees and shrubs for beautification, shade and windbreaks, according to Tipton.

"This is also the fifth year Pecos has been named a Tree City USA," said Tipton.

They are appointed by the mayor with the approval of the city council to serve without compensation.

An update on the many trees planted in Pecos by the Pecos Tree Board recently include, seven Mulberry at the 4-H Barn; one Oak Tree on Highway 285; one live Oak for Arbor Day; 26 at Fairview Cemetery; 11 Chinese Pistachios; five live Oak and 10 Soapberry and five Lace Bark Elm. In addition, 35 Pines were planted in Toyah; ten Pines at Greenwood Cemetery and eight at the Catholic Cemetery; eight at the Baptist Cemetery; seven at Methodist Cemetery; two at City Hall; three at the Rodeo Grounds and two at the county yard.

The board is dedicated to maintaining a healthy and extensive urban forest in the Trans-Pecos region. This is achieved through partnerships with other citizen groups, schools, governmental agencies, elected officials, businesses and interested individuals, all with the goal of planting for the future of the Trans-Pecos region.

The group is in the process of planning the third landscaping seminar, which is set for Sept. 22.

CCRC holding Open House on Wednesday

PECOS, May 25, 1999 -- Community Council of Reeves County will be hosting Open House from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

Open House will be at the Community Council offices in the Reeves County Annex Building, 700 Daggett Street, Suite F.

The event is being held in conjunction with National Community Action Month, being celebrated throughout May.


AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Monday night: Winning numbers drawn: 1-24-25-31-35. Number matching five of five: 1. Prize per winner: $82,794. Winning ticket sold in: Houston. Matching four of five: 190. Prize: $654.


AUSTIN (AP) Winning numbers selected in Monday's Pick 3 drawing: 7-6-5 (seven, six, five)


PECOS, May 25, 1999 -- High Monday 92; low last night 64. Tuesday, partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs near 90. South winds 10-20 mph. Tuesday night, partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 60s. Wednesday, mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of rain or thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 80s.

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Pecos Enterprise
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