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Thursday, June 10, 1999

Water fee hike to pay back loan

Staff Writer

PECOS, June, 10, 1999--Pecos City Council this morning took the first step toward obtaining an $8.2 million loan from the Texas Water Development Board to finance a new water well field, raising water and sewer rates to pay for it.

Financial advisor Larry Skiles told the council it will take a year to steer the loan application through the maze of state regulations and will cost about $40,000 in financial service fees.

He said the city will guarantee payment through revenues, but may be required to obligate taxpayers as well to secure the loan with 1 percent interest.

With a $1 per month increase in basic water rates and a sewer rate hike of 55 cents per month, the city should be able to repay the loan from revenues, said finance director Steve McCormick.

The council adopted on first reading an ordinance increasing the basic sewer rate to $6.50 per month with an additional 30 cents per month for water usage above 2,000 gallons average during November, December and January.

Charges for new water and sewer taps will also be increased if the ordinance passes on second reading June 24. The one-time charge will be $225 for a 3/4 inch water line, $300 for a one-inch line and the actual cost incurred but not less than $700 for a two-inch line.

Sewer taps will be $150 each.

Utilities director Octavio Garcia said that the taps are for new construction, and the city has not had any new construction in recent years. The increase is necessary because the present charges are not enough to cover materials, he said.

A story in Wednesday's Enterprise incorrectly stated the water and sewer tap charge is a monthly fee.

Passed on second reading, the water rate ordinance sets a minimum monthly charge at $7.25 for single-family residence, $14.50 for duplex, $21.75 for triplex, $29 for quadplex, $8.25 for commercial, $5 on city-owned and operated properties, and $15 for wellfield line taps for untreated water.

The charge for each additional 1,000 gallons remains the same at $1.70 for residence and $2 for commercial.

Property outside the city limits not subject to ad valorem taxes (Reeves County Detention Center) will pay a minimum of $20 per month plus $5.50 per thousand gallons.

For other property outside the city limits the rate is doubled.

Councilman Johnny Terrazas read from a Texas Municipal League survey report on water rates in surrounding counties, nothing that Pecos is below average.

In the survey, costs for 5,000 gallons are $11.35 in Pecos, where the average is $14.99, he said.

"So all in all we are doing pretty well," he said. "The nearest comparison is Andrews, and it is hard to compare because their water field is inside the city limits. We bring water 30 miles."

Andrews' charge for 5,000 gallons is $9.95. Fort Stockton's charge of $10.20 is going up considerably because they have added a reverse osmosis system that is expensive to operate, he said.

Engineer Abidur Khan reported that plans for replacement of 6,680 linear feet of the 24-inch water transmission line from the Ward County well field are complete, and the estimated cost exceeds the budget by $16,000.

The council accepted his recommendation to advertise for bids and then consider whether to eliminate some of the work to keep costs down.

Grant administrator Carlos Colina-Vargas said that a pre-bid conference will help contractors to understand the scope of the work and perhaps keep their bids from going too high.

He said that this addition will bring the six-mile project within one mile of completion.

"We are applying for another grant right now," he said. "It should take care of all the problem area."

Garcia said that sandy soil in the Ward County is so hot, it is getting into cracks in the concrete pipe and into metal portions, breaking up the line.

Khan said the Third Street sewer project is complete except for replacement of highway base and asphalt on excavated areas. Holloman Construction Co. hired a sub-contractor to replace fill and pavement patching that failed to hold up to traffic, he said.

That project should be completed before the rodeo, but seal coating will be underway on Eddy Street, said councilman Larry Levario, maintenance foreman for the Texas Department of Transportation.

Honor students eye careers

Staff Writer

PECOS, June, 10, 1999--Two young ladies from Pecos are getting a head start in learning more about careers in Austin next week.

Alessandra Carrasco and Sarah McKinney will be attending the Careers in Engineering for Women '99 on the University of Texas at Austin Campus June 13-19.

The program is designed to introduce sixth and seventh grade girls interested in math and science to careers in engineering.

Both girls are seventh grade students at Zavala Middle School and will be attending Crockett Middle School next year. Their seventh grade math teacher, Olivia Herrera, nominated them.

The girls were selected out of 200 applicants in the state of Texas. Both girls wrote essays and their grades were considered in the selections.

"Both of them are highest honor students," said teacher Olivia Herrera.

During the week the girls will spend their time on the UT Campus involved in several activities. The sponsors of this program pay for all expenses (except travel), according to Herrera.

"I am very proud of Sarah and Alessandra. I know that they will represent Pecos well," said Herrera.

The activities and classes will teach the girls what they need to know about engineering problem-solving.

"I've always been very interested in both math and science," said Alessandra Carrasco.

Carrasco participated in UIL math and did very well. She enjoys reading, all sports, shopping and talking on the phone.

At Zavala, Carrasco played volleyball and basketball, and was in the Peer Mediation Group.

"I'm glad I'm going. It's been a goal of mine to go to school there, and it will be a wonderful experience getting to be there," said Carrasco.

Carrasco plans to attend UT following high school graduation and possibly major in journalism.

She is the daughter of Sylvia and Jesse Carrasco.

Sarah McKinney is an avid sports player and fan. She participates in volleyball, basketball and golf.

She was also in the Peer Mediation Group and the student council.

McKinney does really well in both math and science and enjoys both subjects tremendously.

In her spare time, she enjoys talking on the phone and shopping. She also shows lambs at the local stock show and loves to ride horses.

"I'm excited, nervous and happy," said McKinney. "I think it's a good experience for me," she said.

McKinney said it will be great going to the big city, but said she knows she will be homesick.

She is the daughter of Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney and his wife, Brenda.

Home ownership offered to low-income families

PECOS, June, 10, 1999--In celebration of National Home Ownership week, USDA-Rural Development will a meeting Tuesday to discuss the possibility of home ownership for families of very low and low to moderate income.

The meeting in this area is scheduled for 7 p.m., Tuesday in the Texas-New Mexico Power Company Conference Room.

The Rural Housing Service of United States Department of Agriculture works to improve the quality of life for rural Americans by ensuring that they have access to safe, well-built affordable homes.

A house is more than a roof over our heads; it is often the cornerstone upon which rests our ability live near good jobs and to gain access to good schools and other public services. Home ownership builds economic stability. RHS thus not only helps rural people acquire homes, it helps build better lives and stronger communities, according to RHS representatives.

RHS offers two types of home ownership loans: guaranteed and direct. The purpose is to provide financing - with no down payment required, and at favorable rates and terms - either through direct loan with RHS or with a loan from a private financial institution which is guaranteed by RHS. These loans are for the purchase, construction, and related facilities for low and moderate income rural persons.

The Federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits creditors from discriminating against credit applicant on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age (provided that the applicant has the capacity to enter into a binding contract), because all or part of the applicant's income is derived from any public assistance program, or because the applicant has in good faith exercises any right under the Consumer Credit Protection Act.

The Federal agency that administers compliance with this law is the Federal Trade Commission, Equal Credit Opportunity, Washington, D.C. 20280. Rural Development is an Equal Opportunity Lender. Complaints of discrimination should be sent to: Secretary of Agriculture Washington, D.C. 20250.

Home ownership loans are available through the Fort Stockton Local Service Center of Rural Development located at 2306 W. Dickinson Blvd. Street, Fort Stockton, Tx. 79735.

To determine whether or not you qualify for a home loan attend the scheduled meeting.

Those not able to attend and would like to schedule an appointment can call, 915-336-7585, ext. 4 and a representative of Rural Development will complete a pre-qualification in about five minutes.

Council OKs cable franchise

Staff Writer

PECOS, June, 10, 1999--Classic Cable will keep its franchise for 10 years, with the option to renew for 10 years, following adoption of the agreement this morning by the Pecos City Council.

"I did get a few phone calls when service went out Monday," quipped Councilman Johnny Terrazas.

Ben Hernandez, Classic area manager, said that a power line surge knocked out some of their equipment and they had to go to a backup system. The changeover took several hours, he said.

"You have to change all the main powering for that whole area," he said. "it affected quite a chunk of the town."

Hernandez said it is unusual for Classic to lose the power supply.

"Normally there is a surge and a fuse will take it," he said. "This time it was a whole unit that went out."

Classic agreed to keep their Pecos office open and to pay 4 percent franchise fee to the city. Hernandez said he is looking into special rates for senior citizens as requested by the council.

The council also approved on second reading an ordinance setting the terms of officers for the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department, awarded the fuel contract to West Texas Gas, the sole bidder. Their rates will remain the same.

At the request of Pecos Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Rivera, the council agreed to close First, Second and Oak Streets for the Night in Old Pecos and Cantaloupe Festival on June 26. Rivera said that Oak Street will be closed from First Street to about midway between Second and Third streets. The stage will be placed south of the Second Street intersection, he said.

Mayor pro tem Danny Rodriguez asked for nominations for the airport consultant selection committee for engineering/designer services on the Year 2000/2001 project, in which the Texas Department of Transportation plans to invest $1.5 million.

TXDOT is moving their area office from its Third Street location to a tract of land along the north edge of the airport.

Appointed to the committee were Bill Hubbs, Isabelle Blanchard, Gerald Tellez Jr. and Ricky Herrera.

Mayor Dot Stafford will be the city's contact person for the project.

In the absence of Mayor Stafford and Councilman Tellez, the council rescheduled employee review of the city manager and city secretary to the June 24 meeting.

Other agenda items will include an update on the Odessa College project being pursued by the Pecos Economic Development Corporation, second reading of the sewer rate ordinance, Eastside Community Center, and the July 1 rodeo parade.

"We need plenty of candy," said Rodriguez. "The kids really enjoy that."

Hot, sweet sale to benefit Munoz

An enchilada and bake sale will be held from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., Friday in the Santa Rosa Hall, 600 E. Third St.

Deliveries will be made on three plates or more ordered.

The event is being held to benefit Carol Munoz, a cancer patient, to help with medical expenses.

An account has also been set up for Munoz at First National Bank, and donations can be made to the account, No. 05-1598-1.


AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Wednesday night: Winning numbers drawn: 2-6-20-26-33-47. Estimated jackpot: $4 million. Number matching six of six: 0. Matching five of six: 52. Prize: $1,953. Matching four of six: 3,502. Prize: $106. Matching three of six: 64,645. Prize: $3. Next Lotto Texas game: Saturday night. Estimated jackpot: $7 million.


PECOS, June, 10, 1999--High Wednesday 98; low last night 64. Tonight, partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. low around 70. Southeast wind 10-20 mph. Friday, partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of afternoon thunderstorms. High in the mid 90s. Southeast to south wind 10-20 mph.

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Pecos Enterprise
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