Thursday, September 4, 1997
Area news roundup
Construction discussed by Baird ISD
BAIRD -- The Baird ISD School Board discussed new construction
with citizens Tuesday following a public tour of elementary classrooms
and elementary and high school gymnasiums.
About 50 people were in attendance asking questions of the
board, superintendent, and an architect. Board members are considering
a bond issue to construct 18 new classrooms and renovate the high
The elementary project is expected to cost about $1.5 million.
The high school project carries an estimated $600,000 price tag.
City Council approves 10 percent tax rate increase
BALLINGER -- The Ballinger City Council has approved a 10 percent
tax increase for the 1997-98 fiscal year, despite having earlier
approved an operating budget which is more than $50,000 lower
than 1997's budget.
The new tax rate is 33.9578 cents per $100 valuation, which
is about three cents higher than the 1997 rate. The new budget
is $2,519,709. Last year's budget was $2,573,325.
City leaders increased the tax rate primarily to generate income
that will be lost Oct. 1 when the USDA's Conservation Reserve
Program ceases, said Bonita Shields, city secretary.
Brownwood school budget of $23 million OK'd
BROWNWOOD -- Brownwood school trustees approved a $23.4 million
budget Tuesday, up $974,115 from last year.
Even so, Brownwood homeowners are expected to save an average
of about $79 from last year's tax bill.
The new budget calls for a $1.4962 tax rate, up nine cents.
The 6.9 percent increase, however, will not nullify benefits from
the state homestead exemption approved by voters in August. The
exemption jumped from $5,000 to $15,000.
A Sept. 11 public hearing is scheduled on the proposed tax
The budget for 1997-98 includes an additional $1.25 million
for teachers' salaries, due mostly to state-mandated pay raises
and the 40-percent increase in minimum wages, Superintendent Don
The rest of the budget decreased.
"The large amount (of cuts) has been in maintenance,"
Martin said. "We've cut (it) practically down to zero in
terms of being able to do anything that's very large."
Other cuts are in:
-- Property improvements, $1.49 million.
-- Library services, $9,304.
-- Social services, $43,528.
-- School nurses, $17,426.
-- Food service, $116,521.
-- Extracurricular activity, $51,429.
-- District communication, $2,437.
Eastland chamber leader resigns
EASTLAND -- Lenny Welch, executive director of the Eastland
Economic Development Corp. and director of the Eastland Chamber
of Commerce, resigned Monday.
Welch had held the post since March 10. It is jointly funded
by the chamber and economic boards.
Chamber president Larry Vernon said applications are being
accepted to fill the vacancy.
Vernon said Welch had until Sept. 1 to move his family from
Early to Eastland but that did not occur. He said Welch's wife
teaches school in Brownwood, where their children are enrolled.
Erath budget hearing delayed
STEPHENVILLE -- Erath County commissioners were unable to hold
their scheduled public hearing on the proposed budget Wednesday
because the salaries of elected officials had not been published
10 days prior to the meeting.
That will delay the hearing until the commissioners' next meeting,
In an unrelated matter, no action was taken on the disposition
of pay that jury members have been donating to the state for assistance
to crime victims.
Senate Bill 1886 provides the money can be used locally and
County Treasurer Donna Kelly said she had requests for the funds
from the Child Welfare Board and the Crisis Center.
Commissioners tabled the request until funding sources for
the organizations can be examined.
Comanche nurse fatally struck by pickup
COMANCHE -- A Comanche nurse was killed when a pickup truck
struck her while she was walking along Highway 16 in Priddy about
7:45 p.m. Tuesday.
The victim was identified by the Department of Public Safety
as Sherri Phillips, 46, a resident of Priddy.
Phillips was the assistant director of nurses at Western Hills
Nursing Home in Comanche.
Her son, Reese Barnett, 11, who was riding a bicycle, was injured
and taken to Brownwood Regional Medical Center, according to DPS.
A hospital spokeswoman said she could not provide any information
on the boy's condition.
DPS identified Gary Horton of Hamilton as the driver of the
pickup, a 1996 Dodge.
The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Friday in Stacy-Wilkins Funeral
Home Chapel in Goldthwaite.
A park is coming to downtown Ranger
RANGER -- The Ranger College Board of Regents has approved
converting a downtown parking lot into a park memorializing the
The park at Main and Austin streets will be called "Texas
Rangers Memorial Park" and will be dedicated to Texas Ranger
Zeno Smith, the last of the "black hat" Rangers, said
coordinator Linda Wells.
Work will begin Monday with the planting of a pine tree and
four red oak trees. Wells asked that the public not use the lot
for parking after the weekend. A brick wall holding a replica
of the Texas Ranger star is also planned.
Wells said donations are being solicited to purchase materials
for a metal table and two benches to be placed in the park. Ranger
College welding students will construct the items.
Donations may be sent to Ranger College, Grounds Fund/Downtown
Park, Ranger 76470.
Stephenville tax rate levied
STEPHENVILLE -- The Stephenville City Council levied the tax
rate for 1997-98 Tuesday night, a slight decrease from the current
43.33 cents per $100 valuation.
The council also approved two ordinances establishing advisory
boards for the library and the Senior Citizens Center.
Barbara Terrell, chairman of the nominations committee, said
the Library Board has been in existence for several years, but
a formal ordinance had never been passed. The Senior Citizens
Advisory Board is new.
In other business, the council approved:
n Hiring Gary Traylor & Associates to represent the city
in a grant application for funds to upgrade the infrastructure,
streets and sewer at the airport site.
n An ordinance restricting parking on Harbin Drive from Washington
to the South Loop, plus the adoption of a funding agreement with
the state highway department on the Harbin Drive extension.
n Second reading of a proposed franchise for Sprint with the
city. The third reading is set for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 16.
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