Newspaper Archive of
Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
January 9, 2013     Hays Free Press
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January 9, 2013

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Page 4A NEWS Hays Free Press January 9, 2013 BYANDY SEVILLA to the right, leaving the roadway, past FM 1327 near Creedmoor. causing it to rollover several times The female driver was transport- shortly after 4 a.m., according ed to University Medical Center to an Austin Police Department at Brackenridge Hospital with An early morning fatal car wreck (APD) preliminary investigation, non-life threatening injuries, ac- near the Hays-Travis county line The identity of the driver has cording to the release. claimed the life of a 19-year-old not been released, as no charges Steen was a 2011 graduate of Buda man last Thursday. have been filed. Hays High School. A memorial will Matthew Steen was pronounced An APD news release states that be held for him at Harrell Funeral dead at the scene after the silver both the driver and Steen were Home in Kyle at 2 p.m. Jan. 12. 2005 Dodge Ram pickup truck he wearing seatbelts as they traveled This was Austin's third fatality of was riding in swerved suddenly northbound on Interstate 35, just 2013. STEEN repatrs remain concern BY ANDY SEVILLA Kyle's debt management policy allows for the financing of reconstructing the five roads residents identified as priority despite an impending expan- sion of the city's wastewater treatment plant, which some council members have stated as an opposition to moving forward with a full-scale road bond election. Added in the opposition to a $35.3 million road bond elec- tion that would reconstruct Bunton Creek, Burleson, Go- forth and Lehman roads and expand Marketplace Avenue are concerns of tax and debt increases, as well as the finan- cial burden the project would put on taxpayers, as stated by a majority on council. "I'm concerned about build- ing five roads all at once," said Council Member Diane Hervol at the Jan. 2 council meeting. "I'm concerned about the tax, the debt load, and the tax rates, and us perhaps pricing us and not being more competitive for economic development." Council Member Ray Bry- ant, who, too, has been op- posed to including all five roads in a bond package be- cause of "unforeseen" future expenses, taxes and the future funding of the city's wastewa- ter plant expansion, said at a Dec. 13 workshop, "I, too, am concerned about all the roads ... But I'm really cautious of the citizens' money and what they "I'm concerned about building five roads all at once. I'm concerned about the tax, the debt load, and the tax rates, and us perhaps pricing us and not being more competitive for economic development." -Diane Hervol, Kyle city council member can and can't do. I can't deviate from that in my mind, so I'm having a hard time absorbing all five roads." But, Kyle Finance Director Perwez Moheet said the city's debt management policy, based on his last update, per- mits council to issue an addi- tional $47.5 million in general obligation debt. "There are some thresholds in the debt management policy that formulate up to how much the city can issue debt or have outstanding debt at any point in time, specifically for general obligation debt," Moheet said. Kyle presently has a debt of $68.2 million, but with the addi- tional $27.6 million in expected interest cost, that figure reaches close to a $96 million total. When it comes to the esti- mated $4.25 million expansion of the city's wastewater treat- ment plant, Moheet said coun- cil has options. "In terms of whether the city issues general obligation debt or revenue bonds for the wastewater treatment plant expansion, that is up to city council to determine," Moheet said. "However, that is an op- tion available to city council, to choose to issue revenue bonds rather than general obligation debt, because it is an enterprise function of the city, it generates its own user fees to pay for its own expenditures." Kyle's current tax rate is $0.5244 per $100 of taxable property valuation. If voters approved the full-scale $35.3 million five-road bond pack- age, the property tax rate would increase by $0.2075 or $260 on the average home valued at $125,097. Council Member David Wil- son said that although it's "not comfortable" to ask residents to pay more taxes, a road bond is the "most important thing this city council is dealing with." "The truth is, we haven't done a comprehensive job in planning," Wilson said. "While we've had a 2005 transporta- tion plan - and we've had some updates and deletions to that - we haven't moved forward. The city council, prior city coun- cils, haven't moved forward to implement any of these plans, and now it's up to us ... It just happens to be this council that has to do the heavy-lifting." Ultimately, council mem- bers unanimously decided last week to present the public with two priority road bond package options at two public informa- tion sessions. "I feel very strongly that this council needs to recommend all five roads, but I can also see the benefit of providing more options at the two public infor- mation sessions," Mayor Lucy Johnson said. The city's mobility commit- tee took on the task of taking the priority bond package op- tions to the public, where they will learn about a road bond package that would include all five roads and about a newly assembled alternative- a bond package that would reconstruct Bunton, Burleson and Goforth Roads, while providing engi- neering costs for Lehman Road and Marketplace Avenue. Hervol suggested the new al- ternative at the Jan. 2 meeting, after taking issue with Goforth Road being in the running for reconstruction only in a bond package that would improve all five roads. The city's mobility commit- tee will meet Jan. 10 to set the dates for the public informa- tion sessions and discuss the presenters, format and content of the meetings. Surviving Stress: Continued from pg. 1A Officers' health Ph.D., a research associate combination, as appropri- professor in UB's Depart- ate, to examine the officer. ment of Social and Preven- Their findings will then de- tative Medicine, in a 2008 termine the officer's fitness article, for duty. "When cortisol (also Beyond the stress officers known as the 'stress hor- endure onthejob, aUniver- mone') becomes dysregu- sityoflowa (UI) 2012 report lated due to chronic stress, found that officers need it opens aperson to disease, sleep for health and perfor- The body becomes physi- mance. ologically unbalanced, or- UI's report, "The effect gans are attacked, and the of work shift and sleep du- immune system is compro- ration on various aspects mised as well," the Science of police officers' health," Daily quoted Violanti as is the first peer-reviewed saying, who was using mea- look at differences in dura- sures of cortisol to deter- tion and quality of sleep as mine if stress is associated it relates to shift work and with physiological risk fac- health risks in the police tors that can lead to serious force, according to the Sci- health problems, ence Daily. Barnett said Kyle officers The report found that of- have, in the past, been rec- ricers who sleep fewer than ommended for fitness for six hours per night are more duty evaluation based on susceptible to chronic fa- either physical or mental tigue and health problems, health assessment. He said according a July 2012 Sci- that since he took on the ence Daily article. Also, the chief post nearly two years sleep loss could affect of- ago, at least one officer has ricers' job abilities, thus af- been evaluated for fitness fecting public safety. for duty, though he would In Kyle, officers out on not comment on any specif- the street work 84 hours ics. every two weeks, they are Barnett said that whenhe assigned 12-hour rotating recommends one of his of- shifts- some are during the ricers for evaluation, he fol- day while others are over- lows Civil Service rules, night. Detectives and other Per Section 143.081 of the office officers work four 10- Texas Local Government hour or five 8-hour shifts Code, if a question arises per week. as to whether an officer is Violanti said the negative physically or mentally fit to effects of stress in officers continue in their capacity, must be "acknowledged, de- then the officer will need to stigmatized and treated" and submit a report to the com- instead used as an opportu- mission from the officer's nity for growth, according to personal physician, psy- the Science Daily. chiatrist or psychologist, as "Infervention is neces- appropriate, sary to help officers deal The Code goes on to say with this difficult and stress- that if the commission, de- ful occupation," the Science partment head, or officer Daily quoted Violanti as disagree with the report, saying. "We want to educate then the commission will them on now to survive 25 appoint a physician, psy- years of police work. They chiatrist or psychologist, as need to learn how to relax, appropriate, to examine the how to think differently officer and submit a new re- about things they experi- port. ence as a cop. There is such If the original report and a thing as post-traumatic the second report do not growth. People can grow in coincide, then the commis- a positive way and be better sion will appoint a three- cops and persons after they member board composed survive the trauma of police of aphysician, apsychiatrist work. That is an important and a psychologist, or any message." Up to 60 Mo. Up to 6() Mo. as low as as low a,r ) +