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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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January 20, 2010     Hays Free Press
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January 20, 2010
 

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REBEL CUP MATCH Lady Rebel soccer ties for number one spot at Rebel Cup. - Page 1B ROSY MEMORY Former Lobo and U.T. musician shares Rose Bowl experience. - Page 3B @Barton Publications, Inc. HaysFreePress.com  ' : I. 107 No. 47  , Serving Buda, Kyle and Northeast Hays County 75 'Pigeon drop',scam swallows local man's moolah BY JEN BIUNDO jen@haysfreepress.com Hays County Sheriff's of- ficials are investigating a "pigeon drop" scam that conned a local man out of about $2,000 last Tuesday. Officials say the local resi- dent, a man in his 60s, was getting gas at the Kyle H-E-B when he was approached by a black male that he de- scribed as having a heavy Ni- gerian accent. "He said'he had a lot of money and wanted assis- tance handing it out to needy people," said Hays County spokesperson Leroy Opiela. According to investigators, the victim agreed to drive the man to the Chevron gas sta- tion on IH-35 at Main Street in Buda. Another man came Pigeon drops are common scams that.occur both online and face.to-face. Typically, the victim is conned into putting up good faith money to access a valuable object or largerpool of money, out of the McDonald's wear- ing a store name tag, and said he was the McDonald's man- ager. He also agreed to add to the money, and they asked the victim to show good faith in their effort by adding cash as well. The trio drove to a near- by Wells Fargo ATM, where the victim withdrew about $2,000, as well as $200 spending money, investiga- tors said, and then returned to the Chevron station. "The two suspects exited the Vehicle with the mon- ey and told the victim they were going to walk around the building to discuss what they would do," Opiela said. "They returned to the victim and told him to give them the rest of his money. He complied and the suspects left with all the money." The two suspects left on foot, headed in a northerly direction, investigators said. The man who spoke with an accent was about 5' 10" tall, while the other man was bout 6' tall, Opiela said. Pigeon drops are common See PIGEON DROP, pg. 3A Buda we'igh, s bonds BY JEN BIUNDO jen@haysfreeprees.com Buda City Coun- cilmembers got their first glimpse Thursday night of a proposed "qual- ity of life bond", that could bring an expanded City Park, swimming pool, skate park, new library, side- walks, and repaved roads to Buda - for a price. All together, the projects on the city wish list top out at nearly $50 million, but city leaders say it's tmlikely that citizens would be asked to. approve that ambitious a bond package. Each penny on the property tax rate would yield about $1 million in a 25- year bond. 'Anybody can come up with a wsh-list," said '7 think it's important that we. solicit in-. put from residents... We need to know, what do you want, and what do you want to pay.for?" --Cathy Chilcote, Buda oounoilmcmber Councilmember Sandra Tenorio. "I think the real question that needs to be asked, before you start thinking about what we want to start issu ing debt for, is how much debt do we want to carry as a city? What is the cap that we're going to say we're never going to go oveff" Though councilmembers initially raised the possibility of putting the bond out to a vote at the May 8 election, they say they'll more likely shoot for a spot on the November ballot, at the earliest. The Buda bonds could See BUDA BONDS, pg. 6A Subscriber address i' i! : O PHOTO BY CYNDY SLOVAK-BARTON Hays County celebrates MLK Day The Martin Luther King march in San Marcos brought races of all kinds together, as shown by Constable David Peterson, with flag, and San Marcos Police Officer Danny Castillo. After listening to speeches on the courthouse steps, a group of about 100 marchers walked from the courthouse to the corner of MLK and LBJ streets - the only intersection of the two streets in the state - and witnessed tile signing over of county property to the city for a com- memorative monument about the intersection of President Lyndon Johnson's and Martin Luther King Jr.'s lives. The group then continued to the Calaboose African American Museum for more festivities and visiting. Fire department investment pays Off for Buda homeowners BY JEN BIUNDO jen@haysfreepress.com Buda home and business owners are set to see a drop in their insurance rates, following a recommendation from the State Fire Marshal's Office to upgrade the rating that estimates how well a fire department can protect the community. "It's a pretty significant savings," said Buda Fire Chief Clay Huckaby. Effective June 1, Buda's Public Protec- tion Oassificadofi (PPC') will jump flom a 7 to a 3, with 10 being the worst pos- sible ratingand 1 being the best. Prop- erties outside city limits currently are rated at a 9, but will also be ranked at a 3 if located within 1,000 feet of a fire hy- drant Last November, the city of Hays received the upgraded level 3 rating. The fire department received the news of the ratings upgrade on Tues- day. The level 3 rating will translate into a 33 percent decrease in commercial insurance rates and a 15 percent drop in homeowner's rates, according to a report commissioned by the fire de- partment. The classification ranks fire ,depart.- ments based on issues such as fire truck p the placement offire stations within the community, smtg levels, fire prevention and code enforcement. The ratings are set by the Insur- ance Services Office flSO), a national advisory group based in New York that monitors more than 47,000 fire- response jurisdictions. The Buda Fire Department has stepped up operations in recent years as the city's population has grown, con- stmcting two additional fire stations, purchasing new trucks and transition- ing from a volunteer force to 24-hour staffing by professional firefighters. Police get 'pay raise BY SF..a.N KIMMONS sean@haysfreepress.com After months of frustration, Kyle Police officers were granted a pay raise that they originally thought they received last fail. The Kyle City Council voted 5-0 on Tues- day night to give sworn officers a 2 percent cost-of-living pay adjustment that full-time city employees had already obtained in this fiscal year's budget. Councilmembers Becky Selbera and David Salazar were absent. City officials previously argued that the police were left off the pay raise because in April 2009 the city accepted a Kyle Police Association request to handle meet-and- confer negotiations toward a labor' agree- ment with the city. "We've had confusion on all sides that were preventing us from moving forward," Kyle City Manager Tom Mattis said. The move puts the base pay of a newly swom officer above $40,000, allowing the police force to be more competitive in its hiring process. As a result of the police force's step-pay plan, Matt.is said that some officers with more time on the job will get up to a 6 per- cent pay raise. In reality, the average pay in- crease stands at 3 percent, he said. The pay increase will be retroactive to the first payroll in October 2009 and comes with an estimated price tag of around $32,000 this fiscal year, he said. Ok'd projects now on hold? BY BRAD ROLLINS brad@haysfreepress.com With election season upon her, County Judge Elizabeth Sumter has mustered a pas- sion for fiscal discipline, holding up road and building projects that have been in the works for years and which she funded in her proposed budget just months ago. The judge last week sponsored an agenda item that would have published notification of the county's intent to sell $74 million in bonds for a new central government build- ing. Then when it came up for discussion and vote, the judge publicly called for the measure to be put on hold, saying a Wall Street lournal article she read on falling property tax valuations nationally caused her to want a "gut check" on the county's roster of big-ticket capital improvement projects. "I think what we're doing here is being re- ally conservative and diligent about where we're going tO move in the budget as we begin to know what thosg numbers are," Sumter'said. In a coltmm she wrote this week, Sumter went further,, saying it was time to "look at the county's needs as a whole, prioritize them, and then decide what we can afford to do and what might have to wait". Shespe- cifically singled out the government Center, a $207 million road bond package approved by voters in 2008 and $8 million committed to a reconstruction of Dacy Lane. These machinations seem like safe poli- ticking as national, state and local elector- See ON,HOLD?,. pg. 6A SAFARI BASH Buda Area Chamber of Commerce hosts the 2010 Lone Star Safari Awards. - Page 1D [i Opinions ..................... 4A Sports ..................... 1-2B Education ............... 3-4B Bulletin Boards ............ 2C Obituaries .................... 4C Church Page ............... 3C Business News ......... I&4D Service Directory ..... .... 2D Classifieds .................. 3D