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Monday August 13, 2012

$1.00 Volume 102, Issue 133

TEXAS MANAGING EDITORS NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR

Ryan record scrutinized

Midnight practice

Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s 14 years in Congress leave a long trail of votes for Democrats to pick apart. 2

The clock struck midnight Friday, and the Tivy Antlers were ready to work. See the team in action at its first ever midnight practice. 7

³Sports

³News

Kerrville State Hospital could be privatized State reviewing proposals on 6 state mental hospitals

By Beth Elderkin Staff Writer beth.elderkin@dailytimes.com

The Texas Department of State Health Services is considering proposals for privatization of one or more state mental hospitals, and Kerrville State Hospital may be one of them. The Department of Health and Human Services Commission sent out a request for proposals in April, asking private corporations to submit plans for managing one or more of six Texas state hospitals.

The hospitals on the list were Austin State Hospital, El Paso Psychiatric Center, Big Springs State Hospital, Terrell State Hospital, Rusk State Hospital and Kerrville State Hospital. According to the proposal, Liberty Healthcare Group expressed interest in taking over management of Kerrville State Hospital when the request for proposals first was released, but the company did not make submitt a proposal before the

Kerr Fest 2012

June 26 deadline. Director of media relations for the Texas Department of State and Health Services Carrie Williams said GEO Care, a subsidiary of private prison company GEO Group, submitted the only proposal. Williams and GEO Group vice president of communications Pablo Paez wouldn’t comment on which hospitals the company submitted proposals for. Neither denied that it could include Kerrville State Hospital.

Should GEO Care acquire Kerrville State Hospital, Paez said the hospital’s staff would likely be transitioned from employees of the state to private employees of GEO Group. “They would likely be GEO Care employees,” he said. “But the state obviously retains oversight of the facility.” Williams said the proposal request sent to companies did not include requirements for state salary or benefit protection for

hospital employees and that keeping or changing salaries would depend on GEO Group and the proposal it submitted. “It’s premature to speculate about staffing,” Williams said. “That’s not something that we’ve addressed at this specific point.” While it’s unclear what would happen to state-based salaries and benefits, Paez said the company prioritizes keeping current staff instead of replacing them. “It is always our goal and our intention to give existing employees first priority

See Hospital, page 3

GOVERNMENT FINANCE

Among the new features of this year’s Kerrfest was the addition of a carnival on the Hill Country Youth Exhibit Center fair grounds.

Council to vote on tax rate Tuesday night City projects $20.9M budget for 2012-13 By Mark J. Armstrong Assistant Managing Editor

In its 2nd year, festival attracts locals and visitors with rodeo, brew contest, chili cook-off, carnival and dancing

mark.armstrong@dailytimes.com The Kerrville City Council will consider setting a preliminary tax rate Tuesday with no increase expected in the coming year. City Manager Todd Parton is expected to present a proposed tax rate of 56.25 cents per $100 of assessed value and will asked the city council to adopt this as the preliminary rate. It is the same as the current city tax rate and slightly less than the effective $20.9 million tax rate, the rate that would Projected revenue in have to be levied to raise the 2012-13 same amount of revenue as this $300,000 year. Estimated spending cuts A public hearing for the in next budget proposed 2012-13 budget will be at 6 p.m. on Sept. 11 at City Hall. $500,000 The spending plan to be presented Projected increase in the by Parton anticipates revenues of total budget, including money collected from about $20.9 million with spending water and sewer, which are of about $300,000 less. separate from the general Overall, the budget is about operating fund $500,000 more than the current year’s, including revenues expected from the water and sewer enterprise funds.

City budget by the numbers

See City, page 3

Know someone worthy of Citizen of the Year award?

See more Kerrfest photos by Beth Elderkin & Tom Holden on page 14. ³Index Classifieds ................... 11-13 Comics ................................10 Editorial................................. 4 Nation .................................... 2

³On television Obituaries ............................ 6 Sports ................................ 7-8 Television ............................. 9 Weather ................................ 6

Catch the 2009 film “Star Trek,” starring Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto at 6 p.m. on FX.

A pair of riders go in for the winning tiedown during Kerrfest's team roping competition on Saturday in a rodeo was produced by the Lester Meier Rodeo Company.

From staff reports The Kerrville Daily Times continues to take nominations for the 2012 Bill Dozier Citizen of the Year award. The Daily Times seeks a resident who has made a positive and lasting impact in Kerr County. Letters of nomination should include a brief list of the person’s accomplishments and service to the community. Nominations should be mailed to: Bill Dozier Citizen of the Year, The Kerrville Daily Times, 429 Jefferson St., Kerrville, TX 78028 or emailed to news@dailytimes. com. Nominations must be received by Sept. 7. The recipient of the 46th annual award will be honored at the annual meeting of the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 11. Last year’s award went to Warren Ferguson, who has served with the Symphony of the Hills, as a member of the Economic Improvement Corporation and as an adjunct instructor of business at Schreiner University, among other involvements and honors.

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To begin home delivery of the Kerrville Daily Times, visit the website at www.dailytimes. com or call 257-0324 or 257-0329.

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Monday, August 13, 2012 |

Managing Editor, Carlina Villalpando, 257-0337, carlina.villalpando@dailytimes.com

Events in Comfort recall Battle of Nueces

COMFORT (AP) — A South Texas battle and mass execution that happened 150 years ago was recalled over the weekend as a key event in local Civil War history. Hundreds of history enthusiasts and descendants of Germans who fought in the Aug. 10, 1862, Battle of Nueces gathered in Comfort. The death of 19 Unionists near the Nueces River in Kinney County and execution of nine prisoners symbolizes, to many, the war’s impact in Texas, which was a Confederate state, despite support for the Union. Robert E. Lee was pro-Union while stationed in San Antonio before becoming the Confederate commanding general. Still, historical memory has largely ignored ties between Texas and the nation’s bloodiest war. Two Confederate troops were killed and 18 wounded in the pre-dawn battle. But some descendants of the Unionists call the event a massacre. “I call it a battle and a massacre,” Comfort resident Brenda Seidensticker told the Houston Chronicle. Her great-grandfather, August Hoffman, survived the clash and lived to be 92. Seidensticker said she counts the 19 Unionists who were killed as war casualties. But the execution of nine wounded Unionists and orders forbidding anyone from retriev-

City | continued from page 1 The budget includes increases in rates for water and sewer as well as an increase in the rate charged by Republic Services for curbside household garbage collection. The city contracts with Republic Services, previously Allied Waste, which hauls city garbage to a landfill near San Antonio. The budget includes a 40 cent per 1,000 gallon increase to water rates and an 80 cent per 1,000 gallon increase for sewer. The trash rates is expected to increase about $1 per month; however, the city staff is expected to recommend Tuesday night that the city council reject a second fee increase request from Republic Services, a $1.25 per ton increase based on the Texas

ing their remains crossed a line of civility, even in war, she said. Most Unionists were Germans who lived in Kendall, Kerr and Gillespie counties. “The wounded were asked if they’d like to go into the shade,” Seidensticker told the newspaper. “They said yes. Then they were shot in the head.” Remains were recovered in 1865 and interred in Comfort. The Treue der Union (True to the Union) Monument, the oldest Civil War monument in Texas, was dedicated in 1866, the Chronicle reported. About 75 descendants of the fallen and survivors held a private ceremony Friday morning at the battle site, between Rocksprings and Brackettville. Public events were either at or near the monument in Comfort, 50 miles northwest of San Antonio. Events included a folk opera Friday night and memorial program, German meal, book-signing and sold-out symposium Saturday. All five major Civil War battles in Texas were fought along the coast — two at Galveston, two at Sabine Pass and one near Brownsville. But little is remembered about the discord the war caused. While people in and around Boerne and Fredericksburg opposed secession, those in the New Braunfels area, where Germans who were sympathetic to states’ rights lived, supported it.

Commission on Environmental Quality’s municipal solid waste reporting and disposal fee. Parton’s spending plan for the city includes a 2.75 percent pay increase for employees, reduction of half of a full-time employee salary in the general fund by paying part of the City Hall receptionist salary out of the water and sewer fund, five to six miles of road repair and a $6.9 million capital improvement plan paid for out of a debt issue to be repaid out of the water and sewer revenues. About 75 percent of the budget will go towards personnel costs and about 57 percent of the spending will be in the public safety departments, including fire, EMS and police. About 39 percent of projected revenue will come from property

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Send a birthday wish they’ll remember Send a birthday greeting your loved one by calling Olivia Fuentes at The Kerrville Daily Times, 257-0307.

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The Treue der Union Monument is on High Street in Comfort. Courtesy photo

taxes and about 23 percent from sales taxes. The city council also will host a budget workshop on Tuesday starting at 4 p.m. ahead of the

council meeting where they will set the preliminary tax rate. Final approval of the budget is expected to be made on Sept. 25.

Hospital | continued from page 1 when it comes to jobs,” he said. “It makes sense, if you think about it, for a company to have a staff that is trained in that facility’s needs.” GEO Care currently operates six hospitals, including the Montgomery County Mental Health Treatment Facility in Conroe. The facility, which opened last year, is facing state penalties for shortcomings in patient care, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Williams said the penalty is more than $107,000, although the amount has not been finalized. “We take any penalties or any deficiencies extremely seriously,” Paez said. “(But) if you look at penalties ... penalties ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 are not unusual.” According to Paez, a majority of those fines involved administrative and paperwork-related errors, which he said are not uncommon when opening a new facility. “When a facility is starting up, you’re more likely to have situations where you have lapses in administrative and paperwork-related functions,” Paez said. “We’ve taken all the necessary actions to correct those issues.” When asked if a similar situation could arise if GEO Care acquires Kerrville State Hospital, Paez said it is unlikely, because the Kerrville hospital has been around a lot longer than the Conroe facility. “It’s not unusual for a start-up

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facility to have problems,” he said. “When you’re starting up a facility, you obviously face a different number of challenges. It’s different when you take over a facility that’s been in place for a long time.” The Texas Department of State Health Services is currently reviewing the proposal and has not announced when it will award a contract or when information about the submitted proposal will be made public. According to the proposal request, an approved company could start the first yearlong contract as early as Sept. 15.

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