Tuesday, February 5, 2013


By Art Martinez de Vara

Count Norbert von Ormay I

      A revolutionary spirit swept over Europe in the 1840’s.  The absolute monarchies which had taken power after the defeat of Napoleon struggled to suppress the new ideas of nationalism, democracy and social reform.  The rural poor of Eastern Europe toiled under the system of serfdom, where they were treated little better than slaves.  The urban poor were packed into unsanitary slums where they worked long hours in dangerous factories or worse.  A generation of intellectuals inspired by the idealism of the French and American revolutions brought about an uprising that touched nearly every part of Europe.  These revolutionaries called for Constitutional governments, expanded voting rights, national self-determination for the ethnic minorities under Austrian domination, the liberation of the serfs and an answer to the “social question”.   They sought to improve the lives of the large masses of poor and starving peasants, as well as the aged, ill and unemployed. The novel Les Miserables depicts this era in Europe.  Its main character Jean Valjean is a nobleman with Revolutionary ideas.  Similarly, Count von Ormay I, was a real life aristocrat who rejected his the old order to become a revolutionary and ultimately gave his life for the Hungarian people.

     He was born Norbert von Auffenberg in 1813, in the Czech town of Dobrany, into a noble Austrian family with a long history of military service.  In some documents he carried the title Graf (Count) and in others Freiherr (Baron).  He was educated at the military academy at Olmütz, Moravia (modern day Czech Republic).  He entered the Austrian Imperial Army in 1828 and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant by 1840.  Politically he was a liberal who favored a constitutional union of the 32 German mini-states into a single German Republic and an end to absolute rule by the Austrian Emperor, who oppressively ruled an Empire of over 12 different nationalities in which many peasants lived in a state of virtual slavery.

     In 1846, the Poles revolted against Austria and Lt. Norbert von Auffenberg came to their aid.  A cousin, Moritz von Auffenberg wrote in his autobiography, “Joseph von Auffenberg, a cousin of my father, served under his brother Norbert in the Tenth Infantry Regiment in Galicia [Austrian-ruled southeastern Poland and western Ukraine]. In the year 1846 a revolutionary secret society became influential in the officer corps of the regiment. Norbert [von] Auffenberg was an enthusiastic active member; Joseph, only cognizant [i.e., an accessory] of the society.  Chance led to its discovery.  Participants and accessories were condemned to death, afterward commuted to prison.  The two brothers were imprisoned in the Josefstadt fortress [constructed on the promontory at the confluence of the Labe and Metuje rivers in what is today the Czech Republic].”

     The Hungarians had drafted a 12 point revolutionary plan that called for free speech, regular parliaments, civil equality, religious freedom, a national guard, equality of taxation, trial by jury, liberation of the peasants (serfs) and unification of Hungary and Transylvania.  They drafted a national song whose chorus was “We swear by God we shall not be slaves anymore!” Thousands took to the streets in support of the 12 point plan.  A crowd surrounded Buda Castle where the Austrian governor lived shouting “Long live Liberty! Long live Equality!” until the governor stunned by the situation and the threatening crowd signed the plan and fled for his life.

     It was at this time that the brothers stopped using their German name “von Auffenberg” and took the Hungarian surname “von Ormay”.  They joined the newly formed Hungarian National Guard and prepared to defend the newly won freedom from Austria’s inevitable response.  Count Norbert von Ormay (Auffenberg) was given the rank of Major, and was successful in several battles in the south of Hungary in September and October.  He was promoted to Lt. Col. and sent to Transylvania to raise three Rifle Companies of over 7,000 men.  His base of operations was the Transylvanian capital of Cluj.  Norbert was popular among the high-society members of his Rife Companies.   On May 27, 1849 he married Vilma Rozsváry, the 18 year old daughter of fellow revolutionary Maj. Lajos Rozsváry in the Cluj Street Reformed Church.

   Joseph was accepted for service with the Viennese volunteers, at the rank of Oberjaeger and was badly wounded at Novara in Italy.  He was awarded a medal of valor and promoted to an officer’s rank. Maj. Radetzky took him as his own personal quartermaster.

     In June Norbert von Ormay was promoted to full Colonel and named Adjutant or personal assistant to Lajos Kossuth, the political leader of the Hungarian Revolution.  He left Transylvania and returned to Hungary.

     Austria was facing simultaneous uprisings in Moravia, Poland, Serbia, Hungary, Romania, Italy, and elsewhere across its empire. Even in the capital city of Vienna, people took to the streets, seeking freedom and a constitution.  On the edge of defeat, Austria asked the Russian Czar to intervene on behalf of a fellow monarch.  Russian support turned the tide in favor of Austria. By September of 1849, the Hungarians were cornered at Temesvár, which was to be the last battle of the Hungarian Revolution.  Austrian forces besieged the fortified castle and took it when the Russian Army arrived with 70,000 reinforcements.  Col. Norbert von Ormay, then head of the First Hungarian Rife Regiment, was captured and brought before infamous Austrian General Julius Jacob von Haynau, who ordered his immediate execution for high treason.  When the would-be executioners protested that von Ormay had a right to trial because he was an Austrian noblemen, Haynau famously replied, “if Auffenberg is not hanging from the nearest tree in 10 minutes, I will execute all of you.”

     The transcript of his court marshal, held the same day as his capture, is very brief.  It gives a summary of his service in the Hungarian Army since his release from prison.  Count von Ormay’s testimony is mostly about his young wife and his conversion from Catholicism to Presbyterianism.  The document states that he was handed over to a pastor for temporary spiritual comfort then hanged.

     Count Norbert von Ormay envisioned a Europe where all people had rights and no person had absolute power.  The manner of his death was symbolic of what he was fighting against.  Though he was one of the few who had rights under the Imperial system, he met his end under the tyranny of absolute power, which denied him his right to trial.  Fearing further retributions from the Austrian Army, the Hungarians surrendered to the Russians, who promptly handed them over.  Austria put all officers on trial and publically executed all 13 Hungarian generals, who became national heroes.  They are known as the “Martyrs of Arad” and in 2002, the name of Norbert von Ormay was added to the monument of the “Martyrs of Arad.”

Count Norbert von Ormay II

     Count Norbert von Ormay II was born in 1850 and never met his father, who was executed before he was born. His mother Vilma gave birth to him in Hungary then fled to Constantinople which was outside of the reach of the Austrio-Hungarian Emperor, leaving the infant behind.  She later sailed for Brazil to begin a new life.  In Brazil she married a wealthy plantation owner and lived there until her death in the mid-1880s.  In her will, she left her fortune to her long-lost son “if he could be found.” General Moritz von Auffenberg notes in his memoir of World War I (Aus Österreich-Ungarns Höhe und Niedergang - Eine Lebensschilderung) that he was poised to inherit the fortune, if Norbert II was not found.

     It is currently unclear who raised Norbert II or what was his status being the son of an executed traitor.  He was working as minor government official when he received news of his inheritance.  He married a commoner named Francisca around 1875 and had two children Norbert III (b. ~1876) and Frio (b. ~1877). The family arrived in New York on March 14, 1885 and proceeded on to San Antonio.

     On June 5, the family checked into the St. Leonard Hotel in San Antonio.  The San Antonio Express reported, “Norbert von Ormay, a Hungarian nobleman….is seeking a location and to buy a large stock ranch." The Count made a sensation that was published in the local newspapers.  He arrived with a troop of servants and in a gilded carriage. Among those who proposed selling their ranch was Charlotte Jones, the widow of Enoch Jones.  Jones had at one time been the wealthiest man in Texas and had built his dream home on the Medina River southwest of San Antonio at a cost of $40,000 in 1860s money.  Following the death of her husband in 1863, Charlotte’s sister moved into the home and the two raised their families in the house, which was known as the “Castle on the Medina.”  The two sisters dreamed of opening a school for girls and did so through the sale of the Castle to Count Norbert von Ormay in 1885 for $19,000 cash. She and her sister taught at the German-English School in San Antonio for many years.

     During the months of March and April, 1885, Count von Ormay hired Louis Mann to pull 2100 stumps from his land, and he filed for a cattle brand and ear marks in the Bexar County Courthouse.  On July 10, 1885 the San Antonio Light reported that Count von Ormay and his ranch manager were in town making purchases for the new home.  There are several gossip column reports of the comings and goings of the Von Ormay’s in the various San Antonio newspapers over the next year and in all the Von Ormay’s stay at their hotel of choice, the St. Leonard Hotel.

     Local oral history recalls that the Count’s brief stay at the Castle on the Medina was caused by the respiratory ills of his wife, Francisca. However, newspaper accounts refer to an enigmatic stranger appearing at the castle.  Whoever this person was, he and the Count spent several days inside, not once leaving.  Upon his departure, the Count prepared a hasty departure and left with their affairs unresolved.   The Von Ormy Star has uncovered that in 1886, the Count travelled to Brazil, where he possibly took possession of the remainder of his mother’s estate.  He returned from Rio de Janiero in early July of 1886, arriving at Baltimore, Maryland.  A few days later he married Emma B. Hoschke in Hoboken, New Jersey on July 17, 1886, while apparently still married to Countess Francisca who remained in Texas.  He and Emma returned to Germany where they hired an attorney, Friedrich Gustav Steiglich, who returned to Texas to settle their affairs.

     In December of 1886, the Countess Francisca and her son Norbert III  travelled to San Antonio and checked into the St. Leonard Hotel.  There they met with the attorney who was apparently unaware of the existence of the Countess Francisca.  He reported that he met with woman “named Francisca claiming to be the wife of Norbert and occupying the house.”

     A month later Louis Mann filed a lawsuit (Mann v. von Ormay) against Count Von Ormay for failure to pay him for removing stumps.  The citation was published in the local paper:


In the District Court of Bexar County

No. 2958  Louis Mann vs. Norbert Von Ormay

THE STATE OF TEXAS. To the Sheriff or any Constable of Bexar County, Greeting:

  You are hereby commanded that by making publication of this citation in some newspaper published in the county of Bexar, once in each week for four consecutive weeks previous to the return day hereof, you summon Norbert Von Ormay, a non-resident of the State of Texas, to be and appear at the next regular term of the District Court of Bexar County, to be holden at the court house thereof, in the City of San Antonio, on the first Monday in June next, the same being the 6th day of June, A.D. 1887, then and there to answer a petition filed in said court No. 2958, wherein Louis Mann is plaintiff and Norbert Von Ormay is defendant.  Plaintiff in his petition alleges that during the months of March and April, 1885, at the special instance and request of defendant he grubbed and took from defendant’s  land 2100 stumps, for which defendant agreed to pay him the sum of fifteen cents each, aggregating the sum of $310.00.  That although said defendant often requested to pay the same, yet to pay the same or any part thereof, defendant has wholly failed and refused to plaintiff’s damage in sum of $500.00

     That defendant is about to dispose of his property with intent to defraud his creditor.

     Wherefore plaintiff prays for a writ of attachment, and that upon final hearing he have judgment for his debt, with legal interest from January 1st 1886, for all costs and general relief.

         Herein fall not, but have you before said court, on the said first day of the next term thereof this writ, with your return thereon, showing how you have executed the same.”

     The attorney settled the case by Louis Mann for an undisclosed amount.  Learning of their desperate situation, the Countess Francisca asserted her rights to one-half of the Castle.  The attorney arranged the sale of the Castle to Oscar Schmidt of Berlin for $40,000.00.   The Countess received her money, left Texas with her children and returned to Germany.

     The following year, in 1888, Count von Ormay and Emma, by then residents of Berlin, sailed to Bahia, Brazil.   It is not know by this writer for how long they remained in Brazil.  Count von Ormay next appears in January of 1891 in an interview published in the San Antonio Express newspaper.  He was by then a resident of Coahuila, Mexico:


     “Count Norbert Van Ormy, of Montmorales, Mexico, is in the city and temporarily has his headquarters at the Menger hotel.  In the lobby of this hostelry he was interviewed by a reporter of The Express.

     Count Van Ormy is a Hungarian by birth and is well known in San Antonio and Bexar County, having previously been a prominent ranchero near the village that bears his name.  He is now the owner of several haciendas in Mexico and is [...] on a large scale, the wealth producing capabilities of the country.  In the course of conversation, the count said:

     ‘This part of the country in which I am located is making rapid strides towards advancement, under the stimulus of large investments of foreign capital, especially in the branches of mining and agricultural industries.  The success [...] agricultural enterprises is something that is calculated to astonish the average farmer in the United States.  The crops are not exposed to droughts, potatoes sell for 5 cents per pound, cabbage 25 cents per pound, corn $2 per bushel and other articles in proportion; but as the productive strength of the country is increased [...] prices will be reduced.  The country is rapidly filling up with settlers from many climes and land values are climbing skyward in a manner that would sick to the senses of an American [...]

     The work of foreign capital in up building Mexico is particularly noticeable at Monterey, which is fast losing its Mexican character, so great is the [...] of the Caucasian.  Many manufacturing enterprises are springing into existence every day.  A large smelting furnace, giving employment to 800 laborers has just been completed and put in operation.  The growing fondness of Mexico for beer has induced a branch of the great Anhauser-Busch syndicate in [...] the erection of a large brewery, and by next year Mexico will drink beer [...] at home.’”

     Later that year, Count von Ormay returned to Texas, where he married Elise Henrietta Menrmann of San Antonio.  They travelled to New York and Germany for their honeymoon and settled in Galveston at 2714 Market St.  There the Count became a physician and Elise a midwife.

     In 1894, Count von Ormay filed a claim against Oscar Schmidt for fraud. In his claim, he states that Schmidt had promised to pay the $14,000.00 for the Castle by exchanging land of this value in Germany.  The Count, however, discovered that the land Schmidt promised was in fact not owned by him.

     The last known record of Count von Ormay’s is his listing in the 1897 Galveston Directory.   That same year, the Texas Medical Association attempted to revoke his license for quackery and selling unaccredited medical licenses.   He was found not guilty and continued to practice medicine.   If we are assume that he continued to live on Galveston Island, he may have been a victim of the 1900 Storm.  Eliza Henrietta returned to Hamburg as a widow.  He managed to squander his fortune within a decade of inheriting it.

Norbert von Ormay III

    On January 16, 1900, Norbert III, then 19 years old, sailed to Brazil from Germany on steerage class, listing his occupation as “apprentice carpenter.”  There he married and settled down in Rio Grande do Sol, a largely German settlement in the South Brazil.  He died in 1964.  The family dropped the aristocratic “von” from their name and is today known as the Ormay family in Brazil.


Staff Writer
VON ORMY—Von Ormy may soon be known as a center of Science and Engineering education. The Brooks Academy of Science and Engineering, located at Brooks City Base, has selected Von Ormy for its second San Antonio area campus. 
     The Board of the Brooks Academy of Science and Engineering has submitted an expansion amendment to the Texas Education Agency (TEA).  If approved by the TEA, authorization will be given to open a K-5 open-enrollment charter school in Von Ormy in the Fall of 2013, and eventually expand to a K-8 by adding one grade level each year thereafter.   TEA approval is expected in April of 2013. 
     The economic impact of a new school would be significant for the city.  When fully operational, the school will staff between 35 to 40 employees and bring over two hundred families into the city daily. 
     In order to open in the Fall of 2013, the Board plans to operate the school in temporary buildings its first academic year while constructing a 42,000 square foot school building at an approximate cost of $6.5-$7 million dollars.
     A statement released by the Board of Brooks Academy stated, “Representatives of the Charter school located at Brooks City-Base on San Antonio’s Southeast side of town have been exploring site options in the Southwest side of Bexar County in consultation with the Mayor of Von Ormy, Art Martinez de Vara. ‘We are considering opening a school in Von Ormy because of the demonstrated need in the area.  Parents are clearly looking for alternatives to traditional ISD schools in the area.  There is a dearth of private schools in the area as well.  The unmet need is great’ said Carlos Resendez, a board member of the Brooks Academy of Science and Engineering.  ‘The type of curriculum offerings that we provide would go far in supporting the Eagle Ford Shale growth that the Von Ormy area is experiencing.  As a school focused on Science and Engineering, employers such as Schlumberger and others need skilled workers that have a good grasp of science, math and engineering skills that we provide for our students’ said George Ozuna, a Hydrologist with the US Geological Survey and a board member of the Brooks Academy of Science and Engineering.”
     The statement further stated, “Brooks Academy representatives are very supportive of the vision that Mayor Art Martinez de Vara  and the City of Von Ormy have outlined for their community.  A centerpiece of their plan is to provide excellent public school choices for residents of the area.  ‘We have been working to help make this vision a reality for over a year” said Ixchell Gonzalez, the Superintendent/Principal of  Brooks Academy. ‘Von Ormy under the leadership of Mayor Martinez de Vara has been quite progressive in its thinking and in looking at ways to bring more and better public services and infrastructure to his community.’”
     “Students from Somerset, Lytle, Atascosa, La Coste and other nearby areas will also be able to attend this school. When this becomes a reality it will be a wonderful example of the Von Ormy vision coming to life,” said Gonzalez
     The Texas Charter Schools Association explains on its website that “open-enrollment charter schools are free public schools that have the flexibility to adapt to the educational needs of individual students. Open-enrollment charter schools vary in mission and model, serving a wide range of students, many with needs beyond the one-size-fits-all traditional public school. Often, these charter schools provide a personalized learning environment that promotes greater student achievement. Although charter schools have some autonomy, they still must meet the rigorous academic standards dictated by the state for all public schools.
     On charter campuses, school leaders are permitted more freedom in managing their school, allowing them to respond in the best interest of both parents and students. Teachers at charter schools are encouraged to structure lessons to the specific needs of their students. Some charter schools even provide curriculum that specializes in a certain field such as the arts, mathematics or science. Others provide a more efficient, general education based on the educational model set forth in the charter.”
     A Brooks Academy campus in Von Ormy will provide a college prep environment including school uniforms and “safe learning environment for your child with zero tolerance and progressive disciplinary policies, secure campus and facilities plus parental supported behavioral procedures. Our diverse faculty is dedicated to a student mentoring program which encourages self-motivation for educational growth at an individual pace and a purposeful atmosphere suited for college preparation.”
     Both charter and traditional public school students in Texas take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests.
     The new school would not increase taxes and would be a free public school available to all areas students.  Charter schools receive state funds based on the average daily attendance of students (same as traditional public schools); however, they do not receive funds from local tax revenue. 

For more information visit http://www.brooksacademy.org


Staff Writer
VON ORMY— Jarret Volunteer Fire Department and the Von Ormy Community Foundation have joined forces to address public safety in Von Ormy.  Through a grant provided by the Foundation, reflective address number signs are being installed on city residences and businesses. 
     One of the legacies of Von Ormy’s rural past is a lack of uniform reflective street addresses.  Conversion from rural mail routes to numbered street addresses was not complete in Bexar County until the late 1980’s.  Many locations in the city lack easily seen address numbers, a situation that can cause confusion and delay by emergency responders attempting to find an address.
     “Installing reflective address numbers will reduce the time that EMS, Fire and Police need to find presently unaddressed locations.  In an emergency, time is a very precious commodity.  Minutes, even seconds can be the difference between life and death,” Jarret Fire Chief John Ortega, Sr. told the Star.
     Firefighters began installing signs on Rife Lane and I-35 access road in late January and will continue methodically through the rest of the city. 
     The Von Ormy Community Foundation is a Texas non-profit that has organized the Von Ormy Jalapeno Festival since its inception.  The proceeds from the festival are used by the Foundation for charitable and public service projects in and around Von Ormy.


Staff Writer
VON ORMY— The Von Ormy City Council has approved the purchase of a 3,200 square foot metal building to serve as the city’s first City Hall/Community Center. The building will be erected in the city park on Quarterhorse Road and house the City Clerk’s Office, City Council meetings and the Municipal Court.  The building will also be used a community center. 
     Among the amenities approved by the Council are an energy efficient roof to reduce operating costs and secure windows for added security.  Engineering and internal architectural designs are scheduled to be completed in the first week of February and bids for construction to follow thereafter.  Along with the building the city will construct an ADA compliant parking lot and accessible sidewalks. 
     The council approved the placement of a City Marshal’s Officer adjacent to the Municipal Building.  These two city buildings and the upcoming Jarret Fire Station will serve as an anchor for accessible public services in the city.
     “The growth of our sales tax base has finally allowed us to purchase and operate a municipal building without straining our budget or dipping into our reserve fund,” Mayor Martinez de Vara told the Star.  “2013 will be remembered as a year of construction and building in the city.”


By Chris Marrou    

SAN ANTONIO—Over the psst four years, Von Ormy has established a new model for government funding in Bexar County.  There are few means by which a municipality can raise revenue.  Cities in the State of Texas primarily draw their revenue from taxation.  A tax is a financial charge imposed upon an individual, legal entity, or property owner by a governmental entity such that failure to pay is punishable by law.  It is not a voluntary payment or donation, but an enforced contribution, whether under the name of tax, toll, fee, duty, custom, excise, subsidy, or other name.  If a private citizen attempted the same thing, it would be called robbery or extortion, so cities should be very careful how and when they use this power.
     Taxation comes in many forms, of course.  In Texas, the taxation of an individual’s property is termed an ad valorem (“by value”) tax.  Bureaucratic requirements that require residents to abide by certain building codes that require inspection and permitting fees is a regulatory tax.  Even citations issued as a result of violations of municipal ordinances and codes are viewed as a behavioral tax:  see Chief Justice Robert’s Opinion on the Affordable Care Act (Nat. Fed. of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 2012).  So then, with taxation of her residents serving as the only means with which to generate municipal revenue, what happens to a city which chooses to vastly limit those instances in which a tax is applied?  Look at Von Ormy.
     At $0.288/$100.00 valuation, Von Ormy imposes the second lowest property tax in Bexar County.  In order to preserve the health and well-being of her citizens a minimalist bureaucracy has been adopted requiring food and beverage and health permits, but these State-imposed regulations are offered at a pass-through cost to merchants, with the city paying all proceeds to contractors performing the inspections.  Relying almost solely upon sales tax revenue, the City of Von Ormy has operated with the implicit understanding that commercial activity within the municipality would be sufficient to support the government needs of Von Ormy residents.  As one might imagine, such a radical approach to governance has consistently drawn the ire of those from established municipalities, which constantly try to raise the maximum possible revenue from taxpayers short of causing open rebellion and then fund unnecessary projects that sometimes even oppose taxpayer interests. 
     Since incorporation in 2008, Von Ormy’s city leaders have been criticized by certain Bexar County Commissioners that their approach to governance, specifically municipal taxation, was too lax.  These were the county officials who spent $175 million of taxpayer money to provide a venue for the San Antonio Spurs after the City of San Antonio spent $247 million in taxpayer money for the Alamodome to house the same team, which the Spurs grew tired of after a few years (to force the Alamodome on citizens, the City demolished the Hemisfair Arena, which had been built in 1967 for only a few million).
     To outsiders, the future of the newly incorporated municipality was constantly described as ‘doom and gloom’ if the administration stayed true to its belief of “limited government = limited taxation.”  Now, five years after the external political pressures, the City of Von Ormy still embraces its approach to taxation and, to the surprise of no one within the city, continues to flourish.
     Capitalizing on increased traffic counts from the Eagle Ford Shale boom, Von Ormy has emphasized that its economic development interests focus on attracting retail and wholesale commercial activities that generates a collectible sales tax.  Over this past summer, city leaders streamlined annexation proceedings and development implements in order to lure the pinnacle of full-service truck stops: Pilot Flying J’s.  Now open, Pilot Flying J’s and the Subway and Cinnabon it supports have increased Von Ormy’s sales tax collection rates almost 30 percent overnight.  As adopted, Von Ormy’s total municipal budget was a meager $300,000.  Having closed the first quarter of the 2013 fiscal year, the city has already collected 40 percent of the adopted budget.  Understanding limited funds are required to operate limited governance, the city continues to post remarkably efficient expenditures.  To match their revenue surpluses through the fourth quarter Von Ormy has expended only twelve percent of its general fund balance!  And what of the gains (or what some might call profits) what happens when a government is so efficient?  Highly paid administrators?  Incredibly ornate municipal offices? Sports arenas?  Saturated Council travel expenses?  No. In Von Ormy the answer is infrastructure. 
Von Ormy maintains and more over defends its low cost of living and its low taxation policies and thrives on a “pay as you go” financing method.  By living within its means the city carries a minimal amount of debt and is now beginning to pour its surplus into infrastructure such as a municipal park, land for a new fire station to be erected in conjunction with Emergency Services District funding, upgrading existing water lines and adding waste water lines—all those things that a municipality needs to ensure an enviable quality of life for its residents. By contrast, the City of San Antonio spends 15 cents of every dollar it receives simply paying interest on borrowed money – some $300 million a year. We think it makes more sense to have the money before we spend it.
     By operating to ensure the success of a moderate but growing retail and service sector, Von Ormy has alleviated the burden of excessive government and focused on the provision and expansion of core services.  In the face of nay-sayers and in spite of a slowing economy which has all but destroyed consumer confidence, Von Ormy grows thanks to those same philosophies which have been the source of debate since its inception.  While pundits and political candidates from either party may continue to question Von Ormy’s approach to limited governance, there will remain one unequivocal winner in this situation: the Von Ormy taxpayer.


Staff Writer
Von Ormy —Von Ormy Mayor Art Martinez de Vara was recently named by Business Journals as a National Who’s Who in Energy.  Martinez de Vara was one of 671 individuals from across the United  States who received this award.  This distinction went to those individuals identified as leaders in the finance, legal, transportation, utility, retail, drilling, and  exploration sectors of the energy industry.  Martinez de Vara was noted for his expertise in public policy.  In granting the recognition, Business Journal stated that Martinez de Vara, "Organized  the County Judges and Mayors in the Eagle Ford Shale Play into a public policy think tank called South Texas Partnership of Governments. This was in response to the  tremendous challenges facing these small governmental units and attempts by the City of San Antonio to speak on their behalf."
     The Mayor told the Star, "Energy is once again driving the economy of South Texas.  It is essential to develop innovative solutions to the challenges resulting from this oil play, including rapid growth, traffic, groundwater supply and environmental protection.  The Mayors, County Judges and other elected officials of South Texas are facing these challenges head on and this national recognition is a result of their collective work.  We all share in this award."
For More Information visit:  http://www.bizjournals.com


The below list is a summary of the major actions taken by the Von Ormy City Council over the past month

Special Meeting 11/12/2012
—Approved sale of three acres of land to Jarret VFD for construction of fire station.

Regular Meeting 12/5/2012
-Approved ordinance regulating tall grass on lots of less than 0.5 acres within the city
-Approved the preliminary purchase of a municipal building for use as a city hall, court and community center.
-By 3-2 vote, postponed all zoning  efforts within the city until city develops comprehensive plan
-Approved plan to re-invest the city’s certificates of deposit, which constitute its long-term emergency reserve fund .
-Approved the establishment of an Assistant Municipal Court Clerk.
-Approved Christmas Tree lightening event in City Park

Regular Meeting 12/20/2012
-Approved purchase of 40’ x 80’ metal building for municipal offices
-Approved procurement of architectural designs for building

Regular Meeting 1/16/2013
-Unable to conduct business due to lack of a quorum. Present members were Sally Martinez, Amy Suarez, Art Martinez de Vara.

Special Meeting 1/25/2013
-Approved application for CDBG grant for the reconstruction of Quarterhorse Rd.
-Approved design features of municipal building.
-Approved purchase of equipment, including diesel generator, 3 x 3 water pump and pressure washer.


By The South Texas Regional Water Alliance  
  According to the State, if Texas does nothing to cope with the booming population and dwindling water supply, Texas businesses will lose $116 billion over the next 50 years. The state as a whole will lose more than one million jobs. Locally we will not have to wait 50 years to feel the consequences of our limited water supply. Medina, Atascosa and Rural Bexar County we are already strained by drought, a booming economy, population increase and mineral exploration.
     The South Texas Regional Water Alliance (STRWA) was organized in 2006 by the cities, counties and water suppliers of the Tri-County area to address these very issues. STRWA believes we must work together to plan for the future and balance the needs of agriculture, industry and public drinking water to ensure an adequate supply for all needs. Among the projects proposed
are a series of water interconnects allowing neighboring water suppliers to assist each other in emergency situations. Find alternative sources of drinking water than the Edwards Aquifer, Carrizo Aquifer and the use of groundwater, recycling and reuse of water and other means
of water management. Funding of these projects is a chief obstacle to seeing these projects become a reality.
     The Texas Water Development Board has consolidated these projects into a document known as the “State Water Plan, but it has never been funded. Recently in the Texas Legislature, House Bill 5 and 11 have been filed that would reserve 2 billion dollars from oil and gas excise taxes and divert them to fund the State Water Plan. The members of the STRWA believe this is a good first step at averting dire economic losses due to lack of water supply and assuring water security for the rest of this century. The South Texas Regional Water Alliance urges the
residents of Atascosa, Medina and rural Bexar Counties to contact their legislators to ensure an adequate percentage of these funds are set aside for rural and the rapidly developing areas, such as ours. Together we can and will make a difference.

South Texas Regional Water Alliance Members are Atascosa Rural Water Supply, City of Castroville, City of LaCoste, City of Pleasanton, East Medina Special Utility District, Yancey Water Supply Corp, Humberto Ramos, Benton City Water Supply Corporation, City of Charlotte, City of Natalia, City of Von Ormy, McCoy Water District and Unico Cattle Company.