TIRZ: 100 Percent for 40 years

Guest Columnist: Fern McClaugherty & Richard Montesdeoca

Hidalgo County has approved an economic incentive plan that would return all property tax for forty years. The plan is referred to as a TIRZ (Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone) and is typically used by local governments to encourage a business to locate in a community. Its intent is to assist in reducing the start-up costs experienced by a new business especially if it will be located in a deteriorated area. This plan also requires the city in which the new business is located to continue providing public services such as police and fire protection for the entire period that it is not paying taxes. It will include the Bert Ogden Sports Arena financed by the City of Edinburg. The financing of this facility is for 30 million and for thirty years. Based on the interest rate of 4.5%, the total cost of the facility will be 65 million dollars. The sports arena is already under construction. Continue reading “TIRZ: 100 Percent for 40 years”

State Agency Accused of Monitoring Coverup at Hidalgo County Agency

Edinburg – Last December, an anonymous email circulated through the network of the Texas Association of Community Action Agenices (TACAA) informing representatives of the Association of an alleged cover up involving The Texas Department of Community Affairs (TDHCA), and its involvement with the 2015 administrative transition of County of Hidalgo Community Service Agency (CSA), which primarily administers special need assistance to low-income and elderly citizens in Hidalgo County.

The letter, written below in its entirety, accuses TDHCA, which dispatched 3 representatives to assist in the new administrative transition, of erroneously guiding management of Community Service Agency to offer less assistance to clients than what they were really eligible to be awarded, in addition, the letter compells the Association to launch an investigation into the Monitoring Report that initially included the reduced assistance as a monitoring “finding”, but was subsequently scrubbed from the final Monitoring Report by high level TDHCA Administrators. Continue reading “State Agency Accused of Monitoring Coverup at Hidalgo County Agency”

McAllen Mayor Grandstands Trump, but re-election uncertain

Shortly after the Inauguration of President Donald Trump, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, with the approval of his Commissioners, formally invited the new President to visit the City of McAllen.  The purpose for President Trumps visit would be for Mr. Trump to personally see the impact his policies would have on the border region, specifically when it comes to Trumps strong illegal immigration and trade positions.

Despite appeals from Mayor Darling, aswell as local congressmen, it’s very unlikely Mr. Trump will accept the invitation to visit the Rio Grande Valley, especially within the first 100 days of his administration.  Meanwhile, Jim Darling shouldn’t keep the light on for Mr. Trump.  What is also uncertain would undoubtedly be Jim Darlings re-election hopes.  Since 2013, Jim Darling has served as Mayor of McAllen.  And in these few years, the City of McAllen has been faced questions regarding its transparency of city operations, and concerns on whether he, along with City Commissioners have been fiscally responsible with city funds.  Despite these troubles, Darling has remained confident in his re-election bid.  However, to those that seek to unseat him as mayor, there is no doubt that Darlings performance has made him vulnerable. Continue reading “McAllen Mayor Grandstands Trump, but re-election uncertain”