County Judge Ramon Garcia and Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez of Pharr are pretending to discuss the possibility of moving the Courthouse to Pharr. The City of Pharr has a tax rate of 65 cents which is among the highest in the county. Pharr has a total population of 77 thousand and a 31% rate of poverty. Participating in the construction of a courthouse would significantly increase taxes and there would be no financial benefit because public property is not taxed.
What these politicians are trying to do is encourage the City of Edinburg to pay the $30 million for site improvements and $150 million for a parking garage. Mayor Molina seems to know that by waiting, he can make a much better deal. The cost of this courthouse is growing every day, the County just paid $1 million dollars-plus for the courthouse site. Then there is the moving of the 281 roadway and the drainage channel east and under the expressway, this is going to be a lot more than the estimated $350 million dollar.
Here is what it will cost the people of Hidalgo County and specifically the City of Edinburg. Continue reading “Commentary: Courthouse must be on the Ballot”
Edinburg – Hidalgo County Judge candidate, Eloy Pulido would like Hidalgo County voters to have a hand in deciding the new courthouse cost and location, and is calling on a referendum to be placed in November 2018’s ballot that would allow this initiative to occur. Pulido who supported voter involvement in the project, reaffirmed his position via a press release on January 21st.
Throughout the release, Pulido challenged the proposed cost of the project, including the proposed design, and offered an alternative location along Interstate 69 (US 281), which would be more assessable to staff, law enforcement, and visitors. Current projected cost for the courthouse puts the project north of 130 million, and would sit in the same town square that the current courthouse resides. The referendum proposed by Pulido would call for voter approval if project cost exceed 90 million dollars.
The courthouse project returned to the forefront of political consciousness when current Hidalgo County Judge, Ramon Garcia, pitched the project to neighboring city of Pharr, who appeared receptive to the offer. The move was criticized by Pulido, aswell as newly elected Edinburg Mayor, Richard Molina as political posturing, as Garcia should have known the legal hurdles that would make the changing of county seats difficult, if not impossible.
The press release is provided in full below. Continue reading “Pulido calls for Courthouse project referendum; wants voters to decide cost and location”