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Hidalgo-County-SealGodfrey Garza said Tuesday that if the compensation was right, he would be willing to stay as consulting director of the Hidalgo County Drainage District until current bond election projects are completed.

Garza said this at a meeting to discuss what requirements would be necessary for a person to replace Garza in that role.

Commissioner Joel Palacios of Edinburg was in favor of Garza staying until the projects were completed instead of trying to bring in a new employee during the middle of them.

One of the requirements recommended by Garza was the person hired to replace him should be an engineer. Garza is not an engineer, but he has been with the drainage district for 19 years and rose through the ranks before his retirement.

He has continued to be employed as a consulting manager because it was considered that no one knew more about the HCDD system than he did. Garza said there is currently an engineer on the HCDD staff.

When asked what level of salary should be offered, commissioners were told there was one engineer employed at the county who started at a salary of $94,685 and currently earns $120,687.

A survey of several similar drainage management areas, such as the Lower Colorado River Authority, revealed the engineer in charge of that respective system earns a salary of $122,449. Nearby, the AGUA engineers earn salaries ranging from $80,000 to $120,000, based on years of experience when hired.

Garza currently earns about $180,000 but reminded the commissioners he has to pay his own retirement, insurance, transportation and other costs from that sum. He said taking out those costs, his salary was about $100,000.

If Garza continues in his role, the county will hire an assistant who will be trained so that when Garza leaves, he will be able to step into his position right away. If Garza continues, he will be responsible for construction of the rest of the bond election projects.

In other actions discussed at the meeting:

  • Garza told commissioners Region M approved the application for modifying the state’s water plan. It will allow HCDD to apply for funds for the Delta Watershed Project as an alternative water source. This will allow HCDD to start applying for money to build the project from the $2 billion in funds made available to the Texas Water Development Board recently.
  • A bid for construction of the Precinct No. 2 Rural Drainage Development in the area of Seminole Valley Subdivision and surrounding areas for the amount of $307,273 was approved.
  • Approval was granted to a supplemental work authorization with S&B Infrastructure Ltd., relating to coordination with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality regarding to the Raymondville Drain in the amount of $129,269.20. It includes a subcontract with Guerra, Leeds, Sabo and Hernandez, PLLC, to assist in the project.
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