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Mission CISD looks at raising taxes

MCISDlogoThe tax rate at Mission CISD might be raised anywhere from 5.5 and 13 cents to help make ends meet as the district faces a $3.2 million shortfall this current fiscal year.

Committee members discussed the shortfall and possible tax increase during a recent finance committee meeting when budget personnel estimated an even bigger shortfall next year if the tax rate is not increased.

In 2011, voters approved a tax ratification election that did not change the overall tax rate, but bumped up the district’s maintenance and operations tax rate from $1.04 to $1.17 and lowered the district’s debt service rate by 13 cents. Before and after the tax ratification election, the overall tax rate remained the same at $1.30.

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Future of Palmview at stake in upcoming election

20140411 Palmview-Leadership-CandidatesPALMVIEW–It’s four against four in the fight for the future of their city as the May election looms and two informal political parties take shape.

Palmview Leadership is a group of businessman who believe they can get the city’s finances under control while improving the city. None have run for office before.

“The city should be running like business,” said Joe Chapa, the slate’s mayoral candidate. “It takes businessmen to run a business. The other four individuals running for office are not businessman. We are businessmen. You cannot earn $10 and spend $20.”

Meanwhile, Palmview Proud includes two men who’ve already served on the city’s board of aldermen as well as two others who grew up in the area and have helped out in previous elections. They plan to focus on the Boys and Girls Club, infrastructure, public safety and economic development.

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2 challenge Salinas for Mission mayor title

20140404 Mayor-Candidates-for-webAfter 16 years at the helm of the City of Mission, Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas has said he’s not ready to quit just yet.

But two Mission residents both say it’s time for change and unity in the city. Dr. John Robert Guerra and businessman Jaime Gutierrez are opposing Salinas in his bid for re-election.

“I truly believe we have to renew,” Gutierrez said. “Whatever doesn’t renew, it stays in the same place. It’s time to open scenarios for new generations. This generation is not here to divide. We’re not here to break down what has been done; it’s to take it to another level.”

“We want to be able to treat everybody fairly and equally,” Guerra said of his own bid for the seat. “I’d like to have a city government that is of the people, by the people, for the people. His (Salinas’s) poster says ‘one mission,’ instead of ‘our mission.’”

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Mission hires San Juan city manager for deputy position

City-of-Mission-logoSan Juan Deputy City Manager J.J. Rodriguez will take over as Mission’s deputy city manager April 9.

“One of the things that stood out for Mr. Rodriguez is his experience—the fact that he worked at an organization that is very similar to us as far as population, size, growth,” said Mission City Manager Martin Garza.

Rodriguez served as city manager of Edinburg before moving to San Juan in 2010. Overall, Garza said, Rodriguez spent 22 years with Edinburg, and that tells him Rodriguez will be committed to the organization. He began as an intern in the Edinburg planning department and worked his way up to deputy city planner before he was named to the post of city manager.

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Mission CISD committee hears construction updates

MCISDlogoMISSION—Members of the Mission CISD Facilities Committee discussed the status of upcoming and pending projects for the district on Wednesday evening. 

Mission High School 

ERO Architects gave an update on the planning for the Mission High School Phase III project. Manuel Hinojosa with ERO Architects stated they have spent multiple hours with the MHS principal, staff and facilities administration to detail the specific needs.  

“What happens now is a lot of testing of what we put together starts to be put into play,” Hinojosa said. “We have met with the cafeteria department, nursing department and special education department.” 

Hinojosa said the company also has met with city officials and brought in consultants to follow guidelines. He added by the next board meeting in May they would have plans ready for board approval.

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MCISD, city study pool improvements

MCISDlogoMISSION—The Mission CISD Board of Trustees discussed the use of the North Side Swimming Pool at the March regular board meeting.

Issues with heating, drainage and filtration maintenance have left the facility inoperable for student practice.

The board discussed and agreed on a memorandum of understanding with the city of Mission to conduct a feasibility study to correct issues.

“Just to let the community know that we do have a contract with the city of Mission, as far as the swimming pool is concerned, for 50 years,” said trustee James E. Olivarez.

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AMJH teacher a finalist for H-E-B Excellence in Education

20140328 rosbelpenaAlton Memorial Jr. High School Math teacher Rosbel Peña had a surprise visit this morning by representatives from H-E-B. He is one of six South Texas educators to be named as a finalist for a 2014 H-E-B Excellence in Education Award, spotlighting him as one of the best educators in Texas.

The H-E-B program is the largest monetary awards program for educators in Texas, and among the largest in the nation. The honor was kept a surprise from Peña, who learned he was a finalist when the H-E-B representatives visited his classroom with balloons, cake, flowers and a check for $1,000. AMJH also received a $1,000 check.

Peña is entered as a finalist for the Lifetime Achievement Award that salutes teachers with more than 20 years of experience. He will travel to Houston, Texas in early May to compete on a statewide level for larger cash prizes. Winners there will each receive $25,000 in cash for themselves and a $25,000 grant for the school.

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Peñitas bids for city hall over budget

City-of-Penitas-logoAll five bids Peñitas received to construct a new city hall and police station were over the city's $3 million budget.

The lowest bid, from Highmark Construction, was about $4.3 million, and the highest, from Foremost Construction, was $5.2 million. Other bids came from J Con Construction, Texas Descon and Col Air Inc., and ranged from $4.4 million to $5 million.

City Secretary Ana Valdez said the city would look at rebidding the project.

In July, the city announced a $3 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for rural development to replace the city's deteriorating city hall and police department. Currently, city staff and the police department are stuffed into a manufactured building next to the library.

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