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logo_MEDC_thumbMISSION — The Mission City Council voted to create a new non-profit corporation, which city leaders said would concentrate on the business development within the city.

In an interview with the Progress Times, City Manager Julio Cerda was asked if the Mission Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) would run the non-profit corporation, he said MEDC was more involved with Mission’s quality of life. When asked what the city could do with the new corporation that could not be done with MEDC, Cerda explained the non-profit corporation would be more concerned with commercial and industrial development within the city.

Asked if the new corporation would be taking over the functions of the Mission Economic Development Authority (MEDA), which Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas is trying to dissolve, Cerda deferred questions to city attorney David Guerra.

Guerra said the future of MEDA was in litigation and declined to answer questions about MEDA or the new non-profit corporation. Guerra also advised Cerda not to respond to any more questions.

In other action, the council approved a request from the Rio Grande Regional Water Authority (RGRWA) to contribute $6,074.68 for an Alternate Regional Water Supply Feasibility Study. The cost of the study is set at $204,000 of which the irrigation districts will be contributing half of, said Ken Jones, executive director of the Lower Rio Grande Development Council. The other $102,000 will come from the cities in the six counties that make up the RGRWA. Those districts are Cameron, Willacy Hidalgo, Starr, Zapata and Webb counties, the counties that make up the Lower Rio Grande Basin. A federal reclamation share of $183,707 would be added bringing total project cost of $403,707.

Jones said the study would help identify alternate water resources to serve the area for the next 50 years. Possibilities include purchasing additional water from sparsely populated areas, desalination of local brackish groundwater and seawater desalination. The study would look at how to maximize the amount of water available for every dollar spent.

The council also approved the solicitation of bids for rehabilitation of the South Water Plan. The bid includes renovations of filters for a water treatment process of 3.1 million gallons daily. Renovations will be coordinated with North Water Treatment Plant Expansion project to meet the city’s daily water demands. The estimated cost of the project is $1.2 million.

Under zoning matters, a request to build an events center on Colorado Street behind the Holiday Inn was denied. The site is adjacent to Sharyland Terrace, a large apartment complex. The manager of the complex opposed the request, explaining the complex was always full. Residents near here already have a tough time navigating the traffic congestion from a nearby school.

Other residents of the area opposed to the events center said the street was a two-lane road, and was not built to sustain the amount of traffic it already had.

Salinas was opposed to the building being located at the back of the lot, leaving space for another development in front of the building that would create more traffic. Noting the narrow street leading to the back of the lot, the mayor quipped that the plan was worse than the new state redistricting plan. He recommended that the council deny the request.

The council approved a request by Hunt Valley Development to donate a tract of land including part of the access road leading to La Lomita Chapel to the city.

The council approved a resolution supporting a request that the Texas legislature act positively on matters of school finance by increasing funding for schools. Dr. Noe Garza and Rick Longoria from Sharyland school district and Oscar Martinez and Moises Iglesias from the Mission school district were present to ask for the support.

In other action:

• Authorization to solicit bids for casing spacer and end seals for the Bryan Road and U.S. Expressway 83 project was approved.

• The Mission Fire Department was authorized to submit a grant to the Texas Department of State Health services for 10 automated external defibrillators. This grant has a 50 percent match and will allow the fire department to replace seven units which are no longer supported by the manufacturer or meet American Heart Association guidelines.

• The Mission Police Department received authorization to place six new mesh network cameras in various locations throughout the city. There are already seven such cameras in use. New locations to receive the cameras are Two Mile Line Road and Conway Avenue , Griffin Parkway and Conway Avenue, Westbound Expressway Frontage Road and Conway Avenue, Eastbound Frontage Road and Conway Avenue, Shary Road and Griffin Parkway and Shary Road and Business 83.

Assistant Police Chief Dominguez said the cameras would be used to determine traffic problems and track stolen cars. The cameras would not be used for issuing traffic tickets.

• A new four-way stop intersection was approved at Bryce Drive and Pecan Avenue.

• MPD was given authority to submit a grant application to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services for an additional seven police officer positions under the COPS Hiring Program. The program would pay 100 percent of the officers’ expenses for three years. The city would pick up the cost the fourth year.

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