“I’m not ready to quit just yet. There are still many projects that I’d like to get done for our community,” he said. “During the last three terms, I have focused on reducing property taxes, improving the city’s infrastructure, creating jobs and bringing in new businesses into our community. To date, the city’s property taxes have dropped almost 15 percent since 1998, and I’ll be working to reduce them even further.”
Salinas has been the biggest advocate for the underprivileged and the elderly. Year after year, he has recommended that approximately 75 percent of the funds allocated to the City from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) be strictly for the use of reconstructing or rehabilitating homes for low-income families.
“Since 1999, we have provided some form of housing assistance to a total of 354 families,” Salinas said.
Salinas is not shy from acknowledging how much assistance the City of Mission has received from the Governor’s Office.
“We have been able to complete many projects with the help of Governor Perry and the through other federal grants. We have been able to secure over $25 million from the state and nearly $77 million from the feds for major projects such as the Bryan Road expansion and Overpass, the International Bridge connection to FM1016 (Anzalduas Highway), the expansion of Inspiration Road from U.S. Expressway 83 to Mile 3 Road. We also widened Mile 2 Road from Conway to Taylor.
“The projects are endless and have attributed to the growth that we are experiencing,” Salinas said. “The city has also funded the continuation expansion of Mile 2 Road from Conway to La Homa. We are also going to begin the expansion of Taylor Road very soon.”
Salinas is extremely proud of the Anzalduas Bridge, which offers the fastest route to Monterrey, N.L., which is also considered Mexico’s main manufacturing city. The Anzalduas Bridge is important to the entire area as it also directly connects to Reynosa, which is home to over more than “maquiladoras” and provides travelers from that community direct access to Mission’s business district.
“Mission has become a hot spot for shopping and a magnet for attracting new residents in our exclusive residential areas as well as a preferred destination for specialized medical care. The chamber has helped to promote Mission and the bridge throughout Mexico which has also helped us,” the mayor said.
Improving the quality of life for Mission also helps to attract new businesses and residents to Mission. The City of Mission has developed a Parks Improvement Plan that has allowed for the different improvements within the parks system to take shape. Most recently the city has completed the renovations to Bannworth Gym and added the new Aquatics Center.
“We have touched every quadrant of the city and made improvements to our existing facilities or added new ones. It’s great to see and to hear from our citizens that they are using the parks with their families and how much they appreciate them,” Salinas said. “I want Mission residents to take pride in their community.”
Additionally, the City of Mission is working on a memorandum of understanding to conduct a feasibility inspection of the city’s Northside Pool with Mission CISD for consideration of a complete renovation to include a covered heated swimming pool.
Public safety has been of utmost importance for city officials and they continue to work hard to protect the citizens of Mission. The city has not only increased personnel for both fire and police departments but has made significant capital improvements and also providing comparable if not the best wages and incentive packages for public safety personnel.
“I am committed to the employees of the city and value their hard work and dedication. They are at the forefront of providing the best services possible to our residents and visitors alike. I believe that we have a work force that is very experienced and dedicated,” Salinas said.
A new department that Salinas was a big proponent of was the Media Relations Department, which was initiated this year. This department will not only promote the city’s efforts and events but will provide a mechanism for a transparent government.
Recently the City of Mission broke ground for the $2.6 million Conway Streetscape project, which includes the redesign of the downtown sidewalk on Conway from First to 14th Streets to add pavers, planters, trees, trash bins, benches, bicycle stands and decorative lighting. Along with the streetscape project is the Downtown Façade Improvement Program that promises to help fund a “facelift” to any building in downtown Mission by providing its owner a $3,000 free grant or up to $10,000 in matching funds.
“We want to drive more business to our downtown merchants,” Salinas said. “We want to see downtown beautiful and thriving again. Next year when our Winter Texans come back, they are going to be very pleased.”
Additionally, the City of Mission has allocated funds to enhance First Street Park improvements which will have a walking trail, basketball courts, park benches and a splash pad to further complement the downtown revitalization project.
“These efforts have been as a result of a great working relationship with MEDC and the TIRZ boards,” Salinas said.
Salinas has a great vision for the City of Mission and is excited to talk about future projects such as the implementation of the new Sanitation Department, which will open the latter part of this fiscal year. Salinas worked diligently to be freed from the “evergreen contract” that the current sanitation provider had with the city.
“I believe that we can provide better services to the residents of Mission and also generate revenues for future projects and expanded services for our community,” Salinas said.
Additionally, the City of Mission is in a design phase for the expansion of the Waste Water Treatment Plant, which will add an additional capacity of 4.5 million gallons a day for a total of 13.5 mgd’s, which will allow for future growth.
The City of Mission is currently working with an architectural firm on a design for a future event center focused at improving the quality of life while promoting the arts and cultural events in Mission. The local school districts will also be able to utilize this facility for multiple school functions. This multi-use event center will be a magnet for future commercial development and can bring more retail, restaurants, hotels and shopping centers to the city.
Salinas has been a driving force for the City of Mission. He’s a man that has dedicated his entire life to being a public servant and takes pride in being accessible to the citizens of Mission.
“It takes a full time ‘Mayor’ to run this city and I have been blessed that I can dedicate much time to city business. I’m a businessman and a rancher at heart, but my true passion is working for this city and for the people of Mission,” Salinas said.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.