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Council supports RGV youth drug rehabilitation center

City-of-Mission-logoMission City Council joined a Valley-wide effort to bring a full-service residential drug rehabilitation treatment center for juveniles to South Texas by passing a resolution in support of the center in a Tuesday meeting.

Eddie Olivarez, a member of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Advisory Board and director of Hidalgo County Health and Human Services, said the facility would treat juveniles aged 16 and under who have chemical dependency issues with drugs or alcohol in a residential treatment center for six months or longer.

Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas made it clear he’d like to see the center built in Mission.

Currently, the closest treatment facilities are in Laredo or Corpus Christi. There are none in the Rio Grande Valley. Working as a spokesman for the committee, he was “simply trying to help the kids in the community by finding a way to get them the help they need.”

Olivarez asked the council to support the resolution so it could be presented to the Lower Rio Grande Valley Council of Government. If each Valley community passed a resolution in favor of the mental health facility for youth, it would be much easier to meet with members of the South Texas delegation and seek their assistance in supporting a facility with funding.

Salinas said he would be willing to put some money into the facility if it were in Mission because there was a great need for help for Mission’s youth. Salinas said it feels like most of the new medical facilities were going to Edinburg or surrounding cities and questioned Olivarez as to why it could not be built in Mission.

Olivarez stressed there had been no final decision on where the facility would be located. If approved, it would be up to the committee to decide where to locate the facility. He did not have authority to make a decision on where it would be placed.

When the Progress Times asked Salinas why he wanted the facility in Mission, he said some families had a hard time getting their children to other locations. He added that residents paid taxes to the county and he was concerned that if the facility were located in Edinburg or another city, Mission parents would not be able to get their children into the facility because it would be full of youth from the community where it was located.

When asked how large a facility the committee was looking at building, Olivarez replied it depended upon the amount of support that was given to it. At this point the committee was simply working toward getting a facility in the Rio Grande Valley, not determining how large it would be or how many youth it would serve.

After discussion, the council approved the resolution in support of the mental health facility for juveniles.

Also Tuesday, the council approved a work authorization for Melden & Hunt Inc. to develop a model of the City of Mission’s current water distribution system in order to determine the best possible location for a new, elevated water storage tank. It also will serve as a reference for master planning for future water lines. The estimated cost of the project is $15,000.

The Mission Fire Department was granted authorization to apply for a 2014 State Homeland Security Grand program in the amount of $31,000 to purchase 88 MTZ, VHF and HAM radios, power supplies, antennas an radio consoles for the fire department’s mobile command and communications unit.

Authorization to solicit bids for upgrading the water system on South Inspiration Road was granted to the Public Works Department. The project will be done in conjunction with the roadway widening and bridge construction at Inspiration and U.S. 83 by the Texas Department of Transportation.

Following executive session, the council authorized staff to proceed with acquisition of utility easements for a 16-inch waterline project adjacent to Military Parkway with prices not to exceed the values obtained by the staff.

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