On her last day as a senior tax accountant in McAllen, Rachel Chapa was selected to serve as the first ever finance director for the city of Palmview.
Chapa, 51, was appointed during the Tuesday, July 18 city council meeting where she was set to begin working the following day. Chapa was one of 10 applicants who applied for the job, interim City Manager Leonardo Olivares said.
For the last two years, Chapa has been working at the McAllen-based CPA firm Carrales & Company, LLP, and previously worked as the senior accountant for the city of Hidalgo for two years starting in 2008 and is also a candidate for a CPA license, she told the council.
“I wanted to contribute to my community,” the Palmview resident said after the meeting. “I know this is a new position so I’d be the first one in it, and I’m a woman, so I’m very proud to be the first one in it and a woman. It’s a little bit of history for the city.”
Chapa obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting concurrently in 2008.
City accountant Frank Rodriguez, who resigned last December, previously handled the city’s finances. The city’s financial clerk, Arely Barrera, has been filling the role on an interim basis. Olivares said he hopes Chapa’s hiring will result in the city understanding where it stands financially as the city’s general fund reserve currently contains only one percent of the 90 day reserves required by state law.
“Obviously we need someone with a higher caliber of expertise,” Olivares said, adding that he’s also been taking on some finance director duties. “Chapa meets all the criteria; it’s a plus she’s a citizen. I’m hoping we’ll be in good shape. I’ve had to prepare the latest budget, something that usually the city manager does with the finance director and in this case I’ve had to wear both hats.”
Agua SUD Agreements Pending
In other business, the city council discussed where they are in negotiations with the Agua Special Utility District and the county concerning a pair of interlocal agreements pertaining to the Palmview Wastewater Collection System Project.
One agreement is regarding street maintenance and another pertains to the issue of providing sewar line connections to vacant lots. According to Olivares, the city is proposing to Agua that they forward $1.8 million allocated for street patchwork to the county to completely re-pave the streets once the sewer and collection lines have been added to avoid the streets being “patched up” where the streets are trenched to install the sewer lines.
The second agreement is for Agua SUD to also connect vacant lots to the wastewater system to avoid waiting for someone to purchase the property and digging up the streets again to lay connection lines in there.
Olivares said he is meeting with Agua SUD Executive Director Oscar Cancino to discuss these agreements. Requests for a statement from Cancino went unanswered as of press time.