“I believe that I have demonstrated my commitment to Mission and have focused on reducing property taxes, improving the city’s infrastructure, creating jobs and bringing in new businesses into our community. I have also put great emphasis on improving the quality of life in Mission and dedicated over $400,000 for improvements to our local parks last year…all while reducing property taxes for our residents,” said Salinas when asked why he’s seeking re-election.
Substantial changes have been made or new amenities have been added in every quadrant of the city to the park facilities. The Arnulfo “Tatan” Rodriguez, Jr. Park was completed with walking trails, playground area, splash pad and much more. The city also made improvements to the Rolando Barrera Skate Park this past year. “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 the improvements,” said Mayor Salinas. These improvements were steadfast due to the creation of the “strike” team which consisted of hiring five new employees specifically in charge of park renovations and new amenity additions. Additionally, the city completed a ten-year park masterplan which lead to the design for the future tennis center at Birdwell Park and two dog parks which have been approved and budgeted.
“Receiving the positive comments as well as the opportunities for improvements from my constituents is why I’m officially announcing my candidacy for re-election as Mayor. It is my pleasure and truly an honor to serve this community every day,” he added.
Public safety has always been of utmost importance for city officials and they continue to work hard to protect the citizens of Mission. Over the years, the city has increased personnel for both Fire and Police Departments but has made significant capital improvements and has provided comparable if not the best wages and incentive packages for public safety personnel. Our Public Safety team is getting ready to implement the state of art P25 Motorola Radio System. This is going to offer regional interoperability radio communications which translates to faster response times for our citizens. Mission Police has just launched body cameras for each individual officer out in the field that augments the transparency of their every-day operations.
The Mission Police Department was the recipient of a $1M grant that has allowed for the creation of the Community Oriented Policing (C.O.P.) program which brings neighborhood watches into residential areas, the Explorer Program for local youth as well as outreach to schools and civic organizations. The newest addition to the Mission Fire Department fleet is a 2018 Spartan/Toyne Pumper Apparatus costing the City over $500,000. The recent improvement to the former central fire station allowed the City of Mission to continue the strong relationship with the Texas Department of Public Safety which has added more public safety officers in our area.
“I am proud to say that we have a work force that is very experienced and dedicated here in the City of Mission and I value their hard work and dedication. They are out there every day working hard to provide the best services possible to our residents and visitors,” said Mayor.
“What I’m not proud of and actually am appalled at is that Councilmember Dr. Armando O’Cana recently stated in an article (The Monitor – Sunday, February 12) that our community is stagnant. Look around – Mission is not stagnant! We are a thriving community and there is still a lot to be done that will have a great economic impact in our community. I have many projects still under works and I’d like the opportunity to complete them,” Mayor added.
“Since 1999, we have provided some form of housing assistance to 425 families – $10,933,815 has been spent to date,” Salinas said. Each year, approximately 75% of the funds allocated to the City from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are strictly dedicated for the use of reconstructing or rehabilitating homes for low-income families. “We have a lot of families that need help,” he said. Most recently, the City of Mission established two homes that are used for temporary shelter for families that have been displaced from their homes due to emergencies or severe hardship circumstances. “No other city in the Valley has this,” says Mayor Salinas. “We take care of our people.”
The newly renovated CWV Building is now the home of the City’s Food Pantry which serves many families each month with needed resources. Adjacent is the Social Center which is ideal for small gatherings both social and business related.
Mission completed the $2.6 million Streetscape project which included the redesign of the downtown sidewalks on Conway from First to 14th Street adding pavers, planters, trees, trash bins, benches, bicycle stands and decorative lighting. Additionally, MEDC still has 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,” said Salinas. “Our downtown looks great,” he added.
Next year when our Winter Texans come back, they are going to be very happy when they see the Leo Pena Placita Park transformation.” The Placita Park is being completely re-done and will be the ideal location for the annual Winter Texan activities among other community events. Total cost of this project is approximately $1.4 million. “These efforts have been as a result of great working relationships with LRGVDC, MEDC and the TIRZ boards,” commented Salinas.
The City of Mission hired five new employees to establish a second “strike” team that has strictly focused on street improvements and overlays. The city has invested over $3,7M on overlay/street improvements these past four years.
“The City of Mission was bound to a long-term contract for sanitation services with a private company and I was always getting calls about the poor service that they provided. People complained day after day, so I thought it was time for us to provide our own service. We have done extremely well with this department. So well that we now have the reserves to purchase our own commercial sanitation fleet without needing to take out any loans.
Commercial collection is set to begin April of 2019,” said Mayor. The city has also purchased an incinerator for the burning of brush which will reduce the cost of dumping at the landfill and overall benefit the residents.
Nearing completion is the new Mission’s Event Center! Doors are expected to open April 1st with the first event and thereafter, many events have already been booked. The 40,000 sq. ft. facility is ideal for both social and business events. The Event Center will serve as the anchor to bring more economic development into the area. With the Event Center, also comes the surrounding nine-acre tract development which will bring in more retail and restaurants.
“There is a lot of development coming to Mission that I’m excited about. We are working with developers to bring in another retail center into a 26-acre tract located at Inspiration Rd. and Expressway 83. Also, the old Carl’s building is a prime project in the works for more retail and restaurants,” said Salinas. Both these projects are located in the western part of the city. The city is also working with the new owners and developers of the property located on the corner of Bryan Rd. & Expressway 83 for additional retail and eateries.
The city has invested and completed several utility infrastructure projects that include – Melba Carter Drainage Project, Oleander Sewer Line Improvement, Perkins Drainage Improvement, among others. Overall, the city has invested $9.9M for current water/sewer line and drainage improvements.
The largest project currently in the works and which will have a strong economic impact in Mission is the Madero International Bridge. Mayor Salinas has been able to bring a partnership together with the Cities of Hidalgo, McAllen and the Anzalduas Bridge Board to work on the necessary steps to get the project done. There is currently an inter-local agreement in place with these entities and engineers are finalizing the required study. “Our counterparts in Mexico have completed 95% of the study,” said Mayor. Furthermore, Mayor Salinas has been able to obtain state and federal funds totaling $19.1M from the MPO to expand Military Rd. and South Inspiration which will prepare the area for the port of entry.
In preparation for future developments in the western part of the city, two projects have been completed which are 2 Mile Line from Conway to La Homa Rd. and Inspiration Rd. between Expressway and 3 Mile Line. The city has already begun its acquisition process for the Taylor Rd. expansion project between Expressway 83 and 2 Mile Line. This is a shared-cost project between the City of Mission, the City of McAllen, MPO and the County.
This July, the City of Mission will finalize the expansion of the waste water treatment plant from a 9.5 mgd to 13.5 mgd. This expansion will add capacity for new customers and anticipated developments. The project includes a re-useable water system that will be sold to our industrial businesses and will be utilized for our city park irrigation systems.
I have always said that it takes a full time “Mayor” to run this city and I have been blessed that I can dedicate the 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. And I DO LIVE IN MISSION,” concluded Mayor Norberto ‘Beto’ Salinas.