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Mayor Jerry Perez said he doesn’t know whether or not he’ll run for re-election. Villarreal, though, isn’t waiting for the mayor to make a decision — he’s seriously considering a challenge.
Along with the mayor, the November ballot will include two City Council seats.
Villarreal would run with City Councilman Joselito “Hoss” Hernandez. They’ve already spoken with four potential candidates for the remaining City Council seat, Villarreal said, adding that they’ll make a decision within the next few days. Asked who he would campaign with, Perez said he doesn’t know yet.
“Well, it’s really something I need to think about and assess,” Perez said.
Filing starts Monday.
Perez joined the City Council in 1996. He served 18 years before running for mayor in November 2014.
“I’ve seen the city come a long way,” Perez said, adding that Palmview is poised for rapid growth.
When the Agua Special Utility District starts providing sewer service, restaurants and retailers will finally start flocking to the Expressway 83 frontage, Perez said.
They’ll pay sales and property tax, allowing the city to provide better services.
“In terms of economic development, in terms of business, I think the next four years will be very, very crucial,” Perez said. “In terms of the direction the city is going to take.”
Perez said he wants to present a positive image of Palmview when meeting with prospective businesses. During the past 18 months, however, the City Council often focused on exposing problems at City Hall.
City Councilman Joel Garcia and City Councilwoman Linda Sarabia pushed to investigate city spending under prior administrations.
They found a slew of financial problems, ranging from delinquent economic development loans to unpaid IRS bills. Amid the internal investigations, the City Council fired City Manager Ramon Segovia and police Chief Chris Barrera.
Palmview also tangled with the utility district.
Concerned that developers wouldn’t wait for the sewer project, Palmview started building a separate sewer system to serve commercial customers on the Expressway 83 frontage.
The utility district complained. Palmview responded with a lawsuit. After hearing the facts, state District Judge Letty Lopez demanded the city halt construction.
“So my questions to you and to them is: Where have they gotten to?” Perez said, adding that he worried all the negativity would scare away developers.
Palmview isn’t perfect, Perez said, adding that he would prefer to fix problems with minimal fuss and move forward.
“Their batting average is not as great as they think,” Perez said, referring to Garcia and Sarabia.
How turmoil at City Hall will play at the polls remains unclear.
Villarreal, who joined the City Council in 2010, said he’s not ready to talk about a potential mayoral run. He expects to make a decision within the next few days.
“We need to put Palmview on the positive map — in the county and the state,” Villarreal said. “And that’s what I plan on continuing to do: serving the people of Palmview and surrounding communities.”