After five years since it was approved, the city of La Joya is moving forward with their first Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone and appointed five people to serve on its board of directors.
At their Tuesday, Oct. 9 city council meeting, the city council appointed their own members-Mayor Jose “Fito” Salinas, Mary Salinas, Victor Acosta and Ana Lisa Ruiz-as well as Precinct 3 Constable Victor Gallardo to serve on the TIRZ board.
“This is something we’ve been working on for more than a couple of years,” City Administrator Mike Alaniz told the council, adding that the city first signed an ordinance to create a TIRZ five years ago. “It’s a good investment and hopefully we’ll see some growth with it.”
A TIRZ is a designated area within the city. The city collects the taxes generated in that zone and uses those funds for future development. The neighboring cities of Mission, Peñitas and Palmview have a TIRZ set up.
“As we grow, new developers want to go ahead and eventually subdivide areas,” Alaniz explained. “The way this program works is the developer, if given the opportunity, can implement infrastructure of streets, water, sewer development and in time, through this TIRZ and city support, they get this money back. There are a few developers eager to take advantage of this so hopefully we’ll see some growth. We’re looking at 100 homesteads that will be built within the next year or so.”
Though a map of the zone or a projection of how much money would be generated by the TIRZ were available as of press time Wednesday, City Attorney Michael Pruneda said once the ordinance on the TIRZ board was signed, the board will go into effect 15 days later and the board can have their first meeting.
“We first initiated a TIRZ program in 2015 but unfortunately it took time to go into effect,” Alaniz said. “We made sure all obstacles were handled correctly and that we were not in a conflict with sister cities or zoned incorrectly. We’re really excited, this is something that will benefit our city.”
At that same meeting, Mayor Salinas also announced he would appoint Jose “El Puma” Luis Rodriguez to fill in a vacancy at the La Hoya Housing Authority board of directors.
Rodriguez would be sworn in at a housing authority meeting that was scheduled for the following day, he said.
Alaniz also announced that as of Tuesday, the city of La Joya received applications from five individuals to serve as the city’s new fire chief. This comes after former city fire Chief Leroy Salinas resigned for a job in Peñitas — and all the city’s volunteer firefighters went with him last month.
The deadline to apply for the position was Friday, Oct. 12, Alaniz told the court, adding that the city of Peñitas, Palmview, Alton and Sullivan City have promised to provide aid to La Joya if they need it as they fill in the fire chief vacancy.
“We’re comfortable our community is safe,” Alaniz said.