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Mission holds item regarding federal representation to extend Presidential Permit

This article was originally publisjed in the Friday, Dec. 21, 2018 issue of the Progress Times. 

On the agenda of this week’s meeting, the mayor and city council took no action on an item regarding a potential consulting services agreement with H.R. Bert Peña to extend Mission’s Presidential Permit.

The agreement, which was pulled for executive session, would include the hiring of Peña, a lawyer in Washington, D.C., for federal representation at the U.S. Department of State. According to the agenda, Mission was granted a Presidential Permit to “construct, operate and maintain an international vehicular and rail bridge within the city.”

City of Mission logoThe permit was originally extended in July 2011, and the State Department moved the cancellation date for ten years (July 2021). Peña would provide federal representation in order to extend the permit another ten years.

An agreement with Peña would be “for a period not to exceed three months or no later than March 31, 2019 at a compensation of $5,000 per month.” Any services provided by Peña after that three month limit would be on an “as needed” basis at the rate of $200 per hour.

The item was brought up for discussion, and council member Ruben Plata questioned the necessity of the agreement.

“I’m very impressed with the resume from this gentleman,” Plata said. “But I’m just concerned – don’t we have something in place right now? What is Mr. Villarreal doing, isn’t that pretty much the same thing?”

Mayor Armando O’caña answered Plata, saying Peña is stationed in Washington, D.C., and would serve the city over there rather than have teams from Mission sent “back and forth” from the Valley.

“We are going to need to aggressively address the fact that the permit is going to expire in 2021,” O’caña said. “We have to do that. If you’ll notice in his contract, it’s for the next three months.”

O’caña said that in March, they are going to go as a team to D.C. in order to check their status at the State Department and determine how to proceed in the future.
Plata asked if the item could be moved to the workshop being held next week.

“The only problem is, we have to show in good faith to the federal government that we’re taking good will efforts to extend our permit,” O’caña responded. “Yes we can wait until then, but the next city council meeting won’t be until January. We want to prepare a strategic action plan toward the building of the bridge.”

Council member Jessica Ortega-Ochoa asked for the item to be moved to executive session, as she had legal questions regarding the agreement. The item was pulled, and when the council reconvened Mayor Armando O’caña said that they would not take any action.

“I do want to inform the public that we’re going to take up item 3.2 in a special meeting to be held on the 27th of December at 10 a.m.,” O’caña said.

During the meeting, the city also appointed members to 25 committees and advisory boards for Mission. The appointments were recommended by the mayor.

Council also approved amendments of the terms of office for 12 committees and advisory boards, staggering the terms of the newly appointed members appointed at the meeting. According to the agenda, “staggered terms allow board to integrate and orient new board members to the culture of the board, helping to create a collaborative environment.”

Ordinance No. 4744 was approved by the mayor and council, which provided a “No Parking and No Standing” zone at anytime on the North side of Trinity St. between Mayberry Rd. and FM 1016.

The Mission Police Department has received several complaints about tractor trailers parking on both sides of the roadway, reducing the width and making it difficult for traffic to move safely. The ordinance also stipulates that it will be unlawful for the operator of a tractor trailer combination to unlatch the trailer from the tractor and leave it unattended on Trinity St.

An agreement between Mission and the County of Hidalgo was approved, which will utilize the county’s Rural Emergency Services in “unincorporated areas” in Mission.

The agreement will begin Jan. 1, 2019, and will last through Jan. 1, 2021.

A mobile food park may be coming to Mission, as the council approved a conditional use permit that will designate the Southeast corner of West Mile 2 Rd. and Inspiration Rd. (1805 W. Mile 2 Rd.) as an area for mobile food units to operate.

The Mission Food Park has been tested before and Juan Quintanilla, who would operate the 2.80 acre tract of land, has to comply with the recommendations made by the city for landscaping and restrooms.

December 20, 2018 was declared Martin Garza, Jr. Day, after former City Manager Martin Garza was honored at the Mission Event Center that day for his years of service in the city. Surrounded by his family, Garza spoke about how their support kept him going in Mission, and how he plans to enjoy his time with them in retirement.

“It’s been a great ride, a beautiful career, a wonderful profession of public service,” Garza said. “I wanted to spend more time with my family, and it’s truly been a blessing to be a part of this.”

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