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Commissioners hear reports from various departments at regular monthly meeting

By Kenneth Roberts

At their regular monthly meeting on Monday morning, Dec. 9, the Starr County Commissioners were given financial reports by several departments and received a detailed report concerning revenues and expenses from the County Auditor.

Sheriff Rene Fuentes informed the commissioners that Detention Center revenues for November 2019 amounted to $272,139, with $136,864 coming from the U.S. Marshals Service. As of Nov. 30, there were 227 total inmates in the Detention Center, with 79 federal prisoners, 68 inmates from Hidalgo County, and 80 Starr County prisoners.

County Auditor Xavier Eli Perez indicated that the General Fund balance as of Nov. 30 totaled $1,575,574.47. The Road and Bridge Fund balance as of Nov. 30 amounted to $288,146.07.

General Fund expenses through Nov. 30, the first two months of the 2019-2020 fiscal year, totaled $3,096,397, or 16.72 percent of the amount projected for the entire fiscal year, which will end on Sept. 30, 2020. Road and Bridge Fund expenses through Nov. 30 totaled $870,651, or 14.03 percent of the amount projected for the whole fiscal year.

Perez noted that $2,711,342 in revenues was collected in the General Fund for the fiscal year to date as of Nov. 30. Road and Bridge Fund revenues for the fiscal year totaled $932,142 as of Nov. 30. 

Perez also referred to the Enterprise funds and indicated that $407,379 in International Bridge revenues were collected for the first two months of the fiscal year, with $897,793 in expenses over that same period. County Judge Eloy Vera later declared, “Right now we’re not generating the bridge revenues we were (during the same time period) in 2018-2019.”

Concerning another matter, Perez told the commissioners, “The audit is in the external auditor’s hands and should be complete in a couple of weeks.”

Vera pointed out at the meeting, “Utilities are the primary expense of Road and Bridge.” Perez noted, “Countywide utilities come from Road and Bridge.” Judge Vera explained, “Some utilities (expenses) come out of the General Fund.”

In two separate actions, the commissioners voted to reauthorize the Starr County Tax Abatement Guidelines and Criteria and approved a Resolution and Order reauthorizing the same guidelines and criteria. Industrial Foundation President Rose Benavidez later explained that the guidelines and criteria were first approved in 2013 and modified in 2017.

The commissioners approved the county holiday calendar for 2020. Judge Vera noted that there will be two holidays for the primary election in March and the general election in November. There will be two days for Christmas due to Christmas Day in 2020 falling on Friday.

The commissioners approved a request from U.S. Customs and Border Protection for an extension to the right of entry for survey and site assessments under the Roma International Bridge. Judge Vera later indicated, “They needed a time extension.”

This article originally appeared in the Friday Dec. 20, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.

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