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Mission encourages participation in 2020 census

The city of Mission wants every resident in the area to be counted.

During this week’s regular city council meeting, Deputy City Manager Aida Lerma spoke on the 2020 Census, which is 40 days away. Lerma, who was presenting on behalf of Joann Longoria (the Director of Community Development who was unable to attend the meeting), said it was right around the corner.

“March 12 is the response day,” Lerma said. “So we want to urge all of the citizens to make sure that they are counted.”

Lerma said that the Hidalgo County Community Service Agency counts all the funds they receive and talk about how they help people.

“That’s why the census is important, because it talks about money and it appropriates money for our area, and we want to make sure that everyone in the city of Mission is counted,” Lerma said. “It’s important, it’s easy and it’s safe, and it is our responsibility to make sure that we are counted.”

Mayor Armando O’caña also asked the community to be ready for that day.

“It’s not only on behalf of the city of Mission, but also for the school districts and other agencies – including the county of Hidalgo – and programs,” O’caña said. “It brings money back to us and will help more people.”

The Planning and Zoning Department presented a few items regarding the commission bylaws and code of ordinances. Planning and Zoning Director Jaime Acevedo spoke first on an amendment to the bylaws, and the department proposed to add an alternate board member to the P & Z Commission.

“This alternate would have full voting privileges should there be an absent member on that particular meeting date,” Acevedo said. “Although we did not have to cancel any meetings in 2019, we had a couple of close calls.”

Acevedo said there are alternates on other boards. Council unanimously voted to add an alternate to the commission.

The city also adopted ordinance #4883 that amends Appendix A of the Zoning Article XIII for exceptions and modifications of its code of ordinances. Acevedo said they wanted to amend section 1.59(2)(f), which has to do with exterior car ports in single family residences.

“One of the things we noted in doing some code enforcement sweeps in the West side of Mission was that there were a lot of homes that were in violation of the carport ordinance,” Acevedo said. “We’re seeking to come up with a compromise where people can have alternatives under certain conditions.”

The conditions include that the carport shall remain open rather than enclosed, it should be constructed over a concrete or asphalt surface, construction materials match the primary home’s aesthetics and general overall dimensions and the minimum front setback be eight feet. The overhead can extend further, but the last supporting column should be no more than eight feet, and the minimum depth for the side setback should be no more than four feet.

“The minimum depth for the rear setback remains at ten feet, and the minimum depth for a corner side setback remains at ten feet as well,” Acevedo said. “In general if a carport is less than five feet from the property line, then the nearest wall parallel to the property line will need to be fire-rated, and most of this can be accomplished by constructing a metallic structure.”

Acevedo added that they recommended that the residence be at least 20 years old, because they felt if this was put in a newer subdivision, it might not go well with the aesthetics. The considerations of homeowners associations in the subdivisions are required prior to any building permit issuance.

Several options were presented to the commission over time before they reached the final option. The item was passed, and council member Ruben Plata thought the modifications would be something that help beautify Mission and keep it clean.

Mission Emergency Management Coordinator presented an item that authorized City Manager Randy Perez to execute a back-up contract for 911 Emergency Ambulance Services between the city and Hidalgo County Emergency Medical Services. They would provide an emergency mobile care unit and back-up services for the general public in the city through Dec. 1, 2020.

The item was passed without discussion.

This article originally appeared in the Friday Jan. 31, 2020 issue of the Progress Times.

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