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One section of the city-owned Catholic Cemetery meant to be utilized for babies will be replatted for an additional 120 spaces for adults.
During this week’s regular called meeting, the city council for Mission approved the replatting. The item was presented by City Secretary Anna Carillo, who said they first replatted two lots for babies in 2013.
“Back in 2013 we replatted two sections for baby sections,” Carrillo said. “Baby Section number 1 was going to include 260 baby spaces, and Section 2 was going to be 250 spaces.”
Carrillo said after seven years, a total of 17 baby spaces have been utilized for Baby Section 1. Baby Section 2, which includes Lots 134, 135, 146, 147, 156, 157, 168, 169, 180, 181, 192 and 193, will be converted back into 20 by 20 ft. lots.
“Currently we have less than 100 regular spaces left to sell at the Catholic Cemetery,” Carrillo said. “And unfortunately due to the circumstances, these are going pretty quickly.”
City staff requested that they revert Baby Section 2 of the municipal cemetery back to regular spaces.
“This will add an additional 120 regular lots for the city to be able to sell to the citizens upon need,” Carrillo said.
The Mission city council approved the replatting of the spaces.
The meeting also included an update on the tax rate, which has not been voted on by council. Following last week’s workshops, city staff recommended they raise the current rate of 0.5212 to 0.5490 per $100 valuation, an 8 percent increase.
Mayor Armando O’caña said he planned to vote with the city’s recommendation. Council member Ruben Plata said he was not ready to make a decision.
“I really want to give an increase to the employees of 3 percent, 8 percent to the police, but I also want to see how much we’re going to have in our reserves.” Plata said, noting he’d like to table the item and have another meeting to discuss. “Whatever we decide today can have a big impact for the next year, so I really would like to review the numbers.”
Mayor Pro-Tem Norie Gonzalez Garza said she was leaning toward a rate of 0.5299 per $100 valuation. She stated if the rest of council felt there was a need for a special meeting to further discuss, she agreed.
Council member Alberto Vela said he would like to raise taxes to 0.5299 per $100 valuation, saying it makes sense to do a gradual increase rather than a larger one. Council member Jessica Ortega-Ochoa said she was okay with having a special meeting, but would like a visual breakdown for the difference a 0.5299 tax rate would have versus a 0.5490 tax rate.
City Attorney Gus Martinez stated the city was running out of time to post the record vote prior to a public hearing on Sept. 14. City Manager Randy Perez said he confirmed with the county tax office earlier that day that the proposed adoption of the budget is Sept. 14, the first meeting of the month.
“By charter we have to approve it 15 days prior to our next fiscal year,” Perez said. “There have been some changes, and we would normally follow the Sept. 1 deadline, but there is an exception. As long as we adopt the tax rate by Sept. 30.”
Perez recommended that by the next regular meeting, it be approved so it can be finalized before the next year’s budget.
Because they could not come to a consensus yet, the council agreed to table the item and hold an additional special meeting at 3:30 p.m. today (Friday, Aug. 28, 2020) to discuss the 2020-2021 preliminary budget, discuss and take action on the proposed tax rate, take a record vote and schedule a public hearing.
Last week, Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez extended the shelter-at-home order currently in place. This week, the city approved Resolution #1683 to adopt the Hidalgo County order related to the COVID-19 emergency.
“All individuals currently living in Hidalgo County, Texas are ordered to shelter at home residences,” Mission Emergency Management Coordinator James Cardoza said. “[They should] follow the following orders including the shelter-at-home curfew, travel, facial coverings and outdoor gatherings.”
Cardoza said the order would be in effect until 11:59 p.m. Sept. 13, 2020 unless modified based on the status of COVID-19 in Texas and CDC recommendations. O’caña noted he has been receiving questions regarding the curfew in Mission.
“The answer is yes, we do still have the curfew,” O’caña said. “We’re following the county of Hidalgo’s curfew time [10 p.m. to 5 a.m.] and efforts, and the city of Mission has a curfew.”