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Mission continues TCF discussion

A special meeting was held in Mission this week, where the council discussed the state of the Texas Citrus Fiesta again.

TCF Board President Oscar Martinez and TCF Director Lisa Rivera were present at the meeting, and answered more questions for the city council as a follow-up to last week’s quorum, where the entire TCF board met with council members.

The annual TCF Parade of Oranges, scheduled for Jan. 30, 2021, will be conducted with a new approach. After seeing the McAllen Holiday Parade was successfully held virtually, TCF said they would be able to accomplish holding a virtual parade if that was the wish of the council.

Martinez said they mapped out a path in front of the Mission Event Center, and said they would be able to feed 60 to 80 cars and floats from Victoria Drive and loop around the building. Another idea was to hold a standing parade on Conway and place it from 495 to 2 Mile Line, and stage the floats in the middle lane, so residents may drive by on either side and wave at the floats.

Mission Mayor Armando O’caña asked if the standing parade option would be possible in front of the Mission Event Center, as the use of Conway would require permits from the Texas Department of Transportation because it is a state highway. Other council members were not sure if there would be enough room for other vehicles to pass by the staged floats.

Mayor Pro-Tem Jessica Ortega-Ochoa asked about production costs, like how much it would take to film and broadcast it live on television if held virtually. Rivera said they were waiting on estimates for recording the parade for television. She noted that the standing parade option may be a way for families to still get out of the house and participate in the parade festivities while staying safe and socially-distanced.

O’caña said both options could be recorded and streamed live, regardless of the final decision.

The TCF Fun Fair and Heart of America Carnival are still up in the air, as the council and TCF board members had some hesitations about holding an event, even outdoors, that may lead to an outbreak of COVID-19. Martinez said he would check in with the managers of the Fun Fair and Heart of America carnival, to see if they were able to come up with a health and safety plan that would meet city standards.

One of the proposed discussion items included the location for major events held by the Texas Citrus Fiesta, including the Royal Reception Gala and Coronation. Mission city council brought up that they approved and built the Mission Event Center with TCF in mind, however they have opted to use other event halls and locations for the highly-attended celebrations.

When it was brought up during this week’s special meeting, Rivera said they were planning on continuing to hold this year’s events at Balli’s Terrace and the Mission High School Gym, as the logistics with lights and staging have already been worked out. Rivera noted they would consider using the event center for next year’s Texas Citrus Fiesta.

“I’m at a loss for words that that was a decision by the board,” Ortega-Ochoa said. “We built this beautiful facility with you all in mind, and I would have liked to have seen the gala at the event center.”

Martinez said the board considered all the difficulties in setting up at the new location, and noted they had a contract with the owners of Balli’s and weren’t sure if they were legally able to break.

O’caña said the council had to respect the board decision, and said hopefully next year TCF would be able to use the event center free of charge.

The council also approved the second amendment to the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act interlocal cooperation agreement between Hidalgo County and the city of Mission. City Manager Randy Perez presented the item at the start of a special called meeting on Mon. Dec. 7, 2020.

CARES Act funding has been distributed to municipalities throughout Hidalgo County, and is intended to support local communities. Perez said on Tues. Nov. 24, the Hidalgo County Commissioner’s Court approved the second amendment, which allows additional time for cities to use the funds, additional time for cities to submit a revised budget for review and approval by the county (upon demonstration of additional needs or a change in circumstances related to the COVID-19 public health emergency).

The county will review all requests for a budget increase on or before Dec. 1, 2020. Perez said Hidalgo County agreed to extend the performance period for the agreement, so the city will be able to send in their final cost reimbursement forms and supporting documents.

“We are asking for approval for the second amendment, however we as a staff submitted all the cost reimbursements by the [Nov.] 30th date, as it was in the original agreement, so we’re okay with the time,” Perez said. “The original allocation from the county was $9,613,734. On reserve was an additional $1,517,958, which I am calling Phase Two.”

Council approved the amendment. Another item on the agenda would have approved a resolution to adopt a new order from Hidalgo County in response to the continuing pandemic, but because nothing official was issued or sent from the county, and the city had only seen a draft of the order, no action was taken.

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