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Drainage bond to be on the upcoming ballot

Voters in Hidalgo County have the opportunity to address long-standing drainage issues in the upcoming election without raising their taxes. 

The $195 million drainage bond that will be on the May election ballot will not increase the tax rate. Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1 representatives said they have managed their debt, so they can issue the bond and fund improvements to drainage systems without impacting taxpayers.  

If voters approve the program, the funds would go toward infrastructure improvements in the main arteries, which carry water to Laguna Madre. The upgrades would affect more than 81,095 structures in Hidalgo County, helping protect $17.8 billion in assessed property values. 

According to the district’s proposed budget, the largest portion of the bond money would go to Mission, McAllen and the smaller surrounding communities to the west. Around Palmview, the district has $5.4 million dedicated to Palmview Lateral, $1.9 million to the South Abram Lateral Drain and $1.8 million to the Bates Lateral Ditch Extension. And further northwest, the district plans to budget about $22.5 million for three other projects. 

The Mission-McAllen Drain would have an allotment of $21.1 million, and the Mission Inlet would have $7.4 million. These projects are separate from the existing drainage projects the City of Mission has been spearheading, some of which are in construction already. 

The Drainage District has 37 projects from their 2018 bond, and about 26 will continue under the new bond. About 50% of the projects are under construction, but the district has a four-year window to move 100% into the construction phase — by the end of this year. And because the drainage district owns the right of way for most of the projects, the bond would help the district meet their construction deadline. 

“We have been improving infrastructure in the county through in-house projects — we do have an engineering department in-house now. Also we leveraged the bond funding that we have from 2018, some state and federal resources that we’ve used and leveraged that fund to continue those improvements district-wide,” District General Manager Raul Sesin said. “With proper funding in place, the district is able to accelerate the projects to completion.” 

Early voting for the election runs from April 24 to May 2. Election Day is May 6. 

The Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1 is a separate taxing entity from the county, but it works closely with the county.

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