What the 2023 drainage bond means for Hidalgo County
When Hidalgo County constituents voted for the $195 million drainage bond during the May 6 election, they approved about 26 infrastructure improvement projects — without increasing their taxes.
Drainage District General Manager Raul Sesin said the district managed the debt incurred, which is how they are able to issue the bond without increasing the tax rate.
According to the election results, 8,877 constituents voted in favor of the bond, and 4,524 voted against it. The Hidalgo County Commissioners Court officialized the results at the May 16 Drainage District meeting.
“We want to thank the taxpayers of Hidalgo County for doing this,” Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said. “This is extremely important. It’s a continuation of the last bond issue and I think we’re [making] some great strides.”
In 2018, voters approved a $190 million bond that funded 37 projects. About 26 of those 37 projects remain unfinished; the new bond will cover those costs, which are for drainage systems expansions along the main roadways throughout the region. For the most part, funds from the 2018 bond impacted specific municipalities.
About $60.1 million would go toward projects that directly affect western Hidalgo County, according to the drainage district’s proposed budget. In the Mission-McAllen area, the main shared drain between the two cities would have an allotment of $21.1 million, and the Mission Inlet would have $7.4 million. These projects are also separate from the additional City of Mission drainage projects.
Around the Palmview area, 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 eventual upgrades will affect more than 81,095 structures in all of Hidalgo County and help protect $17.8 billion in assessed property values.
Pct. 1 Commissioner David Fuentes thanked the constituents for allowing the county to continue the work they started four years ago.
“I’m just thankful to the voters that believe in the work that we’re doing to improve the infrastructure,” Fuentes said. “We just appreciate that support and I think it’s a reflection of the trust that they’ve put into the drainage district in making sure that we’re getting these projects in the ground.”
Now that the voters approved the bond and the commissioners court made the results official, the drainage district can begin planning the next phase.
While the funding could take about six months to reach the Hidalgo County Drainage District, the process should run smoother than it did for the 2018 bond because the drainage district already owns the right-of-way for most projects.
About 50% of the projects are already under construction, but the district has until the end of the year to move 100% of the projects into the construction phase.
Drainage District General Manager Raul Sesin also thanked the voters for their approval.
“We’re ready to continue our efforts in developing these facilities to help us during these rain events,” he said.