Hidalgo County residents worry costly projects will result in higher taxes
Wed, 07 May 2014 00:38:02 GMT —
Hidalgo county commissioners are looking at several potential million dollar new builds- a new courthouse, a medical district, hospital, and drainage projects. The county said all are still in the early planning stages, but just as their discussions began so did the objections from residents.
"But no one told them they were going to pay for those projects," a concerned citizen said as she addressed the commissioner TMs court.
Hidalgo County residents are concerned about the several costly projects commissioners have recently discussed, one of which is a brand new multi-million dollar courthouse.
"We've got some courts in portable buildings, we have a judge in a building right off University Drive, and there are some courts in the old administration building," explained Chief Administrator to the Hidalgo County Judge TMs Office, Yolanda Chapa.
Chapa said that with the booming population, we've outgrown the current building. She said a new courthouse isn't just wanted, it is needed.
"The courthouse needs a lot of remodeling, and it needs a lot of new air conditioning system. It's very very costly to repair the old courthouse and we can't add to it anymore," said Chapa.
Chapa said the county isn't planning to raise the money through taxes. However, adding a ten story state of the art facility doesn't come cheap and many are skeptical.
"We live in one of the poorest regions in our nation. To say that tax rates are not going to go up is questionable. Where's the money going to come from?," asked candidate for Texas State Representative District 41 Elijah Casas.
"You go down to Mercedes, you go down to Weslaco, these areas do not deserve an increased tax rate," said Larry Smith, candidate for Texas State Representative District 34.
Although where the money will come from hasn't been disclosed by commissioners, Edinburg resident Richard Montesdroca said he's pretty sure it'll be coming out of his pocket.
"So if you can pay your mortgage, but not your property tax that means you're under fear of losing your property. We are creating more poor people," explained Montesdroca.
Yolanda Chapa said how the county plans to fund these projects has still not been decided and adds they are still in preliminary discussions. The county will need to first receive the schematic design and estimated cost, which it is expecting to receive in about a month and a half.