Hurricane Dolly repair jobs up for grabs
Thu, 16 Feb 2012 01:38:45 GMT — Three years later, damage Hurricane Dolly did to homes remains. Over 122 million government dollars are expected to fund repairs. More anticipated than the money may be the jobs it'll create. "So if they're going to be doing reconstruction in a colonia, they need to hire someone from that colonia or from that zip code," said Armando Garza. Garza represents Equal Voice. The Valley group made of nonprofits has a plan. "That they come in, and that they put our families back to work," said Garza. "What we're hoping will not happen is that they start bringing in these large construction companies from out of the Valley with their own construction crews." Unemployed, J.R. Arebalo could not agree more. Three years out of work, he said the only jobs he finds are out of the Valley. "I mean it's different places, everywhere but here," said Arebalo. The Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council chose URS Corp. to oversee Hurricane Dolly Reconstruction. The company is set to get 10 percent of the over 100 million federal bucks. An unpopular request to some, Equal Voice is asking 3 percent of the company's cut be set aside. "There will be costs involved, but this is a cost that would need to have been undertaken anyway in order to be in compliance with federal law," said Garza. The money would go to enforce Section Three under the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The federal government requires any area receiving similar funding to offer jobs and job training to low-income people living in the areas affected. Garza said this requirement has not always been carried out. He said he hopes Equal Voice's plan will be heard. He threatens legal action if local, low-income people aren't put back to to work. The Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council told Action 4 News it is not rejecting the Equal Voice plan. The council said an advisory board is simply waiting on more direction from the General Land Office as to how they can exactly follow all requirements to employ low-income residents.