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      Officials impose hiring freeze to avoid raising taxes

      Adelina Gutierrez has lived in her Edinburg home for more than 23 years.

      She tells Action 4 News almost every year her taxes go up.

      "It is a burden - as it raises every year you have to allow in your budget, in your daily life, for that increase every year, Gutierrez said.

      County Judge Ramon Garcia says Hidalgo county has one of the highest tax rates in the state, a reason county commissioners voted Tuesday to impose a hiring freeze until January.

      "We are going to have to come up with $185 million budget and so we have to look at some cost saving measures and this hiring freeze is just one of them," Garcia said.

      The hiring freeze will allow the county to avoid raising taxes on residents.

      "Our goal is to meet all of our obligations - adopt a fund that we can afford without raising taxes on residents," Garcia said.

      Although the hiring freeze will save the county $500,000, it comes with a consequence.

      Current open positions will not be filled with new employees, a problem for Gutierrez who is also looking for employment.

      "I've gone onto the county, the city and even the school district's website looking for jobs, she said.

      Gutierrez said thankfully her husband owns a business which supports her family, but she worries that the hiring freeze will hurt several people who are unemployed.

      "What happens to those people who don TMt have that extra person working?" she said.

      County Commissioners agree the freeze is needed to balance the budget.