Following quarrel with Edinburg, Hidalgo County to move forward with new courthouse
A game of tug of war between Hidalgo County officials and city leaders in Edinburg continues to cause problems for the new Hidalgo County Courthouse project.
Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia says he's been talking to Edinburg city leaders for years about the new courthouse and how their contribution will be crucial in keeping construction costs low for taxpayers.
But Garcia says since Richard Molina became mayor in 2018, the city has been reluctant to chat with the county about the project.
Garcia even wrote a letter to Molina about the funds, giving him a deadline to participate in the project.
"I wrote it up and sent it and May 4 came and went and we got no call, no letter, no form of communication from Mayor Molina or any official from the city of Edinburg," said Garcia.
But Molina says he needs to take care of city projects before contributing to the county.
"Our city stuff takes priority first," said Molina. "On the county project, we're just assisting, so it's like you got to make sure all of your ducks are in line in your home before you go and help other ducks in another home. That's where we're at right now."
Now, the county is left looking for ways to ensure the courthouse remains fully funded without Edinburg's monetary help.
"Now the city wants to go out and not be part of it, the challenge now is how to fund the project at the least expense or the least viable option and we're very confident we can come with it," said Noe Hinojosa, a financial adviser for Hidalgo County. "But the question is, how much will that cost us?"
Molina says the city does plan to contribute, but isn't sure how much.
"I just reached out to our financial adviser and they have not come up with a concrete number as to how much we're able to contribute, but those numbers will come after our projects are done first," said Molina. "If there's an excess of money, we will contribute something, but it definitely won't be the number agreed on by the previous administration— that's for sure. It's 100 percent a Hidalgo County project— it's not ours. It's like as if we built a city hall and are asking them to pitch in. If you're not ready to start a project, if you don't have the money, then you shouldn't do it and be waiting for other entities to fund your own."
Judge Garcia says he'd still like to hear it from Molina himself.
"If we could get some kind of notice, a letter, a courtesy call letting us know their position on the funds for this project, we'd certainly appreciate that," said Garcia.
Noe Hinojosa, who is working with Hidalgo County, tells CBS 4 News that he is working on a plan that he will present in two weeks to commissioners on how the county will find the money to complete the project if the funds from Edinburg are not enough.