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Board members, students, teachers, and staff with the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, along with other community leaders, including Mayor Pro Tem Richard Molina, recognized Sgt. Francisco Barrientes on Wednesday, September 7, 2016, during a public celebration of the 10th anniversary of naming Barrientes Middle School in his honor. Featured, from left: ECISD Superintendent Dr. René Gutiérrez; ECISD School Board Member Carmen González; Alex Ríos, District Director for State Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Sgt. Francisco Barrientes; Edinburg Mayor Pro Tem Richard Molina; Robert López, Principal, Barrientes Middle School; Eva T. Torres, ECISD Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction; and ECISD School Board Member Ellie M. Torres, the immediate past Secretary/Treasurer of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. Mayor Pro Tem Molina is one of two veterans who serve on City Council. Mayor Richard H. García is also a U.S. Army veteran.

Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR

Edinburg’s retail economy during July 2016 showed a more than 3.4 percent improvement over July 2015, which was the second-best showing among all major Valley cities – and much better than the statewide average for all cities in Texas, which was down 1.6 percent from the same month last year, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. For the first seven months of 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy – as measured by local sales taxes generated from purchases of eligible goods and services – also remained healthy, showing an almost five percent improvement over January through July 2015. During the first seven months of 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy produced $15,890,309.11 in local sales taxes, compared with $15,140,562.15 for January through July 2016, representing an improvement of 4.95 percent.For July 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy generated $1,601,962.79 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,549,113.91 during the same period in 2015, representing the improvement of 3.41 percent, also according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. The local sales tax is used in Edinburg to help pay for many city services, while the Edinburg EDC uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Elías Longoria, Jr., Harvey Rodríguez, Jr., Richard Rupert, and Dr. Peter Dabrowski.

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Edinburg’s retail economy in July 2016 showed more than a 3.4 percent improvement over July 2015, and almost 5 percent growth year-to-date

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Edinburg’s retail economy during July 2016 showed a more than 3.4 percent improvement over July 2015, which was the second-best showing among all major Valley cities – and much better than the statewide average for all cities in Texas, which was down 1.6 percent from the same month last year, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

For the first seven months of 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy – as measured by local sales taxes generated from purchases of eligible goods and services – also remained healthy, showing an almost five percent improvement over January through July 2015.

Those figures are based on sales made in July 2016 by businesses that report tax monthly, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

The local sales tax data is among the latest economic barometers featured in a detailed summary provided by the state comptroller’s office, which released retail sales figures on Friday, September 9, 2016.

Among its many duties, the Texas Comptroller’s office is the state’s chief tax collector, accountant, revenue estimator and treasurer.

The local sales tax is used in Edinburg to help pay for many city services, while the Edinburg EDC uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city.

The amount of local sales taxes collected also helps reflect the strength of an economy, along with construction activities, per capita income, education, historical performances, and related trends.

The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.

The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Elías Longoria, Jr., Harvey Rodríguez, Jr., Richard Rupert, and Dr. Peter Dabrowski.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced on Thursday, September 8, 2016 that he will send cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts $629.2 million in local sales tax allocations, based on sales made in July by businesses that report tax monthly.

All those entities combined represented an average of a 1.4 percent decrease over July 2015.

“The cities of Houston, Midland, San Antonio and Frisco saw decreases in sales tax allocation,” Hegar said. “The cities of Dallas and Plano saw noticeable increases in sales tax allocations.”

Among the Valley’s largest cities, Edinburg’s retail economy from January through July 2016 was 4.95 percent better than January through July 2015, with Pharr posting the best rate of increase for that same seven-month period, with a 5.28 percent improvement.

For the month of July 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy was 3.41 percent better than July 2015. Brownsville had the best showing for all major Valley cities for July 2016, registering a 6.12 percent improvement over July 2015.

Based on local sales taxes generated, McAllen had the best showing in terms of revenue for July 2016 ($4,504,511.90), followed by Brownsville ($2,928,998.49), Harlingen ($1,734,335.23), and Edinburg ($1,601,962.79).

During the first seven months of 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy produced $15,890,309.11 in local sales taxes, compared with $15,140,562.15 for January through July 2016, representing an improvement of 4.95 percent.

For July 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy generated $1,601,962.79 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,549,113.91 during the same period in 2015, representing the improvement of 3.41 percent, also according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

The sales tax, formally known as the State Sales and Use Tax, is imposed on all retail sales, leases and rentals of most goods, as well as taxable services. Texas cities, counties, transit authorities and special purpose districts have the option of imposing an additional local sales tax for a combined total of state and local taxes of 8 1/4% (.0825).

HOW OTHER VALLEY CITIES, COUNTIES PERFORMED FOR JULY 2016 AND JANUARY THROUGH JULY 2016

Based on the amount of sales taxes generated, according to the state comptroller’s office, the Valley’s major cities ranked accordingly in the following local sales tax figures for July 2016 and January through July 2016:

July 2016 compared with July 2015

McAllen: $4,504,511.90, down 6.54 percent compared with July 2015 ($4,819,747.27);
Brownsville: $2,928,998.49, up 6.12 percent compared with July 2015 ($2,759,975.39);
Harlingen: $1,734,335.23, down 3.13 percent compared with July 2015 ($1,790,453.33);
Edinburg: $1,601,962.79, up 3.41 percent compared with July 2015 ($1,549,113.91);
Pharr: $1,330,463.35, down 1.90 percent compared with July 2015 ($1,356,248.66);
Mission: $1,187,554.48, up 0.42 percent compared with July 2015 ($1,182,498.41); and
Weslaco: $896,762.21, up 2.26 percent compared with July 2015 ($876,868.59).

January through July 2016

McAllen: $45,964,932.25, down 4.31 percent compared with January through July 2015 ($48,040,223.98);
Brownsville: $28,120,290.55, up 1.95 percent compared with January through July 2015 ($27,582,403.34);
Harlingen: $17,097,793.76, up 1.84 percent compared with January through July 2015 ($16,788,513.03);
Edinburg: $15,890,309.11, up 4.95 percent compared with January through July 2015 ($15,140,562.15);
Pharr: $12,699,170.22, up 5.28 percent compared with January through July 2015 ($12,062,148.77);
Mission: $11,419,149.21, up 0.14 percent compared with January through July 2015 ($11,402,398.42); and
Weslaco: $8,905,468.13, down 1.88 percent compared with January through July 2015 ($9,076,694.37).

All cities in Hidalgo County reported a total of $11,630,213.27 in local sales taxes during July 2016, compared with $11,888,693.74 in July 2015, a decrease of 2.17 percent. Year-to-date (January through July 2016), all cities in Hidalgo County registered $114,972,568.95 in local sales taxes, compared with $115,153,604.96 for the same seven months in 2015, a decrease of 0.15 percent.

Hidalgo County government does not collect a local sales tax.

All cities in Cameron County generated $5,975,593.62 in local sales taxes during July 2016, compared with $5,899,135.04 in July 2015, an increase of 1.29 percent. Year-to-date (January through July 2016), all cities in Cameron County registered $55,198,369.96 in local sales taxes, compared with $53,792,843.22 for the same period in 2015, an improvement of 2.61 percent.

Cameron County government does not collect a local sales tax.

All cities in Starr County produced $399,259.50 in local sales taxes during July 2016, compared with $420,178.42 in July 2015, a decrease of 4.97 percent. Year-to-date (January through July 2016), all cities in Starr County registered $4,116,753.41 in local sales taxes, compared with $4,156,444.93 for the same period in 2015, a decrease of 0.95 percent.

Starr County government does not collect a local sales tax.

All cities in Willacy County produced $103,037.19 in local sales taxes during July 2016, compared with $125,681.45 during the same month in 2015, a decrease of 18.01 percent. Year-to-date (January through July 2016), all cities in Willacy County registered $1,142,545.52 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,169,881.39 for the same period in 2015, a decrease of 2.33 percent.

Willacy County government does not collect a local sales tax.

For details of the July 2016 local sales tax figures for all cities, counties, transit systems, and special purpose taxing districts, locate the Monthly Sales Tax Allocation Comparison Summary Reports at the comptroller’s website:

http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/allocsum/compsum.html

BARRIENTES MIDDLE SCHOOL’S NAMESAKE HONORED DURING 10TH ANNIVERSARY

The Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District’s Barrientes Middle School celebrated its 10-year anniversary on Wednesday, September 7, 2016, by inviting the school’s namesake to participate in the festivities.

Hundreds of students, teachers, staff, board members and community leaders honored Sgt. Francisco Barrientes, whom they affectionately called their “hero,” for his volunteer efforts at the school and for having survived a traumatic injury during the Vietnam War.

“I was wounded in Vietnam in 1969 on June 20th,” Barrientes said. “I got a gunshot wound to the face and the bullet went in and down. And as it was going down, it ruined my left vocal cord and it also ruined my esophagus.”

Barrientes said that he felt very thankful for the celebration and that he hoped to inspire students.

“Students of the school district, never give up,” he said. “I still feel the same way I felt 10 years ago. Seeing the people here, the staff members (and) my family, it’s just like 10 years ago have gone by real fast.”

Sgt. Francisco Barrientes also received two proclamations during the ceremony. One from the City of Edinburg and the second from the Texas House of Representatives.

“They are thankful for having you here to be a part of this campus,” said Edinburg C.I.S.D. Superintendent Dr. René Gutiérrez. “You are the one that everyone looks up to here at Barrientes.”

“We all remember Mr. Barrientes at L.B.J.,” said Edinburg C.I.S.D. School Board Member Carmen González. “So, we knew that he was an individual that out of the goodness of his heart after going through what he went through to keep us all safe here in the United States (that) it was an easy decision to name this school after a man that has proven beyond any doubt that he is most deserving of this honor.”

One of the themes going on throughout the event, was people saying what an inspiration Sgt. Francisco Barrientes was to them and having this school named after him.

“It is just a beautiful feeling knowing that I have left a little bit of my imprints on the students of the Edinburg School District,” Barrientes said.

Mayor Pro Tem Richard Molina, a U.S. Army veteran, represented the City of Edinburg at the 10th annual Sgt. Francisco Barrientes Middle School Veterans Day Celebration. Molina is one of two veterans who serve on City Council. Mayor Richard H. Garcia is also a U.S. Army veteran.

The city proclamation, bearing the signature of Mayor Pro Tem Molina, follows:

WHEREAS, Barrientes Middle School opened its doors 10 years ago on August 27, 2007 to serve the children of the community; and

WHEREAS, Barrientes Middle School was named after Sergeant Francisco Barrientes. Francisco Barrientes was born on December 05, 1947; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Barrientes attended Edinburg Schools and graduated from Edinburg High School, Class of 1968; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Barrientes served the army from August 05, 1968 to July 13, 1971. He served at the Republic of Vietnam from January 12, 1969 to July 13, 1969 when he was twenty-one years old; and,

WHEREAS, On May 05, 1969 a grenade struck Sergeant Barrientes’ leg but that did not discourage him from returning to the front lines; and,

WHEREAS, Sergeant Barrientes earned two Purple Hearts and One Bronze Star for his bravery; and,

WHEREAS, On June 20, 1969 tragedy struck again. Sergeant Barrientes had an AK47 gunshot to the face leaving him severely wounded. He was left without an esophagus and damaged vocal cords; and,

WHEREAS, After seven and a half long and painful years of medical attention, Sergeant Barrientes returned back home to Edinburg, Texas; and,

WHEREAS, On September 02, 1972 Sergeant Barrientes married Martha Galindo and together they have three children: Leonel Eduardo, José Francisco, and Lucy Marie. Sergeant Barrientes has two brothers and six sisters; and,

WHEREAS, Sergeant Barrientes has volunteered at Holy Family church since 1971. He actively participates in sponsoring the Alter Services, CCD Classes and assisting the priest in overseeing the church’s organizations and events; and

WHEREAS, Sergeant Barrientes has left his fingerprints in the hearts of so many children in the Edinburg school district. The dedication and time he has given to the community is unmeasurable. Sergeant Barrientes has over 21,000 volunteered hours. He participates at the Edinburg schools’ Veterans Day programs. His motto is “Stay in school and get a good education, appreciate what you have and don’t take it for granted”; and,

WHEREAS, Sergeant Francisco Barrientes truly stands alone and is worthy and deserving of having a middle school named in his honor.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICHARD MOLINA, MAYOR PRO TEM OF THE CITY EDINBURG, TEXAS: By the power vested in me by law, do Recognize SERGEANT FRANCISCO BARRIENTES MIDDLE SCHOOL 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the City of Edinburg, Texas, a Municipal Corporation, to be affixed on this 7th day of September, 2016.

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Romeo Cantú contributed to this article. For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

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