Featured: The 2017- 2018 Leadership Edinburg (LE) Class XXIX. Front row, from left: Mary Lou Escobedo (Escobedo & Cárdenas, LLP); Erica Pérez (Town Planner Community Calendar); Mónica Vega (Holiday Inn Express & Suites By Ocean Gate Hospitality); Marivel Valdéz (Open Range Enterprises); Nydia M. Treviño (Memorial Funeral Home); and Priscilla C. Whiteaker (Farmers Insurance). Back row, from left: Abel Garza (Wells Fargo); John Mark Atchley (Edinburg Regional Medical Center); Maricruz Z. Nieto (TownPlace Suites by Marriott); Jasmine M. Champagne (Landmark Mortgage LLC); Johnny Rodríguez (Bert Ogden Auto Group); and Joe A. Delgado (Halff Associates). The Leadership Class kicked off their nine-month program on Wednesday, September 6, 2017 during the Leadership Edinburg Welcome Luncheon at the historical Southern Pacific Depot.
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
A full agenda featuring at least 10 businesses and an office lease agreement with Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, is set for review and possible action beginning at 6 p.m. on Monday, December 18, 2017 by the Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. The session, which is open to the public, will be held in the Council Chamber at Edinburg City Hall, located at 415 W University Drive. The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of Mayor Richard Molina, Mayor Pro-Tem David Torres, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr., Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, and Councilmember Jorge Salinas. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of City Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez as President, Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Isael Posadas, P.E., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Julio César Carranza and Dr. Noé Sauceda as Members. Following a recent vacancy in the position of Edinburg EDC Executive Director, the leadership for many of the organization’s duties is now being provided by Nelda Ramírez, the Assistant Executive Director. Ramírez is a graduate of the University of Texas-Pan American with a BBA in Finance and concentration in accounting. Having working for the EEDC for more than 14 years in various roles, she brings much experience in all aspects of economic development from financial and contractual to development and incentive proposals. The meeting’s agenda, which was publicly posted on Friday, December 15, 2017, is available online at http://edinburgedc.com/meetings-agendas/.
Featured: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class JoAnn Consiglio, assigned to Navy Officer Recruiting Station Harlingen in Texas, is joined by other sailors of Navy Recruiting District San Antonio and Navy City Outreach Southwest Region, including Lt. Cmdr. Diana Tran-Yu of Navy City, in discussing grassroots perspectives on opportunities, benefits, and careers in the Navy to students during Latina Day on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at the Hispanic Engineering, Science, and Technology (HESTEC) Week on the Edinburg campus of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Photograph By BURRELL PARMER
With scores of Texans preparing to pay their 2017 annual home property taxes, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, is reminding military veterans, and the surviving spouses of first responders who were killed or fatally injured in the line of duty, that there are new laws in place that can help many of them reduce the bills on their primary residence. “Home ownership is a vital part of the American Dream, and I have always supported efforts to provide property tax relief to Texans, such as local property tax freezes for homeowners who are 65-years-of-age or older, and for homeowners who have physical disabilities,” said Canales. “This year, I successfully authored House Bill 217, which provides property tax relief for certain veterans who have a disability, and I voted to place two other measures that protect homeowners on the November 2017 statewide constitutional amendments election ballot, where they were subsequently approved by voters – House Joint Resolution 21 and Senate Joint Resolution 1.” The House Research Organization, which is the nonpartisan research division of the Texas House of Representatives, provides the following background and goals of HB 217, HJR 21, and SJR 1, which became state law in 2017: House Bill (HB) 217 – Canales was the author of HB 217 while Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, sponsored Canales’ bill in the Texas Senate – provides veterans who are disabled, in the instances they were not protected under now-former Texas laws, the ability to defer collection of property taxes or the abatement of a foreclosure/sale of their home due to delinquent property taxes; House Joint Resolution (HJR) 21 – it was approved by Texas voters as Proposition 1 during November 7, 2017 state constitutional amendment election– fixes a shortcoming in current law that unfairly resulted in increasing the financial burden on a veteran with a partial disability who paid some amount of the cost of a donated home; and Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 1 – it was approved by Texas voters as Proposition 6 during the November 7, 2017 state constitutional amendment election – allows a surviving spouse of a first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty to receive an exemption from ad valorem taxation from all or part of the market value on the surviving spouse’s residence homestead, as long as the surviving spouse has not remarried since the death of the first responder. According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Texas offers a variety of partial or total (absolute) exemptions from appraised property values used to determine local property taxes. A partial exemption removes a percentage or a fixed dollar amount of a property’s value from taxation. A total (absolute) exemption excludes the entire property from taxation. Taxing units are mandated by the state to offer certain (mandatory) exemptions and have the option to decide locally on whether or not to offer others (local option). (https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax/exemptions/
Featured, from left: Jorge Correa, Rio Grande Valley Area Director for Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers; Letty Rodríguez, Escrow Officer/Public Relations/Sales Representative, Edwards Abstract and Title Co., and a member of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Elva Jackson Garza, Vice President and Marketing Manager, Edwards Abstract and Title Co., and Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Mayor Richard Molina; Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, who also serves as President, Board of Directors, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; and Elijah Edwards, Edinburg General Manager, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. The elected officials and business leaders are shown here during the grand opening of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, located at 718 W. University Drive, on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. Seventy-eight employees – with about half of them enrolled as students at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – were hired as a result of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers establishing their first restaurant in Edinburg. Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers is a fast-food restaurant chain specializing in chicken fingers and which is known for active community involvement. It was founded in Baton Rouge, Louisiana by Todd Graves and Craig Silvey on August 26, 1996.
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
Area leaders, Edinburg residents and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley community may soon receive a major public update on the $5.4+ million Edinburg Transit Terminal under construction, which is being built at 617 W. University Drive between 6th and 7th streets, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Tom Logan, Director of Valley Metro, said that initial plans call for a presentation to be made about the Edinburg Transit Terminal during the Tuesday, December 19, 2017 public meeting of the Edinburg City Council at Edinburg City Hall. “Everything is still on schedule,” Logan said. “We are excited. It will definitely improve the quality of life in Edinburg. It will create a transportation hub for the city along with synergy (teamwork) with other components that can come into play there.” The promising future for the community officially began on Thursday, May 11, 2017, with the groundbreaking of the multi-million dollar Edinburg Transit Terminal, said City Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, who also serves as President, Board of Directors for the Edinburg EDC. “The 15,000-square-foot, two-story complex, located on a 1.2 acre tract donated by the Edinburg EDC, will serve as a home for Valley Metro, which is the publicly-owned bus service for deep South Texas that is administered and operated by the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council,” said Enríquez. “One of the many key needs the Edinburg Transit Terminal will fulfill when it opens for business in 2018 will be to help improve vital transportation services into and near the city’s downtown during the work week.” The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of Mayor Richard Molina, Mayor Pro-Tem David Torres, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr., Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, and Councilmember Jorge Salinas. In addition to Enríquez, the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Isael Posadas, P.E., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Julio César Carranza and Dr. Noé Sauceda as Members.
Featured: University of Texas Rio Grande Valley student Brandon Lau talks about his group’s research project with Robert Kaplan, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, during the Border Economic Development and Entrepreneurship Symposium (BEDES) hosted by UTRGV, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas-San Antonio Branch, and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. The symposium was held Friday, December 1, 2017 at the Embassy Suites in McAllen. The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, along with the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and its Board of Directors, lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents on matters that benefit and protect UTRGV and its School of Medicine, which have major campuses in the city.
Photograph By PAUL CHOUY
Edinburg’s retail economy from November 2016 through September 2017 has generated more than $19.3 million in local sales taxes, compared with more than $19.5 million for the same 11-month period the previous year, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The amount of local sales taxes collected helps reflect the strength of an economy, along with construction activities, per capita income, education, historical performances, and related trends. The sales tax, formally known s 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% (0.825). From November through September 2017, Edinburg’s retail economy produced $19,310,276.82 in local sales taxes, compared with $19,526,679.52 for November 205 through September 2016, a decrease of 1.10 percent. The year-to-date figures, which under the reporting system used by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, begin in November of each year and end in October of the following year. For September 2017, Edinburg’s retail economy produced $1,963,990.26 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,933,808.59 in September 2016, representing an increase of 1.56 percent. The local sales tax in Edinburg is also used to help pay for many city services, while the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city. The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of Mayor Richard Molina, Mayor Pro Tem David Torres, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr., Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, and Councilmember Jorge “Coach” Salinas. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of City Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez as President, Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Salinas as Vice-President, Isael Posadas, P.E., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Julio César Carranza and Noe Sauceda as Members.
Featured, from left: Bob Becquet, President of Coastal Deli, Inc. of Corpus Christi, which operates 16 Jason’s Deli franchises in Texas and New Mexico, including the latest one which opened in Edinburg on October 2, 2017; Edinburg City Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, who also serves as President, Board of Directors, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, and Johnny Rodríguez, a former President of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, who serves as a public relations professional for the Bert Ogden Dealership Group in Edinburg. The three men were participating in a preview tour of the city’s latest national restaurant chain, which has locations in 266 delis in 28 states, including Jason’s Deli in Edinburg, located at 1618 W. University Drive. The Edinburg restaurant currently employs 70 staff members.
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
Edinburg posted an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent in October 2017, representing 36,693 jobs for that month, and both figures are improvements over the previous month, when the unemployment rate in September 2017 was 5.5 percent, with 36,578 persons employed that month, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy.These latest figures, prepared by the Texas Workforce Commission and released on Thursday, November 17, 2017, showed that there was an increase of 115 people employed in Edinburg in October 2017 (36,693) compared with September 2017 (36,578). Also, Edinburg saw a growth of 554 jobs when comparing the monthly total for October 2017, (36,693) and October 2016 (36,139), according to the Edinburg EDC. In addition, the October 2017 unemployment rate of 4.7 percent is the second-best showing in Edinburg for that month since 2007, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. Edinburg and McAllen, which posted an unemployment rate for October 2017 of 4.2 percent, compared favorably with other large population centers in the Valley, which reported unemployment rates ranging from 5.3 percent (Harlingen) to 6.1 percent (Pharr). The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García 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 City Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez as President, Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Isael Posadas, P.E., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Julio César Carranza and Noé Sauceda as Members. The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy.
Dr. John H. Krouse (at center), Dean of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine and Vice President for Health Affairs, participated with state and federal lawmakers in a panel discussion on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 hosted by The Texas Tribune on healthcare reform. The event was held at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance in Edinburg. Featured, from left, are: Evan Smith, CEO and co-founder of The Texas Tribune; Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Krouse; Rep. Óscar Longoria, D-La Joya; and Congressman. Filemón Vela, D-Brownsville. The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, along with the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and its Board of Directors, lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents on matters that benefit and protect UTRGV and its School of Medicine, which have major campuses in the city.
Photograph By DAVID PIKE
Total construction activities in Edinburg from January through September 2017, including more than $11.2 million for the month of September, reached almost $229 million, compared with almost $180 million during the first nine months of 2016, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. During September 2017, new construction of commercial facilities and new construction of new homes and multi-family residences led the way, with the issuance of building permits for investments valued at almost $3.9 million and more than $3 million, respectively. Those year-to-date and monthly totals do not include the value of any building-related activities at The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and the UTRGV School of Medicine in Edinburg because the state government, not the city, oversees all construction at the Edinburg campuses. The building permits do not include the value of the land for the homes and buildings. In general, a building permit is legal permission given by the City of Edinburg, through the Code Enforcement Department, to erect, construct, renovate, maintain, or conduct any other specified activity on any building or structure, or on any installations or facilities therein. The term “building permit” includes but is not limited to building permits, electrical permits, mechanical permits, and plumbing permits. The top construction project in Edinburg for September 2017, not including the value of the land, are: $2,000,000 – South Texas International Airport at Edinburg, 1300 E. FM 490, Edinburg Airport Subdivision (Non-taxable/Addition/Remodel) and $1,600,000 – Texas Regional Bank, 203 S. Jackson Rd., Jackson Park Subdivision Phase 2 (Commercial New). The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García 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 City Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez as President, Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Isael Posadas, P.E., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Julio César Carranza and Noé Sauceda as Members.