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Financial review by Texas Water Development Board provides independent, positive light on the strength of Edinburg’s economy, city government

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Featured, from left: Several members of the Hive Effect in Edinburg: Juan F. Rodríguez, Mako Media; Michelle Vallejo, Common Culture, RGV; Harvey Rodríguez, Jr., Vice President, Board of Directors, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Eduardo Robles, Web & Tech Consulting; and Rubén Morales, Surface Web Development, pose for an image taken at Grindstone Coworking, located at 506 W. University Drive, on Tuesday, September 23, 2016. According to its website, http://hiveeffect.com/intro/, Hive Effect is an entrepreneur development initiative developed as a partnership between the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and Grindstone Coworking. Hive Effect, in turn, partners with local and regional entrepreneurial organizations and businesses with programs and events that aim to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the Rio Grande Valley. The Edinburg EDC serves local companies by providing assistance with expansion plans, programs to help retain business, and advocating for policies that enhance the region’s economic competitiveness.

Photograph By DANIEL RIVERA

A recent decision by the Texas Water Development Board to approve a $5.4 million loan for Edinburg’s water treatment services also provides additional independent and positive light on the strength of the city’s economy, and the integrity of its city government, according to the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. The Edinburg EDC, whose Executive Director is Agustín García, Jr., 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, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. According to the required analysis by that state agency, “the financial sustainability indicators for the city are strong. The city shows that it has the ability to repay its debt. The city scored well on other indicators showing the overall health of the city.” Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, who on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, was reelected to a new four-year term, reflected on how the action by the Texas Water Development Board is further evidence of the vitality of Edinburg as a place in which to invest, work and live. “I applaud Mayor Richard García and the Edinburg City Council for working together with the State to invest in infrastructure for the city’s future growth and provide safe drinking water to the citizens of Edinburg,” said Hinojosa. “Clean water and wastewater services are essential to the development and health of our communities. The impact of this infrastructure improvement will promote economic development and safeguard against public health concerns.”

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Total construction in Edinburg, not including value of building activities at UTRGV-Edinburg, approaches $189 million between January and October 2016, announces Edinburg EDC

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Featured, from left: Diana Padilla, Mortgage Loan Officer, Lone Star National Bank; Juanita Mendoza, Mortgage Loan Officer, Lone Star National Bank; Anna Casares, Mortgage Operations Manager, Lone Star National Bank; Esther G. Guerra, Mortgage Sales Manager, Lone Star National Bank; Agustín García, Jr., Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Elva Jackson Garza, Vice President and Marketing Manager, Edwards Abstract and Title Co.; Ma. Elena Guerra, Mortgage Loan Officer, Lone Star National Bank; Norma L. Cano, Mission Marketing Manager, Edwards Abstract and Title Co.; Letty Rodríguez, Sales Representative/Escrow Officer, Edwards Abstract and Title Co.; and Jaime Jackson, Mortgage Loan Originator, International Bank of Commerce. The Edinburg EDC Executive Director was the featured speaker on Thursday, October 20, 2016 before The Women’s Council of Realtors McAllen Network during his presentation in Edinburg at Edwards Abstract and Title Co. in Edinburg. Elva Jackson Garza is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg EDC.

Photograph By LEE JINKS

With two months left in 2016, construction activities in Edinburg have approached $189 million, compared with almost $115 million during the same 10 months last year, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Those 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 campus. New single-family homes and multi-family residences (duplexes to apartments) continue to lead the way from January through October 2016, having been issued building permits for a combined total of $114,609,443 in the value of their construction. That figure is more than double the $45,746,390 combined value of single-family homes and multi-family residences approved for construction during the same period last year. Year-to-date (January through October 2016), building permits were issued for 403 single-family residences, valued at $52,402,028, compared with 278 single family residences, valued at $39,781,574 from January through October 2015. Year-to-date (January through October 2016), building permits were issued for 237 multi-family residences, representing 944 units, valued at $62,207,415, compared with 42 multi-family residences, representing 83 units, valued at $5,965,356, from January through October 2015. Also according to the city’s Code Enforcement Department, 46 single-family residences, valued at $5,330,686 were approved for construction in October 2016, compared with 21 single-family residences, valued at $2,678,657, during the same month in 2015. Combined, building permits from January through October 2016 were issued for work valued at $188,725,537 compared with $114,664,341 for the same 10 months in 2015. During October 2016, building permits for work valued at $8,963,349 were issued by the city, compared with $14,618,375 in October 2015. The Edinburg EDC, whose Executive Director is Agustín García, Jr., 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, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members.

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Edinburg’s October 2016 unemployment rate drops below five percent, which is better than U.S. average

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Featured, from left: Edinburg City Councilmember Richard Molina; Cris Torres, Vice President/Loan Officer, Greater State Bank; and Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, on Thursday, November 10, 2016, during the Edinburg Chamber Annual Installation Banquet. Torres was selected as 2016 Woman of the Year by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. The banquet was held at Memorial Event Center, 208 E. Canton Road.

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Featured, from left: Hiren Govind, Owner, TownPlace Suite by Marriott; Mike Govind, Owner, Best Western Plus and Edinburg Inn & Suites; and Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, on Thursday, November 10, 2016, during the Edinburg Chamber Annual Installation Banquet. Mike Govind was honored as the 2016 Edinburg Man of the Year by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. The banquet was held at Memorial Event Center, 208 E. Canton Road. Mike Govind is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

Photographs By RONNIE LARRALDE

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Edinburg continues to lead major Valley economies with 4.54 percent growth rate from January through September 2016, compared with same period in 2015, reports Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

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Featured: University of Texas Rio Grande Valley students Selene Salinas and Jorge Calderón present their research on the effect of economic variables in voting behaviors, during the Border Economic Development and Entrepreneurship Symposium (BEDES) on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, at the Embassy Suites McAllen Convention Center. The symposium was organized by the UTRGV Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. The Edinburg Mayor, Edinburg City Council, and Edinburg Economic Development Corporation lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents for advances at UTRGV and the UTRGV School of Medicine in Edinburg.

Photograph By PAUL CHOY

Edinburg continues to lead major Valley economies with 4.54 percent growth rate from January through September 2016, compared with the same period last year, while statewide, all cities combined showed only a 0.9 percent increase, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. For the month of September 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy – as measured by local sales taxes generated from purchases of eligible goods and services – had the second-best showing among the Valley’s largest cities, coming in with a 3.70 percent improvement over the month of September 2015. Those figures are based on sales made in September 2016 by businesses that report tax monthly, and sales made in July, August and September by quarterly filers. 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 Wednesday, November 9, 2016. During the first nine months of 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy produced $19,526,679.52 in local sales taxes, compared with $18,676,992.00 for January through September 2015, representing an improvement of 4.54 percent. For September 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy generated $1,933,808.59 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,864,640.98 during the same period in 2015, representing the improvement of 3.70 percent, also according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

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Energy, environmental needs for growing House District 40 receives big boost with $210 million Red Gate Power Plant, announces Rep. Canales

The Red Gate Power Plant

Featured: The Red Gate Power Plant uses 12 of the largest natural gas-powered reciprocating engines in the world to produce 224 net megawatts of electricity. To provide a sense of scale, each of the 12 massive engines stands over 21 feet high and 63 feet long with 20-inch pistons producing over 26,000 horse power per engine.

Photograph By ALEX RÍOS

The formal grand opening in late-October 2016 of the $210 million Red Gate Power Plant north of Edinburg is the most recent symbol of population and economic growth in Hidalgo County, including in his House District 40 legislative district, said Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. “I am honored to have such an innovative project in my district, employing so many local citizens and helping to conserve water, protect the environment and ensure the reliability of the electric grid in our community and beyond,” Canales said of the state-of-the-art electricity-generating power plant, which is locate at 3428 West FM 490, about 15 miles north of Edinburg. “As an example of its generating capacity, it will produce enough energy to power 50,000 homes.” The Red Gate Power Plant is owned and operated by the South Texas Electric Cooperative (STEC), which is made up of eight member cooperatives, including the Hidalgo County based Magic Valley Electric Cooperative. Canales said the power plant also symbolizes “clean energy” and will continue to draw attention to the Valley and Texas as a champion of renewable resources. “Texas produces more wind energy than any other state, accounting for one-fourth of all wind power in the United States. But sometimes the wind stops blowing and that can cause a lot of stress on our electric grids. Natural gas power plants are essential because they can be switched on instantly when these other renewable sources stop producing,” said Canales, who serves on the House Energy Resources Committee in the Texas House of Representatives.

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Titans of the Texas Legislature