FEATURED: The second day of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Fall 2017 commencement took place on Saturday, December 16, 2017 with four ceremonies held at the McAllen Convention Center. Family and friends cheered on the graduates from the UTRGV Edinburg Campus. A ceremony for Brownsville-based UTRGV graduates was held Friday evening, December 15, 2017. 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. More images from the graduation ceremonies are available online at: https://utrgv-umc.photoshelter.com, and type the password “commencement” (all in lower case letters).
Photograph By PAUL CHOUY
Edinburg posted an unemployment rate of 4.8 percent in November 2017, representing 36,989 jobs for that month, making the city, along with McAllen, the only two major economies in the Rio Grande Valley which came under the five percent level, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy. The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. 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 Friday, December 22, 2017, showed that there was an increase of 263 people employed in Edinburg in November 2017 (36,989) compared with October 2017 (36,726). Also, Edinburg saw a growth of 702 jobs when comparing the monthly total for November 2017, (36,989) and November 2016 (36,287), according to the Edinburg EDC. In addition, the November 2017 unemployment rate of 4.8 percent is the third-best showing in Edinburg for that month since 2007, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. 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, Ph.D. as Members.
Featured: Former Edinburg Mayor Joe Ochoa, along with his son, Omar Ochoa, meet with Congressman Vicente González, D-Edinburg, on Saturday, December 9, 2017, at the Embassy Suites in McAllen, where the U.S. lawmaker was hosting a Christmas celebration for his supporters and to collect toys for deserving area children as Christmas gifts. The former mayor was recently appointed by the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council to serve on the Edinburg Planning and Zoning Commission. Ochoa was elected by his fellow board members as Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission. Mayor Richard Molina represents the City Council on the Planning and Zoning Commission. The Planning and Zoning staff administers the review of development projects to ensure compliance with the city regulations, coordinates pre-submittal meetings and administers the zoning and platting process. The staff also prepares reports, presents site data and recommendations to the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council regarding rezoning, special use permits, and subdivision plats.
Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR
Total construction activities in Edinburg from January through October 2017, including more than $22.5 million for the month ofOctober, has passed the quarter-billion dollarlevel, compared with $188.7million during the first 10 months of 2016, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. During October 2017, new construction of multi-family residences and new construction of new homes led the way, with the issuance of building permits for investments valued at almost $14.9 million and more than $5.8 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 campus. The building permits do not include the value of the land for the homes and buildings. The top construction projects in Edinburg for October 2017, not including the value of the land, are: $12,500,000 – EHA Liberty Village, LTD, 4710 Veterans Blvd., Liberty Village Subdivision (Multi-Family Residences New Construction), and $1,250,000 – South Texas Museum, 200 N. Closner Blvd., Edinburg Original Townsite Subdivision (Non-Taxable Additions/Repairs).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 Noé Sauceda, Ph.D. as Members. 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.
Featured: Honoree recipients at the 85th Annual Edinburg Chamber Installation Banquet, which was held on Wednesday October 25, 2017 at Memorial Events Center. From left: Elva Jackson Garza, Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (Edwards Abstract and Title Co.); Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Jacob De León, Immediate Past Chairman, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (Memorial Funeral Home); Manuel N. Cantú, Jr. 2017 Edinburg Man of the Year (Rio Valley Realty); E. Linda Villarreal, MD, 2017 Edinburg Woman of the Year (Memorial Medical Clinic); Pat Barrientos, 2017 Edinburg Chamber Ambassador of the Year (Edinburg Executive Center); Gabriel Espinoza, Jr., 2017 Edinburg Fireman of the Year; Martín Martínez, 2017 Leadership Award (City of Edinburg Parks and Recreation Department); and Alex Ríos, Chairman, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce (Kids’ Kollege Learning Center and the Office of State Representative Terry Canales, District 40). These business and community leaders were honored for their achievements and dedication to the region.
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
Edinburg’s retail economy from November 2016 through October 2017 has generated more than $20.9 million in local sales taxes, compared with more than $21.1 million for the same 12-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 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). From November 2016 through October 2017, Edinburg’s retail economy produced $20,934,767.43 in local sales taxes, compared with $21,171,250.82 for November 2015 through September 2016, a decrease of 1.11 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 October 2017, Edinburg’s retail economy produced $1,624,490.61 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,644,571.30 in October 2016, representing a decrease of 1.22 percent. The local sales tax is also used in Edinburg 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 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 Noé Sauceda, Ph.D. as Members.
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/