1. RGVision Magazine focuses on 4 elements; Healthcare, Business, Education, and Quality of Life. In what way have you ensured that healthcare is improving for the city you represent?
As far as healthcare is concerned, we want to cater to all the physicians and clinics in town. We are currently setting up interviews for a medical center so all of our physicians can practice in one place. The goal is all of the city’s doctors have a way of communicating their progress and things like that. So in that sense, we’re just trying to cater to them so they can be more accessible to our people.
2. How have you assured that businesses and the education system will continue to thrive in your city?
When it comes to business, we have a terrific Chamber of Commerce. We set up different things through our Economic Development Corporation (EDC). We also set up committees that take on a certain responsibility such as street or park beautification. As a result of the Raymondville Community Economic Summit, four core priority areas were identified as necessary to create economic growth for the community. The four areas are Downtown/Beautification, Youth Issues, Development of the I-69 Corridor and Raymondville Tomorrow-Our Future. The committees are also open to the public so anyone who wants to get involved and make a positive difference for the community can do so. We try and come up with ideas on how to bring people into town like festivals and things like that. Committees come to our city meetings and give a report on how they’ve reached their goals. And what we do, as a city, we try to back them up not only physically but also monetarily.
As far as our education, we have, at our EDC, we welcome the schools: TSTC, and I believe it’s UTB, but I’m not too sure. We let them come in and have night classes so that people don’t have to go to Harlingen or other cities that are too far away. We also have classes for the kiddos; I say kids but some people who dropped out can take their GED, we have those classes, too. So again, it’s not really us educating our kids, it’s providing the areas so these schools can come in and not worry about space and they work with our people.
3. How have you ensured the quality of life of your citizens is improving and will continue to improve?
Well that’s one of the things that’s not just me but my commissioners. I mean all of them are into the city of Raymondville. Most of them make their living through the city of Raymondville. So if nothing else, we want more people here so that we can bring in more income and even more businesses. Also, whenever grants come to our attention, we take that opportunity to help with park or street renovations and help provide business locations to those who can’t afford one. We pretty much provide that. Of course it takes time and paperwork but all we want is these companies, we want to show them that there is a place for them here in Raymondville that way the people of Raymondville can benefit from them as well.
4. What is the biggest challenge you foresee in the upcoming years for your city and what are some plans you have in place to overcome said challenges?
Well I know one of the challenges was getting money for street renovations. We kind of solved that about two or three years ago by creating a fund, or line item, (budget element that is separately identified) just towards street renovations. We took one cent off every dollar of taxes and put it aside so that maybe every year we’d have money not to do the whole town but at least the worst streets. That was one of the propositions that is currently coming around but since we have to raise taxes, people aren’t necessarily in favor of higher taxes so it’s taking a bit more legwork. We want a potential road with businesses and hotels and we want people in the surrounding towns in farms and ranches, we want them to be involved. We try to make them aware and involved in our endeavors.
5. What is the biggest asset your city has to offer the community and the Rio Grande Valley as a whole?
Well I know we work out in an area where it’s not overly populated because of where we’re at. You go to McAllen or Mercedes and Harlingen or Brownsville and those people are starting to complain about overcrowding. When you get bigger cities, you get more problems. We have a lower percentage of crime here compared to larger cities. The courthouse is adjacent to the school and we have nothing in front of us but grass and horses. And there are a lot of places like that around town that are similar in that way, so we offer a sort of serene getaway. Bigger cities have bigger taxes but that would be harder on our people so we try to keep taxes down. So we try to fulfill a lot of people’s dreams of living in the suburbs, more or less.
6. How do you see the other communities of the Rio Grande Valley collaborating, if at all, and do you believe this is beneficial? In what way?
One collaboration I have seen of the other cities is that we can come together and apply for grants. That’s really helped us out with our police and our fire departments so everything’s a help. We are the gateway to the Valley and we are trying to bring ourselves to the forefront and make people recognize us.
7. What are your priorities for 2015?
Well not that it’s a real priority, but people like my commissioners and myself will be up for re-election next year and we’d like to keep our plans going. Not to say that anybody else would want to change them but we’d like to keep the ball rolling. We’re doing all this for a reason and we’d love to see the outcome.
8. Do you read RGVision? Why or why not?
Yes, when I go to the EDC building, I pick up a copy there. Sometimes we sit in our office and peruse the articles and discuss the latest events happening in the Valley. We also use the magazine to get more ideas on how to improve our city.