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Hidalgo County Colonia residents are one step closer to having streetlights installed in their subdivisions, after Commissioners Court approved an order allowing county staff to work with the Tax Office to begin assessing fees for participating subdivisions. However, community advocates still need to do their part before the pilot program can be implemented.
Residents interested in the pilot program and representatives from La Union Del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) implemented the 75 percent participation rate criteria to start a pilot program to ensure that there would be enough participation to maintain the program. Initially, petitions from the participating subdivisions were presented to Commissioners Court, but subsequent review found duplicate entries and other errors that significantly reduced those numbers.Budget and Management Office Strategic Planning Director Rey Salazar reported that only one subdivision of seven in three precincts have reached the 75 percent participation goal.
“We are still reviewing data from Precinct 2,” Salazar said. “In Precinct 1, the Lucero Del Norte subdivision has 75 percent participation. Goolie Meadows-Phase I has 57 percent and Phase II has 43 percent. In Precinct 3 the Mi Sueno subdivision has 59 percent and Eduardo’s Number 8 has 70 percent participation; and in Precinct 4, Pueblo de Palmas Phase 10 is at 65 percent and Pueblo de Palmas Phase 11 is at 58 percent participation.”“What this tells us is that the community still has a little bit of work to do,” Salazar said.
Salazar said the orders to assess fees will allow the county to be ready to implement the pilot program once the subdivisions are in compliance.
Some neighborhoods already have streetlights, however Salazar reported that the lights are on because they are being tested by the utility company and fees are not being charged to the county at this time. Although the lights are currently on in some of the neighborhoods, there is no guarantee that they will remain once the testing is completed."We must have a 75 percent participation rate from all the subdivisions in order to approve the streetlight orders," said Salazar. "We are currently working with the community advocacy groups to advance the participation rates."
LUPE Coordinator Martha Sanchez, stated that the residents of each subdivision are working together to get the participation rates needed to move forward with the program.
"We experienced a couple of things where some of the names on the petitions were duplicated because both the husband and wife signed, but we are working on the communicating with them and with the county to get it done right," said Sanchez.
Salazar notified the court that if the pilot subdivisions participation rates do not reach 75 percent, that an alternate subdivision may be designated or the program may be terminated.