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Commissioners Court voting
Commissioners Joe M. Flores Pct. 3, County Judge Ramon Garcia, Eduardo "Eddie" Cantu Pct. 2, and David Fuentes Pct. 1.

County adopts 2019 budget with no tax increase

After working diligently under the direction of Commissioners Court, Hidalgo County Budget Officer Sergio Cruz presented a finalized budget at Tuesday’s meeting.  

Commissioners Court voted unanimously to adopt the 2019 budget while maintaining the 58 cent tax rate. Hidalgo County Commissioners Court has not raised taxes since 2002, for FY 2003 and, last year, was able to drop taxes from 59 to 58 cents.

The county’s general fund budget for 2019 is $213,365,644.

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County needs a Level 1 trauma center

Closest center is over 240 miles away

DHR physicians talk about need for a Level 1 Trauma Center in Hidalgo County.
L-R: from DHR Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Martinez, Trauma Surgeon Dr. Raul Barreda, and Chairman of the Board Dr. Carlos Cardenas. They stressed the need for a Level I trauma center here. Currently the nearest is over 240 miles away.

In an emergency, when a patient has suffered severe trauma, the best care can be found at a Level 1 Trauma Center, which has to meet rigorous standards to receive certification.

Although there is a Level II trauma facility in Cameron County, the nearest Level 1 Trauma Center is at a hospital over 240 miles away, said physicians and a trauma surgeon from Doctors Hospital at Renaissance who presented at Commissioners Court Tuesday, seeking support for legislative efforts to make funding available to strengthen the trauma network.

"The trauma network recognized a glaring hole when Hurricane Ike hit in Houston," said trauma surgeon Dr. Raul Barreda. "The county has no Level I facility."

The Trauma Network in the State of Texas is comprised of 22 regions and includes 18
Level I Comprehensive Trauma Facilities, 21 Level II Major Trauma Facilities, 56 Level III Advanced Trauma Facilities and 193 Level IV Basic Trauma Facilities, said DHR Chairman of the Board Dr. Carlos Cardenas.

Approximately 40 Texans die every day due to traumatic injuries, and for every one that dies, at least six are injured.

"We are 1.5 million people in our region, yet the nearest level one Trauma Center is over 240 miles away in Houston," said Cardenas. "We thank you for passing the Resolution today."

Barreda said there is a Level II Trauma Center in Cameron County, but not in Hidalgo County.

The Rio Grande Valley is situated along the Texas Gulf Coast which may pose significant threats to life and property due to tropical storms, hurricanes, and other inclement weather events.

"By having a Level I trauma center in our area, along with the UTRGV School of Medicine, it gives us the ability to train the next level of surgeons who will stay in our area," said Cardenas.

Hidalgo County Commissioners Court supports ongoing legislative efforts to make funding available to strengthen the Texas Trauma Network.

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Commissioners Court with Chris Trevino, Rick Avery and staff
Commissioners Court with Code Enforcement staff, and representatives from the DA's Office and Budget Management Office. Holding the Best Practices Award is (L-R  in the front row) Chris Trevino and Rick Avery.
Commissioners Court with Chris Trevino and Rick Avery
L-R Commissioners Joe Flores, Eduardo "Eddie" Cantu, David L. Fuentes, CEO Valde Guerra (back row) with Chris Trevino and Rick Avery

Hidalgo County earns TAC Best Practices Award for nuisance abatement efforts  

For the second time in a row, Hidalgo County Code Enforcement Office received a Best Practices award from the Texas Association of Counties.

The Hidalgo County Nuisance Abatement Program was awarded the 2018 County Best Practices Award, which recognizes county leaders' efforts who create new, efficient and effective solutions to challenges facing local governments, said TAC County Relations Officer Rick Avery. 

"The Best Practices award is designed to recognize innovative and scalable programs that other counties can replicate, and this program exceeds the criteria for this award," Avery said.

Prior to the creation of the Nuisance Abatement program in 2016, Hidalgo County did not have the authority or adequate means to address health and safety code violations in its unincorporated areas. Reports from residents, however, regarding unkempt properties continued to rise. By creating the program, the county is now able to act immediately to help protect county residents’ health and welfare.

“You are to be commended for your foresight and the actions you’ve taken to make this program possible,” Avery said.

Most property owners notified of a problem respond and resolve the reported issue within 31 days and avoid the abatement costs that occur when the county has to step in to resolve the issue. To date, there have been over 915 successful case closures.

The program is a collaborative effort between several county departments. Hidalgo County Operations Administrator Chris Treviño thanked Chief Executive Officer Valde Guerra and Commissioners Court for supporting the program. He also recognized his staff, the District Attorney's Office, the IT Department, and the Budget Office for assisting the program.

“I’m proud to say that this program has had nearly 2,000 recorded cases,” said Treviño. "This program has also played a part in the clean-up of 917 properties in rural Hidalgo County, and that’s something we should all be proud of.”

Hidalgo County was one of eight Texas counties selected to receive a TAC 2018 County Best Practices Award. The county has previously won this award in 2012, 2013, and 2016. Commissioners Court congratulated all those involved in the success of the program.

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Moment of Silence for Victims of the Alton Bus Crash

Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia began Commissioners Court by reflecting on the 29th Anniversary of the tragic Alton bus crash.

"On September 21, 1989 a group of 81 Mission ISD junior high and high school students riding the bus to school, never made it to class that day in one of the deadliest school bus crashes in U.S. history," said Public Affairs Director Julia Benitez Sullivan.

At about 7:30 a.m. that day, a Dr. Pepper truck heading north on Bryan Road, ran a stop sign at 5 Mile Road in Alton, and slammed into that Mission ISD bus No. 6.
The impact forced the bus over an embankment into a water-filled caliche pit. The bus, lying on its side, was completely submerged killing 20 youths, with the 21st victim passing away at Mission Hospital about a week later.
The children killed ranged in age from 12 to 18 and more than 50 others were hospitalized with injuries suffered from that crash, Sullivan said.

Today, we remember those killed and the surviving children (now adults) many of whom still bear the scars from that horrific day.

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Did you miss Today's meeting? Watch it at 9 p.m. tonight on KMBH Ch. 10 or on the county's YouTube Channel!

If you missed today's meeting, you can view it on our county website or YouTube Channel by clicking hereYou can also watch Today's Commissioners Court  and Drainage District meetings on KMBH TV, cable channel 10, on Thursday at 9 p.m. Or watch it on Friday morning at 9 a.m. on your local school district channel 17.

The next regular meeting of Commissioners Court will be on Tuesday, October 9
The Drainage District Board of Directors meets at 9 a.m. followed by Commissioners Court  at 9:30 a.m. Meetings are held in the Commissioners Courtroom, located on the first floor of the Court house Annex III at 100 E. Cano St. in Edinburg.  

View meetings and find other news and events videos on our
Hidalgo County YouTube Channel.
To view a copy of the agenda and related backup documentation for this meeting, visit the county website at
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