RGVFC Toros Announce Partnership with H-E-B for Naming Rights of New Soccer Stadium in Edinburg

Edinburg, TEXAS – The Rio Grande Valley FC Toros announced a partnership with H-E-B for the naming rights of the new 9,700-seat soccer-specific stadium in Edinburg, which is now known as H-E-B Park.

“We wanted a partner that is not only a brand that we all recognize, but we also wanted to make sure they have a deep commitment to the community,” said RGV FC President, Bert Garcia. “We are delighted that H-E-B has made this commitment to the RGV FC Toros, the City of Edinburg, but more importantly the Rio Grande Valley. We look to make H-E-B Park the home of affordable family entertainment.”

Amenities at H-E-B Park will include a full-service restaurant and concessions, a park with a playground, an amphitheater with a capacity for 2,000 individuals, practice fields, executive lounges, a sports bar, and 33 suites. Suites include VIP amenities and a 16-seat capacity.

Completion of H-E-B Park will be later this year.

For more information about the RGV FC Toros, click here: www.rgvfc.com

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Edinburg Airport Ready to Welcome International Passengers

Edinburg, TEXAS– The City of Edinburg, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officially opened a new Federal Inspection User Fee Facility at the South Texas International Airport.

To mark the completion of the facility, the City and EEDC hosted a ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony with more than 100 people in attendance including Mayor Richard H. Garcia, members of the City Council, EEDC, and CBP.

Mayor Garcia welcomed CBP to Edinburg and thanked them for helping develop infrastructure that will make it easier for people to travel to Edinburg. “This is going to help us take that next step to become a destination city,” “As of today, international travelers and merchandise will be able to clear customs without having to make a pit-stop in another city, but fly directly into Edinburg.”

The Customs Facility located at the South Texas International Airport at Edinburg will allow international travelers to clear Customs in Edinburg. The airport is located at the intersection of I-69 Central and FM 490. It is a general aviation use facility that welcomes landings and departures of non-commercial aircraft. The airport is also home to The Texas Department of Public Safety Aviation Division for this region and is designated as the staging area for Texas Task Force One during emergencies.

This new facility is 4,500 square feet and will be staffed by two-CBP Inspectors for general aviation traffic. The $1.3 million project was a joint partnership between the City, EEDC and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection.

The South Texas International Airport at Edinburg is located at 1300 East FM 490.

More information about the South Texas International Airport at Edinburg available here: www.cityofedinburg.com/locateairport.php

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Two Edinburg High Schools Gain T-STEM Designations

559b2b644d047.imageThe Edinburg school district received approval from the Texas Education Agency to make STEM— science, technology, engineering and mathematics — the focus of two of its high schools.

Starting this fall, Robert Vela High School and Edinburg North will house Texas-STEM Early College High Schools.

Eva Torres, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at Edinburg, said district officials received TEA’s notification Thursday.

T-STEM designated schools receive assistance from TEA to develop teaching methods that integrate technology and engineering into science and mathematics. They also commit to targeting students who are at risk of dropping out and guide them toward a college education.

There are at least eight schools designated T-STEM in Hidalgo County including one in the Mercedes school district, one in Mission, one in Pharr-San Juan-Alamo, and four IDEA schools.

TEA spokeswoman Lauren Callahan said the agency had just begun sending out notifications to recent applicants late last week, but no official list of new T-STEM schools had been released as of Monday.

The agency is expecting to make an announcement on Tuesday, she said.

The two Edinburg schools began hosting multidisciplinary early college high schools last year, which works as a school-within-a-school model.

Superintendent René Gutiérrez said the multidisciplinary program will still be available in addition to the new STEM program.

The next step for the district is starting to notify all high school students and identify those who have shown interest in those areas.

The first year, each school will host a cohort of about 125 students per grade at each of the T-STEM programs. The number of students is expected to increase each year, Gutierrez said.

The district will continue to partner with South Texas College to offer the college courses — the college certifies high school teachers for the courses or provides college professors when needed.

Students interested in the program can begin calling school administrators…

Read more at The McAllen Monitor.

Edinburg Launches Online and Mobile Service Request App

The City of Edinburg announces a new program that will allow residents to request City services through an online and mobile app beginning Monday, July 6, 2015.  Powered by SeeClickFix, the reporting app allows residents to document neighborhood concerns ranging from potholes and weedy lots to damaged sidewalks and malfunctioning traffic signals.

The Edinburg Listens Line, or TELL, will allow residents to formulate a service request without having to call or visit City offices.

When submitting requests via the mobile app, residents can provide the location, a description of the request and pictures.

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The request will instantly be routed to the appropriate department and residents will be able to track their request as it is addressed.

Residents can visit The City of Edinburg web site www.cityofedinburg.com to formulate a request online.   Once they click on this  icon they will be routed to the SeeClickFix online service request form and they can follow the easy prompts.

The goal of this mobile and online tool is to simplify the process for requesting services as well as to improve communication between the City and its residents.

Launched in 2008, SeeClickFix is the most widely distributed citizen-reporting tool in the country, having recently surpassed 1 million requests.

The app is free and…

Read more at CityofEdinburg.com.

Edinburg Fire Chief Named Firefighter of the Year

The City of Edinburg congratulates Fire Chief Shawn Snider on being selected Firefighter of the Year by the State Firefighters’ and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas.Snider

Chief Snider was presented with the award on Sunday, June 14, at the 139th Annual State Firefighters’ and Fire Marshals’ Convention being held in Galveston, Texas through June 17.

The SFFMA convention is the primary conference for Texas firefighters and emergency services professionals.

Each year members select one firefighter and one first responder to honor.  Nominees must be a member of the state organization and demonstrate: leadership abilities, dedication to training, community involvement, SFFMA involvement, and work knowledge.

Snider has been the Edinburg Fire Chief since 1998.  He also serves as the Emergency Management Coordinator for the City.  He is a past president of the SFFMA and he is a member of the Texas Fire Chief’s Association.  He is also…

Read more at The City of Edinburg’s Website.

Edinburg retail economy, for April 2015 and for first four months of 2015, registers 4.45 percent and 6.72 percent improvements, EEDC announces

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Edinburg’s retail economy for the month of April 2015 was 4.45 percent better than the same month last year, generating $1,582,767.61 in local sales taxes, compared with $1,515,235.89 in April 2014, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

The EEDC, led by Executive Director Agustín “Gus” García, Jr., is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.

This latest showing is the second-best among all of the Valley’s major cities for April 2015, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, which on Wednesday, June 10, released statewide figures, which represents the most up-to-date figures information for that state agency.

Edinburg’s rate of improvement also is better than the average of all city economies in the state, which combined showed an increase of 1.2 percent when comparing April 2015 with the same month last year, the state comptroller’s office also reported.

Year-to-date, the Edinburg economy is 6.72 percent ahead of 2014, having produced $10,186,165.26 from January through April 2015 in local sales taxes, compared with $9,544,069.69 during the same period last year.

Mayor Richard García (no relation to Gus García, Jr.), who is President of the EEDC Board of Directors, explained that 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 EEDC is pleased to report that additional hotels, restaurants and quality-of-life projects are currently in negotiations, and we will have many more announcements to come later this year,” the mayor said during his State of the City Address on Wednesday, May 27. “All these projects will add to the city’s sales tax collection, allowing us to do more for our community, because every penny we get goes right back into ongoing and needed projects through the city.”

The local sales tax is used in Edinburg to help pay for many city services, while the EEDC uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city.

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).

The sales tax figures represent monthly sales made in April by businesses that report tax monthly, sent to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in May, and returned as sales tax rebates to the respective local government entities in June.

DOWNTOWN RETAIL ECONOMY PART OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES

Throughout Edinburg, the Edinburg City Council and EEDC Board of Directors continue putting in play sweeping plans to keep the local retail economy in an upward swing, including a major project involving mass transit.

The city’s downtown, anchored by the Hidalgo County Courthouse, is part of a long-range strategy to link its economic development to the University of Texas-Pan American (to be renamed UT-Rio Grande Valley this fall).

Among the actions being taken by the city council and the EEDC is to bring tourism and more commerce to that segment of the community, such as a plan to build a multi-million dollar complex that will feature extensive bus services.

 That vision “will bring us a multi-use transit facility that will be the first-of-its-kind in Edinburg,” Mayor García reported. “The architectural design has been approved, so we anticipate it will move rapidly.”

Working with the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council, the Edinburg City Council and the EEDC secured a $2.7 million federal grant to build that 35,000 square-foot complex, which will be located between West University Drive and 6th Street,  which will link Edinburg City Hall, UT-Rio Grande Valley, and the Hidalgo County Courthouse.

“Once complete, the facility will serve as home to Valley Metro, which is the city’s transit provider, and combine public and private transit service with office space, restaurants, and a potential rail line, as well as parking levels, bringing traffic and life closer to our town square after 5 p.m.,” the mayor said.

As part of the city’s required local match for the federal grant, the EEDC donated a 1.6 acre tract of land to serve as the site for the transit facility.

Valley Metro, a service of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council, provides public transportation in urbanized and non-urbanized areas through its transit department throughout deep South Texas, including Edinburg,

The multi-use transit facility is part of the dramatic transformation of McIntyre Street, known as “Las Ramblas: Paseo Cultural”, which  designates the renovated pedestrian-oriented pathway that links the cultural, retail, educational and governmental landmarks in and near the city’s downtown square.

“Las Ramblas: Paseo Cultural” is highlighted by the Hidalgo County Courthouse, Edinburg City Hall, and UT-RGV, whose campus is undergoing a significant expansion, with almost $210 million in new construction planned, currently underway, or recently opened.

The Edinburg campus is being upgraded with a $70 million science building annex, a $54 million medical education facility, a $42.7 million performing arts complex,an $11.9 million student academic center, and at the end of May, the Texas Legislature authorized $30.6 million to be used for the construction of an interdisciplinary engineering and academic studies building.

“Las Ramblas: Paseo Cultural is now open and thousands of people have been enjoying it while attending one of the many art and cultural events and festivals that have been held there, such as Jardín de Arte, Festiva, Trio Tardeada, Tree Lighting, Cinco de Mayo, to name a few,” the mayor added.

EEDC Executive Director Gus García, Jr. said the transit facility “sets the future in motion by allowing people to use mass transportation so they can save those dollars, get a good paying job, education, and move up. People can have transportation to get here, and then just walk to City Hall. We are going to have stores and shops to promote walkability.”

HOW OTHER VALLEY CITIES, COUNTIES PERFORMED IN APRIL 2015

Based on the amount of sales taxes generated, according to the state comptroller’s office, the Valley’s major cities ranked accordingly in the following local sales tax figures for April 2015:

McAllen: $4,779,422.77, down 5.56 percent from April 2014 ($5,060,901.86);

Brownsville: $2,854,152.11, down 3.17 percent from April 2014 ($2,947,823.07);

Harlingen: $1,761,804.49, up 3.32 percent from April 2014 ($1,705,190.61);

Edinburg: $1,582,767.61, up 4.45 percent from April 2014 ($1,515,235.89);

Pharr: $1,424,396.56, up 14.88 percent from April 2014 ($1,239,818.57);

Mission: $1,176,249.19, down 9.15 percent from April 2014 ($1,294,797.04); and

Weslaco: $924,081.21, down 3.91 percent from April 2014 ($961,718.22).

All cities in Hidalgo County reported a total of $11,880,630.13 in local sales taxes in April 2015, compared with $12,112,848.14 in April 2014, an decrease of 1.91 percent. Year-to-date (January through April), all cities in Hidalgo County have registered $78,267,122.71 in local sales taxes, compared with $75,944,099.20 for the same four months in 2014, an improvement of 3.05 percent.

Hidalgo County government does not collect a local sales tax.

All cities in Cameron County generated $5,606,854.54 in local sales taxes in April 2015, compared with $5,619,943.39 in April 2014, a decrease of 0.23 percent. Year-to-date (January through April), all cities in Cameron County have registered $35,421,142.39 in local sales taxes, compared with $34,428,053.79 for the same third-of-the-year in 2014, an improvement of 2.88 percent.

 Cameron County government does not collect a local sales tax.

All cities in Starr County produced $432,288.91 in local sales taxes in April 2015, compared with $2,104,582.51 during the same month in 2014, a decrease of 79.45 percent. Year-to-date (January through April), all cities in Starr County have registered $2,778,851.47 in local sales taxes, compared with $4,372,664.00 for the same period in 2014, a decrease of 36.44 percent.

 Starr County government does not collect a local sales tax

 All cities in Willacy County produced $131,918.43 in local sales taxes in April 2015, compared with $120,694.24 during April 2014, an improvement of 9.29 percent. Year-to-date (January through April), all cities in Willacy County have registered $779,809.36 in local sales taxes, compared with $814,999.23 for the same four month period in 2014, a decrease of 4.31 percent.

Willacy County government does not collect a local sales tax.

At the statewide level, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said that state sales tax revenue in April was $2.6  billion, up 5.2 percent compared to April 2014.

That 5.2 percent figure is broken down into the following categories: cities ($409.5 million for April 2015, up 1.2 percent compared to April 2o14); counties ($39.3 million for April 2015, down 3.4 percent compared to April 2014); transit systems ($142.4 million for April 2015, up 1.6 percent compared to April 2014); and special purpose taxing districts ($692.2 million, up 1.2 percent compared to April 2014).

“This marks the 62nd consecutive month of growth in sales tax collections,” Hegar said. “Sales tax revenue growth was relatively strong, spurred by consumer spending at retail stores and restaurants. Remittances from the construction, wholesale trade and services sectors were also up significantly. Collections from the oil and gas mining sector declined, as was expected, due to the slowdown in drilling.”

For details of the April 2015 local sales tax figures for all cities, counties, transit systems, and special purpose taxing districts, locate the Monthly Sales Tax Allocation Comparison Summary Reports at the comptroller’s website: http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/allocsum/compsum.html

By DAVID A. DÍAZ.

McAllen, Edinburg Look to Desalination Plant as Future Water Source

McAllen and Edinburg are exploring creating a desalination plant to service both cities.

The cities’ water supplies are dependent on the Rio Grande, which requires rainy seasons to replenish. Looking to a distant future when the river might be tapped out, officials think a plant that purifies groundwater, while expensive, could help the cities meet an increasing population’s demand for water. Any construction is years away, but officials think a regional approach could garner more help from the state.

“You start using the word ‘regional,’” McAllen Public Utility Board Chairman Charles Amos said, “it opens doors to financing.”

Discussions between the cities date back to last year, Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza said.

One reason to look for an alternative is the increasing cost of water rights from the river, Amos said. Another reason is that a lack of water looms large as the drought drags on.

Desalination — using the process of reverse osmosis to essentially squeeze salt out of water — is nothing new.

In 2013, the Rio Grande Regional Water Authority concluded, after a two-year study, the plants were the best way to deal with a growing population’s water needs — which would…

Read more at The McAllen Monitor.

Edinburg City Manager Awarded Recertification in Economic Development Designation

Ramiro Garza, City Manager of Edinburg.

Ramiro Garza, City Manager of Edinburg.

Ramiro Garza, City Manager for the City of Edinburg has been awarded re-certification by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

The re-certification required every three years, was awarded to Garza who met demanding requirements for continuing education and service to the profession.  With more than 15 years of economic development experience, Garza has accomplished numerous achievements like: supervised more than 100 economic development projects that have generated private investment of $475 million and the creation of more than 3,000 jobs; aggressively pursued funding for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and secured $5 million for development of an 108-acre industrial park and Edinburg International Airport; spearheaded the creation of a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone with projected assessed valuations of $80 million for a regional shopping center.

The designation of Certified Economic Developer is a highly recognized national recognition that denotes a mastery of principal skills in economic development, professional attainment and a commitment to professional growth.

As highly skilled economic development practitioners, Garza and more than 1,000 other Certified Economic Developers work with public officials, business leaders and community members to create and retain high-quality jobs, establish economic vibrancy, and improve quality of life for the people they serve.

The International Economic Development Council is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers.  With more than 4,500 members, IEDC is the largest…

Read more on The City of Edinburg.

Edinburg Sales Tax Activity Strongest in the Region Amongst All Major Cities with a 14.38 Percent Increase

The City of Edinburg is once again the top choice for shoppers.  The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Monthly Sales Tax Allocation Summary released Wednesday, April 8, shows Edinburg with a 14.38 percent increase.  The rise demonstrates the highest increase among other large cities in the Rio Grande Valley.

The report representing the month of February indicates Edinburg generated $1,560,490.17 in sales tax revenue as compared to $1,364,200.96 in February 2014.

So far this year, Edinburg is up by 6.40 percent, having collected $6,677,232.04 as compared to $6,275,246.74 during the same time period last year.  This increase is also one of the highest in the Valley.

City officials cite the overall growth of the city particularly along University Drive and Trenton Road where numerous new businesses have set up shop.  Both roadways are among the busiest corridors in the City with a combined 142,000 vehicles per day.

The Sales Tax Allocation generated by the City will be used to fund ongoing and needed projects within the City.

Edinburg’s 14.38 percent increase was the largest among the other large Cities in the Valley:

Brownsville Percent Change:  -2.23

McAllen      Percent Change:   0.40

Mission       Percent Change:  -9.73

Harlingen    Percent Change:  -6.49

Pharr           Percent Change:   6.69

Weslaco      Percent Change:   1.60

Edinburg’s upward trend is expected to continue.  The Standard & Poor’s Rating Services and Fitch Ratings, Inc. March Reports confirm the City is financially sound and thriving.  Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings are both leading global rating agencies that issue credit ratings based on the debt of public and private companies.

The resounding ‘AA-‘rating Edinburg received  reflects the City’s strong…

Read more at the City of Edinburg.